Lillian D. Wald

Dear Mr. President, To keep the country running smoothly, the citizens must participate in it. If we, the citizens of the United States, don’t do our part, the government will have full reign over OUR society. Essentially meaning that would no longer be a democracy. That is something that we Americans pride ourselves on, being a democracy. We must ensure that we maintain and keep the rights and freedoms that we have. The purpose of this letter is to ask you to consider declaring a new holiday in the name of Lillian Wald.
This day wouldn’t just be to recognize her as a person and all of her accomplishments, but what her accomplishments really were- Civil Rights. Lillian Wald’s achievements stretched from the health field to civil rights for children. Her feats have shed a new light on the American society, inspiring to us all. Lillian Wald was a nurse, social worker, public health official, teacher, author, editor, publisher, and most importantly a civil rights activist for peace, women, children, the sick, and many others.
She had such an unselfish devotion to humanity, which ultimately made her great. It all started when Wald met a young nurse who inspired her to follow in her footsteps. At the age of 22 she had graduated nursing school and enrolled in the Women’s Medical College to begin studying to become a doctor. During her time in college, she managed to be a volunteer nurse for the poor and less fortunate in New York’s lower east side. While volunteering, Wald saw the need for change. Immediately dropping out of med school, she moved closer to the needy.

In 1893 Wald created the Henry Street Settlement. Starting off with the help of 10 nurses, she created a small empire that would expand to 250 nurses that treated 1300 patients per day by 1916. All of this needed some kind of funding. Well Wald took care of that with fund raising and volunteer donations. Also made it a point to make all of this racially integrated. Lillian Wald, with the help of some volunteers, treated and cared for the poor and educated people about health, hygiene, and protecting themselves from diseases. But that’s not all.
She had now moved her sights to the New York Board of Education. She had made it a goal to make it mandatory to put a nurse in every school, everyday. Of course, that goal had been accomplished, following it by protecting children further by ensuring that their civil rights had not been forgotten. From children she went to help women, and protecting them from being forced into almost slave labor conditions, making sure divorced women weren’t left without money, and giving them the right to birth control. Did she stop there? Not if her name was Lillian Wald!
She was also an anti-war activist and fought whole heartedly for peace. But after those efforts went amiss, she didn’t hesitate to do her part and become the Chairmen for the committee on Community Nursing of the American Red Cross. Major industries were her next target, making sure to protect workers with health inspections, and also making sure a nurse was on site at most job sites and factories. Of course all of this hadn’t gone unrecognized; she had been named in the New York Times 12 greatest living American women in 1922.
Also she had received the Lincoln Medallion and proclaimed and outstanding citizen of New York. But all of this was a long time ago, and I’m afraid people have forgotten what she has done, which calls for a reminder. Lillian Wald once said “We have found, that the things which make men alike are finer and stronger than the things which make them different, and that the vision which long since proclaimed the interdependence and the kinship of mankind was farsighted and is true. ”
She began her journey to achieve her dreams in 1893 when she came across a situation that needed attention now. Her answer to this problem served as an essential stepping stone to all of her life’s accomplishments that in time pned to an international scale. Without her, health care amongst many other things wouldn’t be where they are today. Considering this information, I ask you Mr. President, to make a new national holiday to be recognized in her name, with the thought of our Civil Rights that she made sure we had.

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