Mar 4, 2014

GlobeMed Voices: Reflecting on a Revolutionary Space

Breanna Wilkerson, Founder and Co-President of GlobeMed of Spelman College, shares her experience at the 2014 GROW Institute on February 22 – 23, 2014 in Chicago, IL.

GROW Institute gathered teams from 53 of our university chapters to prepare them to work alongside their partners across 17 countries. 

There are not many spaces in this world constructed for me. As a parentless, low-income, first generation student and black woman, I find myself in a reoccurring situation of having to negotiate or explain my seemingly complex narrative. Not only has GlobeMed become a central and necessary space for my vision and voice, but it serves as the most consistent driving force in my intellectual activism.

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde

There is something so incredibly sweet, special, and revolutionary that happens when you are positioned in a room filled with sundry shades, stories, experiences, and radical voices discussing global health.

The 2014 GROW Institute provided a space for students that occupy multiple identities to come together and bring their entire selves. This year I am a member of a space where true progressive thought is molded; a space in which millennials can unapologetically deconstruct barriers of privilege in order to work towards the common goal of ensuring everyone has a present voice.

I can’t help but genuinely become inspired by the love and selflessness of the National Office Staff. Our network is rapidly expanding, and it’s crazy to think about the potential we have to progressively shift the framework of global health discourse. No words can express how thrilled I am to see the lasting imprints that our network will leave on the world.

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” – Audre Lorde

As a “participant” in many “diversity” initiatives, I’ve realized that the average diversity model operates on the assumption that if we just figure out how to be “nicer” to people who are different than we are or more “inclusive” interpersonally, then oppression, injustice, and hate crimes will melt away.  The conversation remains trapped at the interpersonal level, clouding true progressive and radical thought.

I continue to fall deeper in love with the GlobeMed network solely because we truly value each identity that is added to the space, and we are moved not only by our belief in health being a human right, but by our own narratives. I have witnessed students channel their own talents and experiences into transformative, powerful work. There is truly no where else I would rather be.

“When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lorde

Written by Breanna Wilkerson, Founder & Co-President of GlobeMed at Spelman


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