One of the most remarkable people I met this year is Mia Birdsong. Her words gave me both precious clarity about the past and present, and compass and fuel toward a better future. For me, this is about better health care, starting at the source (the community). For you, I can only wonder:

“For every story I hear demonizing low-income single mothers or absentee fathers, which is how people might think of my parents, I’ve got 50 that tell a different story about the same people, showing up every day and doing their best. I’m not saying that some of the negative stories aren’t true, but those stories allow us to not really see who people really are, because they don’t paint a full picture. The quarter-truths and limited plot lines have us convinced that poor people are a problem that needs fixing. What if we recognized that what’s working is the people and what’s broken is our approach? What if we realized that the experts we are looking for, the experts we need to follow, are poor people themselves? What if, instead of imposing solutions, we just added fire to the already-burning flame that they have? Not directing — not even empowering — but just fueling their initiative.”

This quote is from her TED talk. Thank you, Mia, and everyone whose voice you are channeling.