Inspired is an understatement. This week I attended a Congressional Forum at the National Academy of Sciences (beautiful building and architecture btw!). I had the pleasure of viewing the brilliant documentary, Black Women in Medicine, recounting the stories of Black women who have persevered through the fires of racism, poverty, and discrimination in order to achieve their dreams. To me, this documentary wasn’t just another trip down history lane, but it resonated with my own personal experiences as a Black woman pursuing a STEM degree. Holding back the tears, I was reminded of the monumental mountains that my forerunners conquered through much difficulty, which is now a pathway that I get to travel upon. Don’t get me wrong, the statistics still shout the truths of disparity, and the discouragement hailed upon brown and black-skinned children from the very onset of their education is an issue we must face. Though I admit the reality of the gap between where things are now and where they should be, I also perceive a greater truth; I am a forerunner for the next generation. My current struggles equate to the future victories of those who will follow behind me.
Perhaps the most inspiring aspect of the film is the fact that it was directed by Ms. Crystal Emery, who is also the founder of URU The Right to Be, Inc., a nonprofit production company on mission to inspire young minorities from underserved communities to get involved in STEM. Though Ms. Emery has a disability as a paraplegic, she is nevertheless making an indelible mark on the youth who need inspiration the most. This takes both fearlessness and selflessness-two traits that I chose to both pursue and possess throughout my lifetime. Stories like these evaporate my tiny excuses for not pursuing more and reminds me that my dreams are not my own. I’d say it was another perspective-shifting week here in D.C.