It is important for us all to recognize and celebrate milestones or the “famous [and not-so famous] firsts” in our lifetime. Not only a baby’s first steps, your first car, or first job, but there are situations, circumstances and events that are bigger than that, because they are bigger than us. Celebrate, for our milestones can positively impact the world.
We must begin to keep a watchful eye- mindfulness on individual firsts as potential impetus for cultural change, be it progress or regress. It is when those firsts go unacknowledged that we may miss a major turning point in our lives.
For example, it is known that blacks in this country have a history of being subjected to discrimination and the strategic denial of important freedoms, access and opportunity, systematically and system-wide. With this insight, we must all celebrate occasions such as the special focus of this post! Every American, every woman, every black person, everyone, everywhere!
Celebrate the acceptance of Dr. Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, as Johns Hopkins’ 1st black female neurosurgery resident!
This represents an occasion in which a ‘ceiling’ has been lifted or ‘shattered’ in this country. In March, 2017, a black woman, native of Ghana, has joined the most prestigious John’s Hopkins Hospital School of Medicine staff as a Neurosurgery Resident. That is phenomenal!
Posted on social media-LinkedIn- where I learned of this milestone event, I am flabbergasted that, since it was acknowledged as noteworthy by one professional on that forum, only 3 likes and 2 comments have been made thus far, as I write.
We champion the first person to attend or graduate college, and replies or comments number into the hundreds. That is certainly a proud day, and a monumental achievement for any family, and we should recognize every time another person becomes a first in the family to reach towards “greater” heights. This time, though, it is greater than just ‘a’ family unit; it is for a much bigger group-racial, gender-based, and a Johns Hopkins achievement!…3 LIKES ONLY?!!!
How are we not extremely impressed? Because this time it is a black female resident in NEUROSURGERY! She has already earned her medical degree. This appointment doesn’t happen everyday where I come from. That announcement is absolutely phenomenal, and it represents another pioneer upon whose shoulders will lift so many others to follow. More firsts in the family, and many more proud families. Not intending to sound biased, but if it were a female of another ethnicity, race, or anything along those ‘narrow-minded’ lines, would we all celebrate and exalt the announcement to its appropriate place?
“Lest we know our history, we are unfortunately doomed to repeat it!“(a paraphrase)
This is why the general K-12 Social Studies curriculum, and the ‘standard’-issue textbooks need revision, rewritten and reality-based. Well, folks, another door has been opened, and we weren’t fully aware! We are largely blind to these things because history is not vividly contextualized or inclusively taught in our nation’s schools. Therefore, black and white children, grow into adulthood, some feeling optimistic and entitled, no fault of their own. Others failed to see evidence that motivated them to reach for or realize their potential because they were not encouraged or affirmed due to poorly taught history. Too many windows and insufficient mirrors for children in a world of rich examples of both.
Some children grow up to possess implicit biases, unaffected and unencumbered by a bothersome awareness of subtle imposed restrictions placed before their counterparts, and others grow increasingly angry and resentful of those biases which will negatively impact the quality of their lived experiences….and no one seems to know why any of these feelings exist.
I feel safe to say that this is a significant reason why prejudice, bias and racism still lives in the hearts and minds of Americans and gets passed on through generations. When we know what our history looked like, felt like and what life was like-how things came to be, we may just say to ourselves, “It could’ve been me!” That should give us all pause, and there but for the grace of God go I. Wake up and celebrate those firsts! Teach about those firsts, which are to be celebrated. Empathy emerges from the acknowledged appreciation celebrations.
For LinkedIn, the social media site for professionals, we should know better and do better! WE are the adults who are supposed to carry the torches and light fires under future leaders! It is up to us to recognize that there is always room for growth, and that we grow by celebrating others; we enrich our lives. As our awareness expands, we are to pass along and share this awareness to further enrich the lives of people in our spheres. It is our duty. ‘Information worth sharing’, indeed!
I still love the collegial dialogue, experiential focus and the awesome spirit shared on this forum, but am a little disappointed by the limited numbers who have made public acknowledgement of this accomplishment. We live, we learn, and THEN each one, teach one! Congratulations, Dr. Nancy Abu-Bonsrah….Johns Hopkins’ 1st black female neurosurgery resident!