October 05, 2010

Dreams: A Compass for the Future

This month’s featured dreamer is Evelyn Schmidt. Her life and dream for Durham sum up an important aspect of embracing a particular vision: your dream acts as a compass. 

When a particular vision captures your convictions, it has the ability to steer you through turbulant waters of challenge and adversity.

Dr. Evelyn Schmidt left the South after earning her undergraduate and medical degrees at Duke University, convinced that her liberal political views alienated her from a racially and economically polarized region. When she returned in the early 1970s to head the Durham Community Medical Center, she found a city transformed by desegregation, but with a new set of challenges posed by enduring poverty and an influx of new immigration.

 In my interview with Evelyn, she shared her beliefs about the importance of providing access to health care, the need for preventive medicine, her fears about a rising uninsured population, and the challenges of bilingualism. As she discussed these issues she described not only her philosophy but also the needs of a changing community and the connections between race, class, nationality, and health.

Her dream for Durham stems from her passionate involvement with the current rise of globalization  taking place within the borders of Durham. Evelyn describes her dream as a fervent desire to see the next generation prepared for the new challenges of a multi cultural society. She desires to see the rich history of Durham cherished while also embracing the nuances of a new face of Durham.

  Evelyn’s “dream portrait” is progressing well and will be unveiled Oct. 15th in my studio in Goldenbelt, downtown Durham.


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