Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 8

Conversation

ANTIRACIST ADVICE

Keaton: " I would like to tell them firstly that
you have a strong community that is fighting
for you. As a racial minority who identifies
with the LGBTQ+ community that survived
through a pediatric cancer at 19-years-old, I
know what discrimination and fighting for
your life, as well as your rights, feels like. When
I was going through cancer, I was determined
to not talk to any other patients or meet anyone in the hospital, as I was scared of what
would happen. However, I soon realized that
being with a community that represents you is
imperative. Once I started meeting survivors
and young adults affected by cancer, I felt an
immense amount of support and was able to
truly relate to these people. I highly suggest that
you seek your community. Ask your doctors
to connect you to other patients. Find others
online. Whatever outreach you are comfortable with. It will help you in so many ways. "
Court: " Young people of color shoulder so
much grief in this country and COVID-19
has only exacerbated that truth. After a new
cancer diagnosis, the grief can still be there.
Take some time to explore what things support
the smallest amounts of joy. It's important to
name that some of those things may be a little
modified in response to the pandemic. The best
advice I can give is to remember that while
your experience is unique, you are not alone.
Please seek community. Please be reminded
that being in community starts with only one
person who is willing to listen and support
your needs being met. Wherever you are, I'm
sending you post-pandemic hugs. "
Marissa: " My advice would be to tape record
all of your medical appointments, especially
if you cannot bring a friend or family [member] during your visit. You're receiving so
much information all at once, so having a
recording of your visit can help you go back
and listen to see if you missed anything. It is
also helpful to have family or friends listen to
the recording later, and catch anything you
might have missed too. My second bit of advice
is to lean into the cancer community online.
Find your tribe!! There are so many groups,
especially online now, and I wouldn't stop
just at one, find a group that you can connect
with. Even if you are just " lurking " and gathering information, that is ok! You don't have
to introduce yourself or speak if you do not
want to. When I was diagnosed, I was angry,
depressed and upset, and did not want to talk

8

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2020

with anyone about my diagnosis, so I get it.
When you're ready, there's a vast community
at your fingertips. "
Christabel asks: " If another young racial-minority patient/survivor like you was asked to
participate in antiracist advocacy on behalf
of a predominantly white cancer organization
with a predominantly white audience in the
current double pandemic of COVID-19 and
the uprisings against racism, what personal
advice would you give about whether and how
to proceed? "
Keaton: " My advice to anyone facing these
challenges is to remain true to yourself and
your passion. What truly sets your soul on fire?
For me, advocacy and helping other patients
affected by cancer is my one true passion in
life. I think after being so deeply affected by
such a traumatic event, it is incredibly therapeutic and fulfilling to continue to be a part
of a community that literally saved my life.
Whether your calling is to help families, work
with children, fight racial injustice, advocate
for patients affected by cancer, or whatever it
may be, go after it and follow that path. You
never know what gratitude and gifts you receive
by simply being selfless and giving. "
Court: " I think it is important to assert the power you have in this situation as a young person
of color. In response to the double pandemic of
COVID-19 and the uprisings against racism,
the majority is looking to you for answers and
validity as they begin a conversation rooted in
antiracism. If you are able, have a conversation
with the organization and understand their
intention. Ask yourself what you hope to get/
give with the partnership. Proceed with a full
heart and caution. When things feel unsure,
resort to your own values and navigate back
to them for the answer you're looking for. "
Marissa: " Be honest about your experience
and how you feel. No need to sugar coat or
make others feel comfortable. This is an uncomfortable time for us all and sometimes
we have to get uncomfortable to grow. Also,
ask if there will be any other persons of color
on the panel so the audience can get a range
experiences. If there is not, ask or demand
that they bring on other people of color. We
all have authentic and different experiences;
it's important to learn about them all. Finally,
have a call to action for the audience and get

them involved. When my co-founder and I held
a webinar in June called 'Sorority Sisters, " we
asked the audience to pull out their phones and
Google the word mastectomy. We then asked
them to tell us how many pictures of brown
skin they could find when they Googled this.
The audience was surprised and it left a lasting
impression on them. It's something they still
talk about today. We can continue to talk until
we're blue in the face, but until there is some
action happening, we are going to continue
just 'talking.' "
Christabel asks: " If a white health provider was
in charge of cancer care for a young patient like
you, what advice or questions would you have
for him/her/them? "
Keaton: " I believe we all have racial biases
and uneducated opinions, regardless of our
race. Whether your health provider is White,
Black, Hispanic, etc., we all could do better to
properly educate ourselves to become culturally sensitive and practice cultural humility.
Practicing cultural humility means that you
recognize cultures that differ from yours and
their significance and purpose. Just because
someone else may practice a difference culture
or believe in a different faith, it does not invalidate their culture. If you are dealing with
a health provider that is mistakenly offending
your beliefs or culture, please have a candid
conversation with your provider. Their job is
to best serve you and heal you, and culture
is involved in your healing process. Remain
true to yourself and help others remain true
to you, too. "
Court: " As a medical provider, you are in a
position of power and great privilege. Act accordingly. As a healthcare professional, it is
your responsibility to seek cultural awareness,
gain cultural competency and utilize practiced
empathy in establishing a care plan with a family. Be honest with yourself, and stay present
with the patient and their lived experience. "
Marissa: " My advice would be to check your
privilege and biases at the door. We all have
our own biases regarding other people, no one
can deny that. It's when you put action behind
those biases is when there is a problem. One of
my favorite things my oncologist said to me is
that she is the passenger and I am the driver
of my care. She is there to help guide me with
directions, make suggestions on where to go


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Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 3
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