The past year has been challenging on all levels, and I have felt stretched in all aspects of my life. During this period, I have also learned more about myself, and how I relate to and see the world. I tend to reflect on who I am, or my identity, and how that plays a role in my work (defined very broadly). In trying to define and understand the concept of identity through my lens and lived experiences, I have realized over the years that social descriptions of any human being are as complex as a spider web, not a monolith, but a cacophony of narratives. Lately, my passion for reflection has become clear, and I revel in the joy of doing so as I am penning these perspectives of how I am surviving, overcoming, transcending, and hopefully transforming my future and that of others who might read these words.
I was born in Ghana and remember growing up like most kids in Ghana, finding identity in the career path I wanted to pursue. I was determined to be a lawyer because I got into trouble several times in school as was known as a “talkative” child. Yep, lawyers were apparently chatterboxes in my mind! It wasn’t until I emigrated from Ghana to the United States that I had the thought of going into healthcare. Even then I had the delusion of becoming a doctor and a lawyer at the same time. (Or was it a delusion? I now believe in that possibility more than I did back then). In hindsight, this fiery attitude, together with my faith and beliefs were exactly what I needed to get to where I am today.
I spent my teenage years and early adulthood in the United States, where I found both a true home and my place in the world. But my identity has been shaped by my African experiences and dreams too. Thus, I now consider myself plainly a bi-cultural, fiery, millennial Ghanaian American Black woman, Jesus follower, wife, mom, scientist, researcher, evaluator, author, poet, singer, and aspiring trailblazer in the field of health. During the COVID-19 pandemic I realized that as my identity evolves it makes me increasingly unique in the way I approach the world. It is through this evolution of my identity that my skills, interests, and lived experiences have been shaped. And this has given me the tools to transcend the challenges of this global pandemic and more. Who knows? I might even go on to becoming a lawyer too!
“The Anti-Racism Policy Journal is happy to partner with Collateral Benefits and Manos Visibles to bring you “Voices of the African Diaspora”, a series of perspectives from Afro-descendants across the world on surviving, overcoming, and transcending COVID-19. Collateral Benefits is a platform that through perspective papers aims to lift up the voices of African and Afro-descendant people from all walks of life so that their intellect, wisdom, and experiences can contribute to and shape the global conversations on the critical issues of our time.”
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