A few weeks back, I was given the opportunity to be on a panel and speak to a Senior class of Public Health students at the University at Buffalo. At first I thought: “Why was I asked to speak?” “What do I have to contribute?” “I’m in Social Work, these Public Health students don’t really care what I have to say.”
I think I’ve only really shared my story with a small group of high schoolers twice. But I really failed to see the bigger picture until now. I realize that its not about how I feel. It’s not about what people may think. Its about my responsibility to pour out what was poured into me. Sharing my experience about how I got to Social Work and advice for life after college was really invigorating. Low key, I learned and was just as encouraged from the things the other panelists said. I was reminded of valuable lessons I’ve learned and even took away new tips to apply to my life now.
From that day on, I decided that I’m not going to be stifled by fear and doubt. I’m going to approach every speaking opportunity as recognition that I have something to say. That my story is important enough share. That the encouragement I have to offer matters.
And wouldn’t you know, I was asked to speak to a room full of Doctors and higher ups in Albany last week. Passionately explaining the work that my Community Health Workers engage in, how important we are to educating and supporting people to live healthier lives, and how funding is necessary to sustain our great outcomes. Even though I was second choice, since the original speaker declined lol, some one still thought enough to say “Sherrell can do it.”
So I’m here to tell you, YOU CAN DO IT! I challenge you all to tell your story. Share it with one person. Share it with a group of people. Just share it! What ever it may be. Personally. Professionally. Even, and especially, racially. You never know what some one will gain, who you will help, and what you might learn about yourself in the process.
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