Because it’s time for a glimmer of light, here is a dazzling group of black students from Tulane University School of Medicine in front of former slave quarters at Louisiana’s Whitney Plantation museum – proof of improbable distances traveled and what Russell Ledet calls a heart-lifting “collective vision for the future.” The visit was organized by Ledet, a second-year medical student and Navy veteran with a Ph.D. in molecular oncology from NYU who says of growing up in Lake Charles, La., “I don’t think (I) ever saw a minority physician.” After an earlier trip to the museum with his eight-year-old daughter and her poignant response – “This is not fair. This is not supposed to happen” – he pitched the trek idea to fellow members of the Student National Medical Association, which supports black medical students, arguing, “We need to do this for ourselves.” About 15 of the 65 turned out, each with a different, often tearful response. Many later posted photos on social media with hashtags like #whatatimetobealive and #yeahwecandoboth; they hope to install the photos in schools across the country to inspire other black students. Says Ledet, “We’re here as living proof that it’s possible.”
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