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Thank You to My Jewish Mother

April 27th, 2011 · 6 Brilliant Opinions · Giveaways/Contests, Random Things That Make Me Smile

When I turned 14, I decided I wanted to be a doctor.   It was not a particularly far-fetched dream but I was black, female and growing up in poor urban area.  The odds were  stacked against me.  Shortly after I entered high school, I met “Sally”.   I was told that she would help me become a doctor.  Sally more than helped me, she saved my life.  Sally was my Jewish mother.

Sally was petite, smart and rich.  She was also a fierce liberal and idealist.  Sally was committed to improving health care in inner city communities.    I would guess that in NYC alone, she is responsible for mentoring and supporting at least 50% of the Black and Latino physicians in practice today. She used  her wealth, power and privilege to help those less fortunate. She embodied change.

When I applied to college, she nudged me toward the Ivy League and Seven Sister schools.   When I applied to medical school, she would call her “friends” at the leading institutions to give my application a nudge. When I almost flunked out of my  pre-college calculus course  and then had the nerve to complain about the hard work and bad food, she opened her purse and offered me a subway token.   If I wasn’t going to do the work, she wasn’t  going to coddle me – I was going home.

While I was a medical student,  Sally died after a long illness.  Sally didn’t live to see me become a doctor but she continues to inspire me to work hard and to reach back and help other young people.   I was blessed to have had the love and support of such a bright and courageous woman.  Thank you Sally.

Through a partnership with Macy’s and their Shop For A Better World’ initiative, Heart of Haiti offers artisan-crafted decorative arts and jewelry for sale. All income derived from sales of the products on the Heart of Haiti site enhances an artisan’s family’s nutrition, educates children, and brings access to healthcare and dignity.

To celebrate  Mother’s Day and to honor the women who help us on the journey of life,  Heart of Haiti is sharing a special discount code with my blog readers.  The Promocode is CLEVERGIRLS and entitles you to a 15% discount off Heart of Haiti and Rwanda Path to Peace products (5/3-5/8/11).

I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.

Sponsored Post – Compensation Level 13

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Selfish Mom

    What a beautiful post, Ann. It’s amazing how those people drop into our lives and change them for good.

  • calvin

    Very touching thanks for sharing

  • Ann

    Selfish Mom, in a society that often praises the “meritocracy” and demonizes poor people, Sally could have been a “lady who lunched” her way throughout NYC. Instead she helped me pay for college trips, applications, introduced me to Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and the list goes on and on. She was a gem.

  • Ann

    Calvin – one person can make a difference.

  • Willa Shalit

    Wow, what a moving story ~ Thx so much for sharing Sally’s heart and power. By supporting Heart of Haiti you are doing what Sally did for you, giving women in Haiti a chance to work hard, to create, to earn a good life for themselves and their families. Thank you for passing on Sally’s legacy!!

    XO Willa (co-founder, Heart of Haiti)

  • Ann

    Willa – I am so honored to participate in this event. Thank You for all your good work for the women and families of Haiti. Peace and blessings!

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