Shout Out Saturday is a series meant to highlight real and singular women, in a variety of lines of work, both ‘known’ and unknown, from across the country.
Sonni Mun is a Korean-American immigrant who grew up in a small town in Ohio and the suburbs of New Orleans. During her residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center she discovered her calling as a physician who specialized in end of life care.
“I always loved talking to people and hearing their stories and Palliative Care allowed me to get to know my patients in way that isn’t usually possible in other types of medical practice,” said Mun. “When a patient is dying, they and their families have to trust you at a vulnerable time and you have to quickly build a relationship, so getting to know my patients and learning who they are as people was a vital part of what I did and what I enjoyed the most. This also made it very hard for me to set boundaries and I found it harder and harder to leave work behind when I left the hospital.”
After her son was born, she found her emotional involvement too painful when a patient died. “I ended up leaving medicine because I loved it so much that I couldn’t figure out how to do it in a way that was healthy for me” she said.
She found her second career in healthcare IT, which allows her more space to be a mom and volunteer for causes she believes in. Gun violence is her main passion, and she now serves as New York State chapter lead for Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America and is a member of Gays Against Guns.
Glitter Box: What is the realest, most honest piece of advice you have for a woman working her way up in your field (or any field)?
Sonni: Try to find a woman mentor and learn from her successes and challenges. Try to see other women as allies, not as competition, and if you ever run into one of those women who do see other women as competition, knock that bitch down.
Glitter Box: What do you do regularly to promote equality and justice?
Sonni: I try to volunteer for organizations that promote women and the voices of minorities and take on leadership roles in those organizations. Gun violence prevention has always been a passion since I saw so much gun violence living and training in New Orleans during the crack epidemic. Gun violence is a women’s issue since guns are used so often by abusers to kill and intimidate women. It’s also an issue infused with racism resulting in so many young black men dying from guns. Gun violence is an LGBTQ issue since LGBTQ people are often targeted in hate crimes and LGBTQ youth are at higher risk for suicide. I am a New York State chapter lead for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and a member of Gays Against Guns. I am not defined by my career so much as the causes I believe in and fight for and I love that. I refuse to live in world where kids do lockdown drills to address school shootings rather than making it harder for people, who should not have guns, to buy arsenals.
Glitter Box: What does success look like to you? In your field, what are you working towards or striving for?
Sonni: Success is when I stop thinking ‘am I a success?’ and start thinking ‘I am really enjoying this and I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks!’