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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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February is Over, Black History is not!


March 27, 2020
by Kat


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“Black history is American history” — Morgan Freeman

February is over. But that does not mean that we as a country should stop celebrating Black history and Black culture. During February, many events took place on campus at USC to celebrate Black History Month. Clubs such as the BGSN, the CBCSA, and the BSA held a variety of festivals, hosted guest speakers, and career networking opportunities in the spirit of Black History Month.

One specific event that I participated in was the Black Pharmacy Society’s “The Black Experience in Healthcare: Challenges and Opportunities”. This event was a panel composed of current Black students from various disciplines that spoke on their experience of being a student of color at USC. I am honored to say that I was on this panel. The fields of occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistants, medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry were all well represented. Meaningful conversation surrounding imposter syndrome, the importance of mentorship and representation were a few of the topics discussed. Seeing people who look like you in different fields is very important. For those that may not know, imposter syndrome is “the feeling that you haven’t earned your success, you simply got lucky, and you’re a fraud or ‘imposter’ around people who actually earned it and know what they’re doing” (cited from empowerwork).

Imposter syndrome was discussed from the perspective that sometimes Black students feel as though they are imposters in their respective fields due to the lack of representation within their fields. These students feel as though they are not and will not be able to compete with their counterpart peers. These feelings can be overwhelming, isolating, and can have rippling effects to the success of Black students, or any student experiencing imposter syndrome.

However, I believe Maya Angelou’s quote, “the more you know of your history, the more liberated you are,” calls students, in this case specifically Black students, to look to history for empowerment. Students may be the first in their family to go to college, graduate school, or may be the only Black student in class. But let’s take a look at history:

These are only a few of the firsts in America that belong to the Black community. I do not mention these first to compare the Black community to other communities. I state these facts to empower all minority students to stand together, be great, and keep breaking barriers. Be the first. Be the best. Black history should serve as an inspiration to us all.

Pictured are 9 Black students who spoke on the panel

Pictured are the panelists from the Black Pharmacy Society event. (All individuals pictured agreed to be shown with this article.)