Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

A Single Garment

Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

A Single Garment

Article excerpt

We cannot survive into the future with beliefs and actions that create the reality, or the appearances, of "we" and "they." We must create our preferred future from a commitment to "us."

"WE ARE CAUGHT in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny," wrote Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963. Dr. King's letter from a Birmingham jail continues to call to nursing as we move forward into this new millennium, reminding us that we are bound together in a common destiny. Consequently, we must understand that as we create our preferred futures and strive to create a world that is supportive for us all, we must be both diverse and inclusive. To become a community with a shared vision and bring about a better future, we must have a deep and abiding commitment to the belief that our common destiny as nurses, and to the national community of nursing, will be advanced only when we recognize our mutuality and unite.

As president of NLN, I recently had an experience that reminded me vividly of the truth of Dr. King's words. In October 1999, NLN received a Color of Care Award for leadership in advancing civil rights for all nurses. In bestowing the award, the sponsoring organization cited NLN (previously known as NLNE) "for its forward thinking and commitment to civil rights for all nurses during the 20th century. Specifically," Sunnia Communications pointed out, "the NLNE's 1942 decision to allow membership not based on race granted Black nurses in the South full participatory membership. This decision broke the race barrier at a time when other state associations retained an `all whites' policy."

Most of us serving NLN today had no knowledge of this courageous action. Indeed, I was not even alive when it took place. Nonetheless, in preparing to receive the award, I recognized that I have been "linked" to that event in a nonlinear but distinct way. …

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