#GROWCommunity17: Diversity. Solidarity. Community.
In the weeks leading up to GROW Institute 2017, we will publish a series of blogposts that reflect on ‘community’ and how students have enacted this value within their GlobeMed chapters.
Neil Thivalapill, student of Human Rights & Biology at Columbia University ’18, writes…
At both GlobeMed at Northwestern and Columbia, I was reminded that the strength of the network lies in the diverse experiences of our members. We would be nothing if not for our differences in race, culture, religion, gender, sexuality, ability, and history that inform our perception of the world. By centering each chapter’s vision on the experiences of its own members, we approach a diversity that prepares us for solidarity and resistance against any challenge, no matter how big a threat it is to the values we hold true to ourselves.
GlobeMed at both schools was a space where I learned to resist and where I felt I could breathe comfortably. They were spaces that challenged the history of our “elite” and predominantly white institutions. Whether it was discussing why Black Lives Matter matters to global health or how power dynamics affects the ways in which we give, each chapter sought to deconstruct the monolith that the world told us global health was.
The differences that I’ve seen between the chapters can be attributed to the differences in members who are different people, with different interests, and different perceptions of the GlobeMed mission. Where GlobeMed at Northwestern places a heavy emphasis on the globalhealthU curriculum, GlobeMed at Columbia emphasizes advocacy. Where Northwestern focuses on community health, Columbia focuses on women’s empowerment.
The differences between the chapters are derived from their interpretations of the mission through the lens of their own experiences within their communities. If each chapter is made up of different experiences, then each chapter has a different vision for global health equity. The network, therefore, exists at the intersection of all these visions – visions that are unifying instead of divisive, inclusive instead of exclusive, and complementary instead of competing.
The experience of each member in each chapter brings us to a more perfect vision of the GlobeMed mission and therefore, makes us more wholesome advocates for the movement for global health.