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Artist’s Statement: Reflections of Tomorrow

Alford, Keona

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doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003778
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Through powerful imagery, compelling messages are conveyed to the impressionable, malleable minds of tomorrow. More children can nurture and develop dreams given appropriate representation throughout pivotal developmental stages of their lives. How do I know this? I represent one of the many African Americans who never had, or never saw, an African American doctor in their youth. I recall initially wanting to be a pediatric surgeon before I even entered elementary school, but that dream felt less and less tangible as I matured in American society.

Echoing the sentiments of previous Association of American Medical Colleges publications, such as Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine, my acrylic painting Reflections of Tomorrow, on the cover of this issue, speaks to the ongoing crisis surrounding the lack of Black men in medicine. The bright colors of this painting represent and evoke the optimism necessary to quell this crisis, and the young boy’s reflection correlates to his admiration of an older role model who has made a positive impact on his life. Perhaps if young African American children were exposed to more examples of a reality with equitable career choices, coupled with effective mentoring, resources, and mobilizing opportunities, it would be easier for them to envision themselves along this path.

Though my life has taken strides toward a colorful artistic direction, I cannot help but think of the budding dreams of the generations to come. It is the responsibility of our communities to identify and provide positive role models for our growing children. I will continue to create art focused on lifting and inspiring the necessary change to expose and dismantle systemic racism and inequity. I hope that this will be the decade where more African American men hear their calling to heal.

Reflections of Tomorrow
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