News & Press: Press Release

The Loss of Representative John Lewis and Reverend Cordy Tindell (C.T.) Vivian

Sunday, July 26, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: External Affairs
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The SNMA profoundly mourns the loss of Representative John Lewis and Reverend Cordy Tindell (C.T.) V



The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) profoundly mourns the loss of Representative John Lewis and Reverend Cordy Tindell (C.T.) Vivian, two monumental leaders in our collective fight for equity and justice. These visionaries of the Civil Rights Movement dedicated their lives to dismantling systemic racism and created a more socially conscious society that aligns with the mission of the SNMA. The conceptualization of SNMA in 1964 would not have been possible without the Civil Rights Movement and luminaries like Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian who advocated for Black lives in every element of our society. They paved a path towards racial reconciliation and empowerment for future generations of Americans, and the SNMA intends to uphold their legacy as an organization committed to increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians.

John Lewis served as the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district for over thirty years. Rev. C.T. Vivian’s college readiness program laid the foundation for the US Department of Education’s college readiness program, Upward Bound. With over fifty years in the fight for Civil Rights, Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian laid the foundation for future generations to continue to cause, as Rep. John Lewis called it, “good trouble.” Rep. Lewis began his advocacy work as a student leader, and SNMA will continue to cause good trouble for our future patients and their communities.

The new generation of Black leaders will carry on the legacy of Representative John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian in ways that no one could have ever imagined. In this critical time of change and progression, it is imperative that we remember the roots from which the Black struggle originated. From the struggles that began in Africa, fighting for rights and governance of land taken by colonizers, to the struggles on islands whose wealth was built on sugar and rice, to struggles in America where millions of African slaves died in hopes of freedom and justice—it is important to never forget that, from our pain, our purpose was born. Whether your philosophical roots come from spiritual understanding or tangible knowledge, we must remember that our melanin is a blessing. We, the SNMA, have an obligation and responsibility to continue to hold open the door that our ancestors fought, prayed, and bled to open, for those who will come after us. Let us remember all of our leaders—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Shirley Chisholm, Nelson Mandela, Fannie Lou Hammer, Dr. Montague Cobb, and many more—who created spaces for the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to be heard loud and clear worldwide. We, the SNMA, are grateful for their sacrifice and for their ability to take on the challenges of their current realities so that we could thrive in ours.

Osose Oboh, MPH

57th SNMA National President 


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