The national observation of Black History Month is a specific time set aside each year to highlight crucial events and people in the Black diaspora. Although February is the month of special emphasis on Black history, one month is not enough.
I want to validate the feelings of any students, staff or faculty who know the struggle of being in a room where your daily reality is discussed as a mere concept. As a marginalized population, our voices continue to be silenced, misrepresented, and highlighted temporarily after such horrors as we witnessed not too long ago. While some of Black history is traumatic, we often forget that our Black counterparts continually navigate these similar traumas today. Nonetheless this month, we will tell the story of resilience, beauty, and richness that truly represents Black culture around the world.
This February, I invite everyone to take a stand with us to change the culture of our community. The NEOMED chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) has long upheld the mission of "supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians."
At the start of the year, we announced our theme for the year as "Make Space, Take Space." This is a reminder to us all, that for underrepresented minorities to begin to take space, our community must also be willing to make space. As future providers and community members, it is no longer acceptable to maintain the culture of violence against the Black community, widening equity gaps, or the pervasiveness of systemic racism.
This February, SNMA's call to action is for all to participate in instilling change in our community. We have prepared a plethora of events on behalf of the NEOMED community to foster learning opportunities, safe platforms, and a renewed sense of what it means to be a diverse community. All we ask is that you show up and listen.
--Submitted by Diamanta Panford (M2), M.P.H. candidate, Johns Hopkins University, president, Student National Medical Association