Pulse of Perseverance: A story of overcoming obstacles on a journey toward success
Dr. Joseph Semien, of Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women, is visiting schools across the country to promote “Pulse of Perseverance,” a movement and non-profit organization aimed at redefining negative stereotypes of young African Americans.
The movement is also the title of his new book, co-authored by Drs. Pierre Johnson and Maxime Madhere, both African Americans. The authors have met with students in New Orleans, Chicago and Atlanta and have discussed their personal journeys in overcoming obstacles, pursuing progress in the face of failure and proving statistics and cultural assumptions wrong.
Semien said the mainstream media frequently portrays African-American males in a negative light or only shows them being successful in entertainment or sports. He said students who share those “limited” career aspirations are really saying, “I want to be successful.”
But they have blinders, it’s all they see,” Semien said. “So, Pulse of Perseverance is about exposing these kids to other professions to let them know (that) I came from the same challenges but I made a change and so can you.”
Semien said he was “a good student,” but he was “living a double life … the street life.” However, he said tragedy “brought this lifestyle that I was living to a reality.”
“The truth is, what no one talks about is that it brings on a depression which spirals on to anger,” Semien said. “Those are vital moments that you have to make some decisions. You have to have people around you who can actually tether you to make the right decisions.”
Semien said his classmates, Johnson and Madhere, pushed him to be successful in the medical field.
“No matter where you come from, no matter what obstacles you go through, you can still overcome them,” he said. “You still have time. You can still achieve these goals.”
Another mission of the movement is to help young people reach their goals, Semien said.
“That curse that’s been going on in the black community can be broken,” he said. “It can be shattered when people will realize that they can truly accomplish anything they desire and it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to change who they are.”
Semien said all cultures should try to understand each other more and stop “locking certain people in a box.”
“I have tattoos; I wear earrings,” he said. “I wear jeans and a T-shirt when I’m not at work. We need to understand people as a whole. We need to understand culture.”
For more information on Pulse of Perseverance, visit.
‘No matter where you come from, no matter what obstacles you go through, you can still overcome them.’
Dr. Joseph Semien
Drs. Pierre Johnson III, Joseph Semien and Maxime Madhere, authors of the book, “Pulse of Perseverance,” have met with students and discussed with them pursuing progress in the face of failure and proving statistics and cultural assumptions wrong.