I hope this message finds you safe. I can only speak from my experience, but it feels like I’ve been trying to run up a mountain and every time I get my breath back, a gust of wind comes and knocks the air right out of my lungs. From Covid-19 forcing a pause in our medical education and impacting our ability to physically come together at AMEC for the first time in over 56 years, to learning about the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on Black/African-American communities, to hearing about the slaughter of Black/African-American people in the United States, I have been at a loss for words.
Image created by Chenelle Roberts (@bychenelle on Instagram).
Every day my emotions shift from rage to sadness to despair to panic. I have not been able to study or perform at my best. I tried running to release my anxiety, but the murder of Ahmaud Arbery plagues my mind and has kept me glued to the couch with nagging doubt: What if I am next?
I know that I am not alone in my feelings, or the ways in which I have tried to process these recent events. But there is one thing that has reassured me that our future is still filled with hope. I am apart of an organization of beautiful black and brown people who are dedicated to being the change they want to see. I have found encouragement and hope in you all and your ability to use your voice to speak out against the atrocities we continue to see. I am reminded that we are all members of an organization that has STOOD UP and SPOKEN OUT against the mistreatment of African-American/Black people for decades.
Today, we as the SNMA stand with the families who are mourning. We will always use our voice to speak out against social injustice.
We intend to address these issues as a collective in a few ways:
The SNMA “See Us”: This campaign aims to give imagery behind the fact that racism is a public health issue in the United States. The recent murders of our Black sisters and brothers are a clear reminder that this nation is built on the backs of the oppressed and the belief that some humans are of less value than others. We are living in the aftermath. As future physicians, we will be treating patients who have been negatively impacted by these traumatic experiences. We stand united at the forefront of defending unity, defending humanity! The SNMA has been committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students and addressing the needs of underserved communities since its inception and will continue to do so.
Call to Action: Share this collage or a black and white image of yourself with your story, your feelings. We want to hear your voice and your perspective. Engage with us. Tag @snma_official on Instagram and @SNMA on Twitter so we can share your images and stories.
Safe Space Sundays: This program was created in order to provide a place for our membership to come together monthly and discuss the issues that we are dealing with whether it is personal or professional. The first call is happening this Sunday, May 31st 7pm ET/4pm PT.
Joint Statement: We are workingwith other organizations that support minority communities (LMSA, APAMSA, ANAMS, AMSA, etc.) that will be developed to demonstrate our stance and declare that "We stand in solidarity, together. We are not okay. We will not be silent."
Juneteenth Event: On Friday, June 19, 8pm ET/5pm PT, we will hosta webinar discussion onthe history of Juneteenth, the ins and outs of allyship, promoting racial healing and how to use your voice.Please look out for information about our speakers and how you take part in the discussion.
Fundraiser: We will also release an exclusive Juneteenth t-shirt with proceeds benefitting our community service efforts, specifically those focused on Violence Prevention in line with our Community Service Protocol.
Economic BLACKOUT on July 7th, 2020 with others across the country to have collective financial impact.
The SNMA is always open to new ways in which we can lend a hand, so please reach out with thoughts and ideas you might have to make an impact. If you are looking for more ways to get involved, please join our national committees and subcommittees who are doing the work on behalf of our organization; email email@example.com for more information. Below are a few committees responsible for our national programming regarding the current issues.
Mental Health Initiatives Subcommittee: Please see below for mental health resource list and an SNMA Reading List created after our “Coping with Covid” event to share with anyone who wants to educate themselves on the historical context behind racism and health disparities.
Health Policy and Legislative Affairs
My prayers are with the families of those who lost loved ones, both to senseless violence and Covid-19, and with all of you who have been affected by these traumatic experiences. To my extended SNMA family, I see you, and I am grieving with you. There is work to be done, and with your help, I believe the SNMA can continue to be a loud and strong voice in bringing about change.
The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is committed to 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.
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