Freedom. What does it mean to you? Our country’s founding is based on our freedom and inalienable rights, and we celebrated our Independence Day on Jul 4 for the last 246 years. We’ve also celebrated for the past two years Juneteenth 19th as a federal holiday to celebrate the freedom from slavery as shared with Texas slaves two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. We’ve seen freedom challenged in the last year in so many different ways.
- Freedom of Citizenship: Ukraine War
- Freedom of Safety: San Francisco is struggling to balance the freedom of a homeless person’s ability to be homeless and while others use drugs on the street with no consequences vs. the neighbors in the community feeling safe to walk in their own streets.
- Freedom to Carry a Gun through the Second Amendment: Whether a person can carry any type of gun with no restrictions or requirements vs. providing guardrails and restrictions on owning a gun.
- Freedom of Choice: The Overturning Roe v. Wade and providing safe abortions through federal legislation instead of it being decided in the States.
- Freedom To Not Wear a Mask or Not to Be Vaccinated: As health care organizations, we have required staff to be vaccinated and to wear masks, but many have objected due to religious or medical accommodations or a violation of their perceived freedom or rights.
- Freedom of Speech: We’ve seen many countries silence their citizens from speaking up and out about certain injustices in Afghanistan or China.
- Freedom to Protest: There’s a history of protests becoming violent and out of control while both sides of an issue confront one another.
- Freedom to Recall Politically Elected Candidates: We’ve seen that happen in California and are hearing federal testimony about the January 6th insurrection.
- Freedom to Vote: Many states are passing laws to make it more difficult to vote. And we’re seeing more challenges of legitimate voting outcomes.
We live in a pretty amazing country that advocates for diversity and inclusion, sustainability, health equity, and many freedoms that we take advantage of each and every day. And we also have a country divided on so many issues that impact our daily rights and freedoms. Some days it seems like we’ve made great progress in advancing our society while other days it seems like we are retreating back to draconian practices and severe restrictions on our freedoms.
So, what does this have to do with CAHL and you?
As a member of CAHL, you have the freedom to decide how you want to spend your time with our association. You have the choice of being an active participant in our programming or being on a committee to advance an educational topic or networking opportunity. One of our committee members, Chantelle Schenning who chairs our Clinical Leadership committee is hosting a networking session on July 14th at 5:30 pm to create a safe space to discuss hopes and worries of Federal and State policy. This is also an opportunity to explore members’ interest in advocacy via CAHL. She wants to hear from our members on what topics or issues are top of mind for them now. And how do we, as members, want to provide a voice or opinion about priority topics. Discussion topics could range from Federal or State policies, regulatory issues, or matters of appropriations. Please join Chantelle for the virtual networking event for an open forum discussion. Registration information is available on the CAHL website. Chantelle would also like to hear from you on your level of interest in creating a CAHL Advocacy Committee. If you are interested, please reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as we take time to enjoy the Summer, please take a moment to show your gratitude for the freedoms that we have, the freedom to be part of professional organizations like ACHE and CAHL, and the freedom to be your authentic self.
May you enjoy some this summer with friends and family!
Michael O’Connell, MHA, FACHE
President, California Association of Healthcare Executives