There is a real challenge to start a fire without a spark. You start cold, gather perfectly aged sticks and dried tinder, and furiously rub two sticks together, creating friction and hopefully catching a spark to light the flame. Each spark has the potential to start the fire, yet many fail to set the flame. The task is difficult, may seem impossible, but when faced with darkness and cold, determination is essential.

Changing the national dialogue in our understanding and response to the condition of poverty is like starting that fire. We have seen many sparks, yet the real fire has remained elusive.

Recently a spark was set with leaders from the American Medical Association (AMA). Their response was profound. I asked for their input, leadership, and guidance in starting this fire. The AMA could be the spark to set this fire ablaze. It could happen.

But should this spark, like so many before it, fail to land on tinder, we must not tire or lose hope. We must continue to create friction and ensure sparks fly. We are those sparks, and together we can set this message on fire. We will set the fire and bring light, hope, and warmth to the millions of Americans struggling in poverty.

Always knowing you can’t start a fire without a spark.