The Director of Pediatrics in the Intensive Care Unit of Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Dr. Sabrina Logan says African parents in the Diaspora are faced with the challenges of raising their children in the African culture while at the same time teaching them how to function effectively as a minority in an American society.
Serving as the Keynote Speaker over the weekend at the 3rd Annual Award and Fundraiser Dinner Ball and installation of officers of the Liberian Community Association of Chester County in Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley Hospital Physician said as immigrant parents of American born children despite the wrong and poor images the media portray of Africa , “our challenge as parents is to determine how to provide our children with strategies that will allow them to to effectively balance expectations within their home lives that celebrates their Africanness and the public space that emphasizes their Americanness”. “We must raise our children to be proud of their heritage and culture and to be proud to be Americans”. Dr. Logan also caution the Liberian Diaspora parents asserting, “let us raise global citizens who can live in both worlds comfortably”.
The Lehigh Valley Hospital physician said African parents in the Diaspora children face similar challenges as they did when they were young and more, admonishing parents should be aware that “our children must contend with a cultural reality that predisposes them to figuring out answers to their questions, sometimes alone , partly because their parents are working diligently to make a living and provide a better life for them” .
Drawing a contrast between the challenges African parents faced when they were young and the challenges their children are faced today, Dr. Logan said “theirs is a challenge is a challenge faced in school and on the playground. They must quickly understand the academic and social expectations of their schools, negotiate relationships with friends, decode the messages behind the images the media bombards them with daily. These demands on our children makes life difficult, especially as our continent and culture may be portrayed poorly by the media.”
Dr Logan reminded her audience that when they came to America, “we came with two things, our bags and our dreams” , some of us for education, some in search of fortune, and others in search of refuge”. Regardless of our previous situations we had arrived in the “Land of Opportunity”, and thus embarked on our respective journeys idealistic expectations”, the Lehigh Valley Hospital physician, said. It is the American Dream, Dr. Logan emphasized, that anyone can succeed through hard work and lead a life filled with liberty, happiness and success.” “Well, Dr. Logan noted, our arrival was a cultural shock.” The American dream does not tell you “how hard” the hard work will be”.
The Lehigh Valley Hospital physician said she came to the United States from her native land Liberia as an eager young physician in search of a postgraduate medical education and now she is a pediatrician who achieved the American dream she came to pursue for herself and her family. I was lucky, Dr. Logan lamented, I had a strong support system when I got here, yet I still struggled. Life in the United States is hard, it is filled with unimaginable economic difficulties that I am such many of you have faced but I persevered reminding myself daily of my goals, I came for my education so that I can one day go back to help with the development of Liberia and provide a better life for myself and my family, she told her audience what kept her focus and led to her success in reaching her goals.
Dr. Logan said she wished to return to her country to help contribute to its development when she completed her studies but was deferred because the protracted civil war that lingered the country.
The Lehigh Valley Hospital physician lauded her community for initiating education programs, noting that she and her family cherish the importance of education, a torch her mother passed to her like many in her community, coming from a large traditional African family. Her mother was denied the same education as her brothers because she was a female and vowed all her children would have the equal opportunity to obtain formal education, she fought and did what was necessary to ensure we succeeded, and all her children did, Dr Logan eulogized her mother.
Click below for full audio of Dr. Logan’s speech: