In the future, the massive health disparities that are a feature of today’s world can be eradicated. The resources, tools and approaches of collaboration outline the achievable path for change. In a world where the health gaps that exist today are no more, I also imagine a world without the stubborn persistence of inequalities and barriers to mobility facing people of color. The intersections of health, poverty, race and ethnicity are clear. As a generation, we have already transformed the world we inherited and we can shape the future by our actions today.
My orientation to this future causes me to reflect on the social movements that have changed our world. Through the articulation of a “dream, ” Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. first painted the picture of a different future - of a world better than what was, better than what he inherited by birth and that lived up to the values we hold for humanity. Dr. King was in Detroit, when he uttered: “this social revolution taking place can be summarized in three little words. They are not big words. One does not need an extensive vocabulary to understand them. They are the words "all," "here," and "now." We want all of our rights, we want them here, and we want them now.” With great clarity, I recall the simplicity of Dr. King’s message: do what is necessary to secure human rights now.
Dr. King’s message stressed the urgency of “now” to a world grappling with inequality and injustice. This imperative resonates through time, and also in my life. As a proponent for the equality of rights for all people, my approach to the cause for social change originated in the Gay Rights Movement. As a human being who was excluded to the shadow of society, I understand justice and human rights simply can’t wait. It is up to us to address all the challenges that matter and I realize continued effort is needed to turn the tables.
As Director of Inclusion at GlobeMed, I believe health equity is a matter of social justice and that the collective power of a social movement to dismantle systems of inequity and interrupt the status quo is fundamental to identify and achieve the reality of health equity today and tomorrow. I know that health disparities do not exist by coincidence - they exist by design. During this year's annual GlobeMed Summit, delegates were challenged to confront the unjust systems that exclude certain people and place greater value on certain lives over others in order to help them understand, as university students, the role they play in understanding and dismantling these systems. The Panel, entitled “Race: The Power of Illusion challenged delegates to critically examine historical context, our society and their ideologies.
In my work I’ve observed the way young leaders challenge the status quo by developing actions necessary for the achievement of critical change. In this context, GlobeMed works to develop a new generation of diverse leaders for global health by using inclusive, community-driven, collaborative approaches to create sustainable solutions. Our world needs leaders who balance humility with boldness, find common vision amidst global diversity, and hold themselves accountable for lasting change.
Through partnership with the Global Health Fellows Program-II, GlobeMed digs deeper to better understand, identify and address the constellation of intersections of identities such as race and ethnicity with poverty and health disparities. By identifying and analyzing the deeper systems and structures that drive inequity, bias and prejudice, we help equip leaders who are beginning to create a more equitable society.
As GlobeMed’s Director of Inclusion, I have worked to further diversify our network of students who partner with grassroots organizations, linked in inclusive, equitable partnerships that amplify voices and build capacity through the power of human relationships. The work of building a more inclusive organization has developed to further diversity and inclusion for our network, partner organizations, chapters and their universities, and all stakeholders in the global health space. Through outreach and engagement we have achieved goals to deepen connection with key audiences as we build and strengthen relationships. Through the allocation of grants for GlobeMed’s overseas internship program, GrassRoots On-site Work (GROW), we are using our role in the university space to bring more underrepresented groups of people into the movement for health equity by facilitating important global engagement experiences. This process enabled us to begin building a more diverse and equipped global health workforce.
Our vast networks of undergraduate students, working along with alumni and grassroots change makers, are the spark that will ignite change for the future. It was young leaders who organized and led the Black Panther Party. It was young leaders who developed and led Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. It was young leaders who were often the marching backbone during events organized by Congress of Racial Equality and Southern Christian Leadership Conference. It was young leaders who integrated the Topeka Kansas School System, Little Rock’s Central High and the University of Mississippi. It was young leaders who carried Dr. King’s dream from Detroit to Chicago to Washington and all over this country. Young leaders like Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, Sonia Sanchez and Huey Newton. Similarly, young GlobeMedders across the country have committed to lifelong work to be at the forefront of change in global health.
Critical dialogue is occurring across the GlobeMed network, but we understand that for these challenges, discussion is not a resolution. These burning conversations draw awareness to the need for more tangible steps to realize a new future. There is a lot more to do, but each burst of action is a breakthrough that impacts all of us across generations. One generation to the next, the road to justice is being built. It’s up to us to pick up the torch and work to edify the dream for future generations. It’s up to us. It’s up to you.
Paris Prince, MBA Social Change
GlobeMed Director Of Inclusion