Re-Walking 2020

Ahhhhh…2020 is here!
So much clarity and excitement…

Everything is changing.
Any comfort from the day before
is gone by noon the next…

September until early November:
We’re in a lull.
All wondering what’s going to happen…

End of November:
I finally catch my breath…

Now (December):
We’re waiting.
There are still question marks–
conflict and inconsistency
even within me.
There’s a glimmer of hope
in the opportunity for a vaccination
and research to actually further equity.
There’s still a mountain in front of me;
the baby strides we’ve made toward
justice feel entirely insufficient.
There’s confidence growing in me
despite the fear of consequence
from speaking up.
There are bright spots–
especially the champions whose
hands I intend to hold tighter,
who challenge and push me forward,

because change is hard
and necessary for growth…

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

“We need more who look like me,” said this medical student. “And I don’t just mean black women, I also mean indigenous people, latinx people, and multi-ethnic people (who are often overlooked). Tokenism is so insufficient. I think about how this failure in our field to rise to the challenge impacts diverse patient populations.” She spoke about how she saw fragility so often intersecting with change, and about the intersection of the COVID pandemic with the pandemics of racism and of the political climate. “It has to get better from here. This has been a super shitty year,” she said. “Change is hard. Even with the baby strides I’ve seen, I still feel like there’s a mountain in front of me. But I believe we can leave the year stronger, and at least a little changed for the better.”

Interviewee: Anonymous, Medical Student
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

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