When I heard that Philly’s own Dr. Ala Stanford had been named regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I just smiled
Not just because she is someone I’ve known for 15 years. Not just because she has always been honorable, and decent, and giving. Not just because she’s a local Black woman who became a pediatric surgeon and a warrior in the fight against COVID and healthcare inequities.
No, I smiled because I know she should have been given the contract to distribute COVID vaccines in Philadelphia, but instead it went to Philly Fighting COVID. I smiled because I know she should have been appointed health commissioner, but it went to someone else.
I smiled because now, as region 3 director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Stanford will oversee Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. I smiled because Dr. Stanford has illustrated a simple truth that I’ve seen in my own life.
What God has for you, it is for you, and you’re going to get it, one way or the other. And when you’re phenomenal, as Dr. Stanford clearly is, no one can stop your climb, no one can hold you down. No one can knock your hustle.
City Hall might not recognize you, but the president will. The city might not be big enough for your vision. You might need five or six states.
I’m watching Dr. Stanford, and in her, I see the story of our people. It’s a story of perseverance. A story of overcoming. A story of knocking down obstacles. A story of running through barriers. We could all take a lesson from the story of Dr. Stanford.Because nothing on earth can hold you back, when there’s something bigger for you.
Photo: Ribbon-cutting Dr. Ala Stanford Center By. Philadelphia City Council