A New Dawn: Reflections on MLK Day

Dr. RiceAs we reflect during this Martin Luther King holiday, his famous quote “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” is particularly poignant. Things seem dark right now. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic, with COVID-19 claiming thousands of lives, and continuing to affect us in big ways and small. We’ve recently witnessed a complete lack of leadership and criminal civil unrest in our nation’s capital. Racial injustice, health inequity, economic and social instability, leave us feeling angry and disillusioned. It’s easy to allow darkness to permeate our thoughts and actions.

But what we have also seen throughout these very real challenges, is the best of humanity. Our healthcare systems taxed, we’ve seen professionals at all levels step up to care for the sick, test for COVID-19 using every resource possible, and educate the public on this new and unfamiliar enemy. Our education systems turned on a dime and made use of technology in innovative ways to keep our children educated and with a semblance of normalcy. We’ve seen programs launch to help feed those struggling with food insecurity, assistance for those who’ve lost their jobs and are struggling to pay for basic necessities such as housing, and even fun and innovative ways to entertain us as we quarantine to stop the spread of the virus.

We’ve seen light shine through every tough moment during the last year. And as we come upon the dawn of a new era of leadership in our country, and have access to a new weapon to defeat COVID-19 through the form of several effective vaccines, we can see that this quote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” is more than just a quote. We can see that we are living this each day, driving out the darkness, and allowing the light within each of us to shine, touching everyone we come in contact with.

This is how we at MSM are leading the creation and advancement of health equity.


Valerie Montgomery Rice's Signature
Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice
President and Dean of Morehouse School of Medicine