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by ruthrachel18
on 6/2/19

Letter Written by Ruth Rachel Anderson-Avraham to Ms. Saleen Martin of The Virginian-Pilot on Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Letter Written by Ruth Rachel Anderson-Avraham
to Ms. Saleen Martin of The Virginian-Pilot
on Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Delivered by Electronic Mail



Dear Ms. Martin,

Thank you [for your article entitled, "Norfolk Doctor Helped Low-Income Communities and Women of Color", which you wrote for The Virginian-Pilot for publication on Wednesday, 6 February 2019 (online) and Thursday, 7 February 2019 (in print)].

However, during a time when the issue of racism in the field of medicine, and in establishments of power, generally, is of great concern in the State of Virginia, particularly, as demonstrated by the current debate concerning Governor Ralph Northam, I think that the omission of explicit mention of the leadership roles held by my father in the community at Norfolk Community Hospital, Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, and EVMS, namely, where most of his colleagues and students were not people color or minorities, is unfortunate. He did not just "work" in these places; he held leadership positions and positions of authority in these places. He owned his practice, the commercial buildings in which he worked, and the technological machinery with which he worked.

My father also worked at Norfolk General Hospital (now Norfolk Sentara), where some doctors simply refused to address him as a doctor of color for many, many years.

Finally, I also feel slightly misrepresented, personally, as I expressed to you the sentiment that I believe that my father ceased performing abortion procedures ultimately out of concern for his own safety, and that of his family. This is something much more profound than because it "became too dangerous". Moreover, in my humble opinion, the assassination attempts on his life were not given the gravity and seriousness which they merit. They were very real, and also very likely driven by racism in the medical field and in this region, generally, in part.

Please accept my above commentaries and constructive criticisms with the knowledge that I truly appreciate your efforts to memorialize his work.

Kind regards,
Ruth Rachel Anderson-Avraham (née Yvonne Michele Anderson)

University of Virginia, 1993
École des Hautes-Études Commerciales (Paris), 1997
Harvard Law School, 2002

Nota Bene: Ms. Martin graciously responded to Ms. Anderson-Avraham's commentaries, which she, as a young reporter, positively received. Given these constructive criticisms, Ms. Anderson-Avraham sincerely appreciates the beautiful portrait that Ms. Martin painted of her father, Abraham S. Anderson, MD.