“I say to you today my friends, that in spite of the difficulty and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
I’m obviously not Martin Luther King, Jr. And if you ever see me, it’s immediately obvious that I’m not black.
But I have a dream that I’ve had to work hard for as well. I am struggling to be a Catholic woman in medicine. Believe it or not, the Catholic part is harder than the woman part. I’m constantly experiencing prejudice when people who don’t know me assume I’m working to be a nurse when I tell them I’m in medical school. All because I’m a woman. And I’m always being told I’m wrong because I don’t think physicians should force birth control on women that don’t really need it, or because I don’t agree with abortion, or because I refuse to ever be a part of physician assisted suicide.
But I have a dream. My dream maybe isn’t going to change the way an entire race of people will be treated and the opportunities available to them. But mine could give someone an entire life. That’s all I want. To give one person time they wouldn’t have had without my help.
In order to achieve that dream, I sit in my lectures, I study my books, I miss out on time with friends and family. I forget what it’s like to just be able to let go of everything and relax, because even when I’m having fun, I’m thinking that maybe I should be studying. But I need those moments where I can just be me. I need those weekends away to attend a friends wedding and know that some people are finally starting to live their dreams. I need my friends to tell me they’re proud of me and how hard I’m working. I need my family to tell me that it’s okay to miss out on some things because they’ll always be there for me when it’s really important.
I’m working hard for a dream that may not change your life, but will someday change somebody’s life. And everyday I see example’s of how Dr. King’s dream has not yet been achieved.
So, no, I’m not African American, I’m not even an ethnic minority. But I am a person. And I will treat every person around me with dignity and respect, no matter their skin color or religious beliefs. Because if people are willing to work with me and help me achieve my dream, then I can help others achieve theirs. And I believe that Dr. King’s dream is one that must be made a reality.