The Alchemy of Living with Optimism

We are living in a time of huge social and geopolitical upheaval. Institutions and established doctrines that once appeared predictable and protective now seem crazily unmoored.

In the face of these difficult circumstances, it is critical that we do not lose our vision of a better way and our faith that real transformation is possible. More of us need to practice what I call “persistent optimism” to combat the injustices in the world. Over my lifetime, I’ve learned to fully unleash my own optimism to overcome fear, cynicism and despair. This alchemy of clear-eyed optimism mixed with courage is what fuels my drive to pursue justice for all relentlessly, no matter the odds.

My lifelong quest for justice brought me to Africa more than 20 years ago as a young doctor, husband, father and activist. I worked variously in Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia as those countries faced the death and destruction of the AIDS epidemic at its height. Many of these stories are recounted in my recently published memoir Waging Justice: A Doctor’s Journey to Speak Truth & Be Bold.

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