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Photo by Samuel Neher, UMMS Class of 2015

This is why I believe it’s important that I join my classmates to make a statement about current events. I want to be clear that I don’t know how to be a better police officer, or what it is like to be a minority in this country. I don’t have solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. But I know that we can do a lot better than killing people on sidewalks in our own country while fighting wars overseas, while suffering people die, while physician suicide rates are twice those of their patients, where we have a health care system that needs love like nobody’s business, and we have such clear lines between those that have and those who do not. I quit my career in political science and in public relations. I’m not a master of any political thought or any particular approach to governance, economic systems, or health care systems. I’m not a moral authority on anything. Anyone who really knows me knows that I’m no monk and that I’m not flawless. And it is from this place that I say we can do better. I don’t know how that will look. I don’t know what transformations the world is going to have to make. But I know that I can show up, walk and take a picture with my classmates for something that is so clearly so wrong, and so clearly a manifestation of a system and psyche deeply wounded, deeply flawed and in dire, dire need of attention. I’ve chosen to go in to medicine because I believe that my singular purpose in life is to allow myself to be healed as I stand witness for healing in others. There’s just nothing else that really motivates me. I’m done with political theories; not that they are useless; they’re just for someone else. I’m done with economics and figuring out what other people ought to be doing with their lives. I’ve had in my day plenty to figure out for my own self, wrong I’ve done, amends I’ve made, and it’s an ongoing process. But I know for sure that showing up, walking and taking a picture with my classmates to say “I’m with you guys, this hurts me too” is just the right thing to do. #blacklivesmatter

So we marched from the Medical School to the Chemistry Building while chanting, and then lied down for a symbolic 4.5 minutes. From the pictures, students observed us and pondered. The mood was somber. We then walked to the Diag, the center of Michigan’s campus. We joined with several hundred other students to listen to speakers and come together in solidarity. One speaker mentioned the need for more positive action. I hope that we can achieve that.

To anyone looking to apply to a medical school, know that at Michigan they start talking about health equality & inclusion from day one. There are regular lunch talks and ways you can get involved with working with underrepresented voices and people. I hope this is the experience of my classmates, too, and that it enriches their education as well. For me, there is so much more than political action that needs to be done. I understand this is a component. But I’m savvy to the statistics that we participate in bias whether we know it or not, whether we wish to or not. I’ve noticed it in myself. I really feel strongly that change begins internally, by noticing, acknowledging and owning and obstacles and places where love does not reside, and making a decision to let that stuff go. To me, that’s as integral a part of healing as any biomedicine. The cliché is that first year medical students are idealistic. So what. Let us have our moment. This is the way we need to move if we are going to make any real and lasting changes to healthcare. Might as well begin right here, right now, with us.