What is the purpose and what have you learned from your involvement? I’m the current Vice President of the Black Eyecare Perspective Pre-Optometry Club (BEPPOC) where I initially joined to network with other students pursuing careers in optometry. I learned that less than three percent of all optometrists identify as Black. This is an alarming statistic! The primary initiative of this organization is called The 13% Promise to raise awareness and create equity in Black representation in eye care companies, colleges of optometry, and optometry boards. In recent months, BEPPOC has more than doubled in members due to increased exposure via social media platforms and by word of mouth through our student ambassadors. As BEPPOC continues to gain recognition, optometry schools around the country are heavily considering or have already committed to The 13% Promise and in the next few years, we anticipate having thirteen percent of all optometry students represented as Black or African American. This will be a great accomplishment; however, our initiative is for equity across the entire eye care arena.

Talk about the support your wife has provided. My wife is a career-driven woman with a passion rooted in caring for others. For eight years, Kierra has worked as a Registered Nurse for Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. However, she’s currently earning a Master of Science in Nursing degree to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. I’m so proud of her diligence and likewise, she’s very proud of me. She has always supported my career goals, even during the times I couldn’t find my way. As I transitioned, Kierra helped me weigh my program options, searched for scholarships, read my essays, and was always there for a vote of confidence. God has truly blessed me with a supportive, kindhearted spouse to spend a lifetime with. She’s learned to be patient with me, and our love grows brighter every day.