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Column | Leadership

Calling all HFMA members: 'Lift Every Voice and Sing'

Column | Leadership

Calling all HFMA members: 'Lift Every Voice and Sing'



So here I am at the beginning of a second one-year term as Board Chair for HFMA. I don’t take that lightly, or without discernment. In fact, we have 12 volunteer officers and Board members who all signed up for an extension of their Board service by one year to provide continuity as HFMA navigates this period of heightened uncertainty and volatility. 

It is unprecedented, for sure, but there are so many things that none of us would have envisioned back in January. Thank you to our Board for that unselfishness. They all said “yes” without hesitation. And our two Board members who rolled off this year, Marc Scher and Carley Williams, also volunteered to help in any way. Thank you; it is the HFMA way!

There is no “Chair’s” theme this year. It is everybody’s year, and HFMA chose a timely Association theme of “Your Challenge. Our Mission.” 

Tammie Galindez, who delayed the start of her year as Chair, will be back with a Chair’s theme next year, and we all look forward to that. 

There was a suggestion that I use a song title to frame each of my articles for hfm this year. If you know anything about me, you know I love music. It was a great suggestion. So here we go.

I am starting with “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” I’ve known this song for a long time, but I added it to my playlist a little over a year ago when a band I listen to rerecorded the entire Ray Charles album, “A Message From the People.” Charles recorded that album in 1972 in response to the social issues at the time. Fast forward 48 years, and we have not made enough progress on those same issues of racial bias, freedom, justice, dignity, poverty and more. We see evidence of all of these social issues walking through the doors of our medical facilities every day. 

The song was originally a poem written by author, scholar, diplomat and NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson, and put to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson in 1899. 

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” is known as the Black national anthem, because it spoke to the issues and struggles people of color were contending with at the beginning of the 20th century, too many of which continue today. I love the song for its passion, hope, unity and sense of overcoming these struggles. It is truly a message from the people.  

Regardless of the color of our skin, the color of our politics, where we grew up or what we are doing today, let us all join in, lift our voices and walk with our feet until freedom, dignity, justice and respect reach every person. 

About the Author

Michael M. Allen, FHFMA, CPA,

is CFO, OSF Healthcare System, Peoria, Ill., and 2020-21 Chair of HFMA.


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