Victoria’s Secrets: The power of our youth and their message — Never again!

It was a stunning, significant Saturday, March 24 — a moment in history, as millions marched across our country and around the world demanding “Never Again.”

I understand the power of what they are doing. I lived through marching and picketing for my daughter and other children with disabilities at Willowbrook State School on Staten Island. We did make a difference, finally closing down the institution, and my belief is the young people seeking stricter gun laws will be successful too in their “March for Our Lives” movement.

I couldn’t hold back the tears when I heard the strong voice of Martin Luther King’s little nine-year-old granddaughter Yolanda Renee King speaking boldly and telling the crowd with dignity, “I have a dream that enough is enough.” Then I saw and heard Congressman John Lewis marching and speaking out today, as he had in the 1960s.

He remarked that we never give in, we fight for what we believe in and change is possible. I’ve lived that truth!

With the massive crowds and resonant message from the young people, it’s clear they have created a movement, not a moment, and that they will effect change.

They will not be silenced. They will succeed.

It’s a powerful time in our history and we are all watching our elected officials. Watch out! Ignoring the toll of school shootings and everyday gun violence will no longer be tolerated.

This is a revolution!

One Brooklyn, a unifying of hospitals

LaRay Brown and Dominick Stanzione
LaRay Brown and Dominick Stanzione

Another kind of revolution is happening for one million people living in central Brooklyn. I had the pleasure of meeting Dominick Stanzione, president and CEO of Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center, and LaRay Brown, the president and CEO of One Brooklyn Health, which represents a partnership between Brookdale, Interfaith Medical Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.

They will be leading the movement to bring superior medical services to the area through a unique redistribution of each hospital’s services to allow each of the three to become specialized centers of excellence.

Mr. Stanzione from Bensonhurst smiled when he shared with me what he went through after being recruited from Maimonides where he worked for multiple years. “I felt like I was being vetted for a seat on the Supreme Court. I’m thrilled to have been chosen to reinvent the way we serve the residents of our catchment area.”

Ms. Brown has served as a senior vice president of corporate planning community health and intergovernmental relations at New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, overseeing the largest municipal hospital system in the nation. Is Brooklyn blessed !

Our two hours together convinced me that a revolution is underway for the financially strapped, struggling hospitals. Their vision is to make a consortium with a single board of directors for the three hospitals which will allow them to make sure that people at the three institutions are working together toward their mutual goals.

. It was exciting to hear that they have received $664 million to improve the physical plants of the hospitals and importantly to build on the properties they own and expand their presence in the communities they serve while enhancing their alliances with existing quality community health groups.

Both Ms. Brown and Mr. Stanzione admitted that the success of the consortium requires a leap of faith by the doctors, the unions and the community.

From my perspective, they are the people to do this with their experience and passion for delivering the finest medical care to the communities they serve.

This is a revolution, different than the “March for our Lives” movement, but just as critical to our future. May they both succeed.


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Thought of the week from Maria Shriver’s book I’ve Been Thinking —  “True happiness comes not when we get rid of all of our problems, but when we change our relationship to them, when we see our problems as a potential source of awakening, and opportunities to practice patience, and to learn.” — Richard Carlson

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