Tiasha Tabassum: Chika Stacy Oriuwa graduates as the first black woman valedictorian from the faculty of medicine, University of Toronto. In fact, she is also the first woman in 14 years to receive this honour of merit.
As a child, it was Oriuwa’s dream to be a doctor always. Four years back when she started her medical school she was the only black person in her class of 259 students.
On Tuesday she received her graduation and her valedictorian address got videotaped already. Oriuwa said, “Medicine is such an incredible and beautiful profession. And it’s such a privilege and a responsibility to be able to become a doctor, and … they are more than well-equipped to be able to fulfil this role. Their place in medical school as black medical students is rightly deserved and rightly earned and to never question that for even for a moment, even if other people question it.”
Her valedictory address was not what she imagined to deliver before because now she has a new purpose to make her voice heard. Oriuwa said, “Knowing who you are and what you stand for and what you will and will not tolerate will allow them to encounter any adversity and overcome any adversity.” She has also encountered adversity many times; racist and sexist comments and even got questioned about her ability to be a doctor.
“One thing that has really strengthened my resolve is, really, this undying sense of conviction that I have as an advocate. I know what my purpose is and what it is that I am called to do,” she added.
Twenty-four black medical students were admitted to the University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine for the class of 2024. It is the largest group in Canadian history. Oriuwa’s years of advocacy work, speaking engagements and mentoring others has really made a difference. Chika Oriuwa exclaims the honour is humbling. She is grateful to have been able to be a mentor for many new Black medical students.
Photo Credit : Ctv