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A Diversity Message from Neil Meltzer, President and CEO, and Dr. Sybil Pentsil, Chief Diversity Officer - April 2023


Here at the Office of Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.), one of our primary objectives is to ensure a sense of belonging for all team members and patients in the LifeBridge Health network. We hope that these messages help to assure our team members that their many cultures and communities are not only accepted but embraced and celebrated. This month, we’d like to highlight the principle of inclusion.

In the context of J.E.D.I., inclusion is the focused and concerted effort across the organization to foster a culture in which all patients and team members feel embraced and protected. Inclusion pertains not only to workplace culture and patient experience, but to the identity of the organization itself; the language we use, the services we offer, the protections in place for vulnerable populations and the image we project of who we are as an institution. We can all work together to maintain inclusive spaces by taking care to seek out and value all perspectives, by correcting practices which may alienate peers for their race, sexuality or gender and by educating ourselves to correct the habitual behaviors which make others feel excluded or unwelcome in our spaces.

April 2 is internationally recognized as World Autism Day, dedicated to increasing awareness, acceptance and support for autism. Autistic people have made tremendous contributions to arts, science, history and culture, yet still face many barriers and forms of discrimination. World Autism Day draws attention to the voices of autistic people themselves, serving as an opportunity for all to listen and learn.

Mahavir Jayanti is one of the most important significant observances for followers of Jainism, taking place this year on April 4. This festival celebrates the birth of Mahavir, the 24th and final Tirthankara. In Jainism, a Tirthankara is a great savior and sage, someone who has traversed life's stream of births and deaths and teaches others how to follow this path. Mahavir Jayanti celebrations include prayer, fasting and acts of charity. 

Passover (Pesach) begins this year at sundown on April 5 and continues until after nightfall on April 13. Passover is a Jewish festival celebrating God’s liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Jewish belief holds that when God visited a plague upon Egypt, the firstborns of the Israelites were spared, hence the use of the Hebrew word “pesach,” meaning “to pass over.” The celebration begins with a ceremonial meal called a Seder, held on the first or first two nights of Passover, and includes traditions such as singing and reading. 

Easter falls this year on April 9 (April 16 for Orthodox Christians). For Christians, Easter honors the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion. Typically, Easter traditions include attending religious services and enjoying a festive meal with family and friends. Holding egg hunts, decorating eggs and gifting Easter baskets are also common traditions. 

Observed on April 14, Day of Silence is a national observance and demonstration against bullying of LGBTQIA+ students within the education system. LGBTQIA+ students face increased risk of bullying and harassment – challenges that are even more difficult in a media and political climate fraught with discriminatory rhetoric and policies. Students across the nation will take a vow of silence throughout the school day before staging rallies to raise awareness and support for the many LGBTQIA+ students who are victims of bullying. Learn more and get involved by visiting GLSEN.

Baisakhi, or Vaisakhi, is observed on April 14 by both Hindus and Sikhs in northern India, as well as in Hindu and Sikh communities outside India, such as in the United Kingdom, United States, Malaysia, Pakistan and Nepal. This festival celebrates the spring harvest and marks the beginning of the Sikh new year, the Hindu solar new year and the Hindu calendar month Vaisakha. Festivities include bathing in holy rivers, preparing meals and visiting with loved ones. 

Ramadan, which began on March 22 and will continue through April 21, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. For followers of Islam, this month is believed to be the period during which the Holy Quran was revealed to the prophet Mohammed. Fasting – one of the five pillars of Islam – will be practiced by Muslims from dawn to sunset throughout the duration of Ramadan, ending with Eid al-Fitr, or “The Breaking of the Fast” on April 22. We wish a fulfilling Ramadan to all of our Muslim team members and patients.

The followers of the Baháʼí Faith will celebrate the 12-day-long festival, known as Riḍván (the Arabic word for Paradise), starting April 21. Other significant days are April 29th and May 2nd.  It is the holiest Baháʼí festival, also referred to as the "Most Great Festival" and the "King of Festivals". This period celebrates the 12 days that Baháʼu'lláh, the founder of the Baháʼí Faith, spent in the garden of Riḍván on the outskirts of Baghdad in 1863. Here he publicly declared himself as a Messenger of God. During this time, many followers came to wish him farewell ahead of his exile from Baghdad. His family joined him on the 9th day and on the 12th day Baháʼu'lláh and his family left the garden and started their journey to Constantinople at the summons of the Ottoman government.

J.E.D.I. Champion Nominations
The Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Champion award is given to individuals at LBH who embrace differences between team members, promote justice, equity, diversity and inclusion and go above and beyond to create a culture of belonging at LifeBridge Health. A J.E.D.I. Champion is a team member who:

  • Participates in J.E.D.I. education.
  • Develops/engages in opportunities for J.E.D.I. engagement across the institution.
  • Promotes a sense of belonging for all team members.
  • Demonstrates commitment to SPIRIT values.
  • Supports institutional efforts to be just, equitable, diverse and inclusive.

To nominate a team member for the J.E.D.I. Champion Award please send an email to with the following information:  

  • Your name & email address
  • Name, email address, and title of the nominee (the person you would like to nominate)
  • A short paragraph outlining how the nominee fits the criteria listed