Jessica is a second year Psychology and Global Studies double major. This is her second year involved with GlobeMed at UCLA. Keep reading to learn about Jess’ experience with ghU and privilege disparities both local and global!
After joining G’Med, I soon realized the global health education component—formally known as ghU—would be the most intriguing and eye-opening part of this incredible organization for me. Each week is an entirely new and empowering experience as we discuss topics ranging from natural resources to women’s’ rights and everything in-between. My personal favorite was the week we talked about privilege.
I came to meeting that day exhausted from good ol’ school work, stressed out about lack of job offers, and all around annoyed at the fact that Westwood was a 20 minute walk from campus and I was craving pizza. Needless to say, I was not in the best of moods. When our ghU coordinator announced we were going to participate in an activity outside, I was curious. All the GlobeMedders were told to stand in a line and take a step forward or backward, depending on whether or not the statements read aloud applied. The first couple statements didn’t impact me much but as time went on, they became more solemn and weighty.
As “Take a step back if you have ever felt threatened or discriminated against because of your ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious identity, socioeconomic status, etc.” was read aloud, I took a look around and saw a major discrepancy within such a small group. The standpoint of each member hypothetically represented his or her particular privileges. I realized privilege played a significant underlying role in the lives of every individual; it wasn’t fair that divergence existed, nor was it fair that these distinctions were based on traits beyond one’s control.
My problems beforehand soon seemed insignificant compared to broader issues; the activity instantly directed my thoughts toward our partner. The people of Mpoma possess considerably less privileges than us, yet we have so much to learn from them. In a community without basic running water, these people manage beautifully.
My final thoughts on this particular ghU: despite privilege setting us apart, we are all human and deserve happy and healthy lives. GlobeMed has taught me to direct my efforts toward education and outreach so that I may do my part in making our world a better place to live in, one step at a time.