When going for a job interview, I always get asked the same question: What is your biggest strength? My answer is always the same. My Grit is my biggest strength. According to Merriam-Webster, Grit is “firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.”
My name is Serita Liles. I am a currently senior at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University majoring in Sport Science and Fitness Management. In my life, I have seen my fair share of hardship. But for the purpose of this newsletter, I want to speak on the recent events that have brought challenge to my life as a young African American woman. Upon my return to the States from studying abroad, positive cases of Coronavirus started to sweep our nation. This is what we know today as the 2020 Pandemic. However, we currently face two pandemics in America: Coronavirus and Racism. Although less talked about, systemic racism is a public health problem and it’s not just recent. What if I told you that doctors in the nineteen fifties decided to test the beginning stages of birth control on low-income women in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory? What if I told you that black people living in America are two times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, one of the top fatal diseases in America? This topic is extremely controversial. However, this perspective especially as a byproduct of what it means to be a woman of color in America is what fuels my grit.
2020 was hard for many of us, but for me, it was filled with mixed emotions of what it means to be a black American and what it means to be human. How do I distance myself from worldly chaos and find solace? I chose to focus my mind on positivity. I chose to go vegetarian. I chose to read the Bible more often. I chose to exercise and meditate. But most importantly, I chose to focus on peace. It’s easy to get angry at today’s current events and hate the actions of insensitive citizens. But what will that solve? Attending the GlobalMindED virtual conference and follow up meeting calls encouraged me to take the mental fog of today’s madness and find a healthy way to cope. I mentioned plenty of times during our zoom calls that I was so focused on the effects of 2020, I had very little time for myself. The GlobalMindED team has really help me prioritize myself throughout 2020.
Starting a new chapter into the new year, I am keeping my mental health at the forefront. With the recent events that has happened at the U.S Capital, I cannot minimize how much it has affected me. But I can say, it has made me that much hungrier to achieve greatness because civil injustice in America is intolerable. My fight may not be political, but I am working my hardest to produce change in healthcare within the years to come.