In loving memory of Rosalind Denise Mitchell, MD

Emergency Room Physician during the COVID-19, My Aunt Denise

Jasmine reading the poem written below as a tribute to her late Aunt, a COVID-19 Frontline worker, ER Physician and Health Equity Campion

Unprecedented — the word of this era

We try to place this dark time within some type of palatable barrier

So we give it a word

To give a focus to the blur

So we can try to keep moving

And being

Numbing that unsettling feeling

Because the darkness creeps out and it has now touched us all

Global statistics strike hard at home — when one of your own falls

We got the text

And it was like there was no breath left in this house

The unimaginable

A Certifiably Cool Aunt

Who lived such an adventure filled life and who ultimately sought

To serve others and this earth

To empower her communities to recognize their own worth

And to live fully

Unapologetically

With dignity

She was warrior for health equity

Bold and unforgettable described both her mind and personality

This was my Aunt Denise

Beaming with Beautiful Brilliance of both left and right brains

Unafraid of what others would say

She inspired me to live my truth

No matter how perceptively uncouth

And to seek joy and passion in this journey of life

Energetic and poetic

Her tenacity and vitality were palpable

And anyone who knew her knew she was capable

Of seemingly everything

An advocate

A healer

An artist

An entrepreneur

She mended and blended dark situations with her light

Specifically

in response to the injustices and plight

Of underrepresented minorities in America

Data shows

And history knows

That black women are disproportionately

impacted by society

and its failures

and inequities

especially

in this country

Yet you showed up

On the front lines no less

Because of how you were wired and how you inspired, you always gave it your best

To serve another marginalized group — American indigenous communities

who are often

forgotten

down trodden

and viewed as people of history

And not as people of today

But we’re here

And through both your medical and creatives careers you made it very clear this it was a part of your mission

Your vision

to both serve and revere

Native American people both past and present

For those of yall who don’t know me

Im one of Roz’s mixed race nieces

That has over time collected the pieces

of her story by watching her walk the walk

I hold the name Bright Smiling Sage of the Nanticoke Nation

Im working on the COVID Vaccine Taskforce at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Among other things

And was raised with a similar fire in me

That was known to burn in Aunt Denise

To pursue in all that I do — justice, equality, and some type of peace

Especially for people who look like me

So based on this we can confidently see

That this fire for sustainable progress is deeply interwoven in our family tree

And that for us who occupy these identities especially

We see you

We appreciate you

and we know that you lived your life in service of this Earth and her people

Celebrating the beauty of diversity

As a champion for health equity.

While the unimaginable is here

We channel your energy — your fight — silencing the fear

To do whats right

in the name of inclusion and sustainability

So that one day — hopefully

This planet and her people can be healed

And our untapped potential, productivity, and love as a society can be revealed

Thank you for helping me — through your story

See my purpose and role in this movement too.

We miss you

And we love you

You’ve left a massive hole in our current reality

And while so much is unknown these days — it’s a comfort to forever hold this true

That its an honor to be a part of your legacy and to have walked through life with you

To read more about my Aunt’s bright and beautiful life, please visit her Memorial website here. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Rosalind’s Memorial Fund to support the great outdoors. Click Here to Donate.

Rosalind enjoying the great outdoors. Photo by Rosalind’s Fiance, David Mudgway

Hybrid Professional | Social Entrepreneur | Design Thinker | Impact Accelerator | Global Health Consultant | SDGs 3,5,6 jasminekburton.com

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