On Thursday, many of you will gather round a dinner table with your loved ones and give gratitude for your friends, family and good fortune. Many of you will think of the meal associated with the inception of this holiday, be filled with warm fuzzy feelings and gloss over the real history surrounding the relationship between those who supposedly attended the first “Thanksgiving” dinner. After eating a second helping of Grandma’s famous pie, few will be concerned about the side of historical oppression or racist colonization offered with this dinner because well, that isn’t so palatable.
Exquisite Eliza Jean, / Oh my, our 22nd playdate and I still have so much adrenaline; / Last time I thought I might lose my finest specimen. / Yesterday while under the scalpel, dear Betsy barely made a sound, / So please take heed, and don’t excessively squirm around.
The images of water from Flint, Michigan water came into my mind and I lingered at the sink a few minutes too long. I became heartbroken for the children whose bodies may have been irreversibly and negatively impacted. I became enraged at a system that would prioritize saving pennies over properly protecting its citizens from preventable harm. Governor Rick Snyder, his appointed “emergency financial managers” and other leaders allowed this crisis to develop over years as they mistreated Black citizens through racist policies, violated the public trust, and endangered lives. A significantly poor and majority black city was told it was okay to use polluted water to prepare their children’s dinners. Families washed their dishes in what could be mistaken for urine. They scrubbed their pearly whites with toxins to avoid cavities.
December 10, 2015 marks the one-year anniversary of the inception of White Coats for Black Lives, a national organization of medical students that aims to eliminate racial bias and racism in the practice of medicine — as they are threats to the health and well-being of people of color.