As parents, we are constantly trying to set a good example for our kids. We want them to know that they can do anything, as long as they work hard and try their best. As we know though, kids look to us to better understand how to navigate life. No matter what we say, our kids are a thousand times more likely to do what we do (as we have all unfortunately learned after telling our kids not to swear and then accidentally swearing once, which they took as permission to use that word whenever and however they please). One dad named Dr. Russell Ledet did everything in his power to walk the walk – he showed not only his own kids but black youth everywhere that the sky is the limit.
For five years, Dr. Ledet worked at the Baton Rouge General Medical Center, but not in the medical field. Dr. Ledet was a security guard with a dream. During his security shifts, Dr. Ledet would ask on-call doctors if he could shadow them. He learned as much as he could about the field of medicine during work, then went home to study his piles of note cards. Now, at that very same hospital, Ledet is a medical student. Dr. Ledet has never been one to take the easy road, and he doesn’t shy away from hard work. He’s a Navy veteran, holds a Ph.D. in molecular oncology, and is now enrolled in Tulane’s medical school and M.B.A. program.
Dr. Ledet’s motivation not only comes from his personal dream of becoming a doctor, but he also hopes to inspire other students of color to enter the medical field. “This is one of those reflective points when you’re trying to understand how far you’ve come and how far you got to go,” Dr. Ledet told Good Morning America.
Treating patients near where he grew up and being constantly reminded of his “humble beginnings” further inspired Dr. Ledet’s trajectory. Last year, Dr. Ledet and his classmates went viral by posting a powerful photo – 15 black students posed in their white coats in front of an old plantation, giving a very real picture of how far people of color have come. Dr. Ledet went on to co-found an organization called The 15 White Coats, which according to its website, aims to “Reimagine cultural imagery in learning spaces, lessen the financial burden of applying to medical school for applicants of color, and influence cultural literacy in learning spaces.”
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Though his education and career are important, Dr. Ledet finds a special kind of joy in fatherhood. The dedicated Dad said in an Instagram post, “Fathering, my favorite thing to do. It’s the one thing I can promise myself I’ll never slack on,” Ledet continued, “I’ll spend countless hours finding an even better way to be there for Maleah Ann and Mahlina Abri, also known as Moja and Mbili, respectively. If every career aspiration and initiative I wanted to accomplish failed, the one thing I could always hang my hat on is my desire and willingness to be a PRESENT FATHER.”
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Fathering, my favorite thing to do. It’s the one thing I can promise myself I’ll never slack on. I’ll spend countless hours finding an even better way to be there for Maleah Ann and Mahlina Abri, also known as Moja and Mbili, respectively. If every career aspiration and initiative I wanted to accomplish failed, the one thing I could always hang my hat on is my desire and willingness to be a PRESENT FATHER. I think it’s easy to highlight my fatherhood and all the glory that comes along with being “Dad.” What takes a bit more introspection is to recognize those who ensure my success as a father. This year I recognize my wife, Mal, as one the reasons I’m a great father. She keeps me in the loop when I get too busy, slows me down when I’m scatterbrained, and encourages me to be a spiritual father first. Most importantly, she lets me know I’m doing a great job at being a father. That means the world to me. Thanks babe for helping me to be the best dad I can be. @blacklove @theblackmancan @blackdad.challenge @blackdoctorsmatter @blackfatherswearehere @blackmalephds @blackenterprise #fathersday #theledettribe #onestepclosertothepeakofthemountain #blackfathers #blacklove #blackfamily #blackexcellence #blackfathersmatter #melanin #blackdads #theblackmancan #blackmothers #blackunity #blackgirlmagic #blackfatherhood #melaninpoppin #blackdadsmatter #dad #blackisbeautiful #father #thedadgang #blackwoman #black #daddy #love #blackmen #blackconsciousness #parenthood #blackdadmagic
Dr. Ledet has his hands full, but he also has an extremely full heart thanks in no small part to the family he loves so dearly. Without a doubt, this hardworking dad’s kids will grow up knowing that they can absolutely do anything they set their mind to because they watched their dad do it first.