Thursday, December 24, 2009


I'm not sure this is vindication for ACORN, but it's something. ~ No1KState

Investigation Finds ACORN Didn't Break Laws
Christopher WeberEditor

A report commissioned by the House Judiciary Committee found ACORN, a community organizing group heavily criticized after an undercover video surfaced, has not violated any federal regulations.

The study by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service found that ACORN correctly used all federal dollars it received and did not improperly register any voters during last year's presidential election.

ACORN came under fire after undercover video footage surfaced that showed employees discussing prostitution, tax evasion, and smuggling with a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute. Earlier this month an outside legal expert hired by the group found no laws were broken by staffers caught on video.

While ACORN was found not to have violated any laws, its conservative critics who made the video may have. The CRS report said the covert filming may have broken laws in Maryland and California, where some of the footage was shot. Both states forbid shooting video when both parties aren't aware of the filming.

After the videos surfaced, Congress voted to strip ACORN of federal funding, but the CRS report said courts "may have sufficient basis" to rule that unconstitutional.

ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- remains the subject of at least 11 federal, state, and local investigations, according to the report.

Among other things, ACORN's Web site says the group campaigns for better housing, schools, neighborhoods, health care, job conditions, and more for low- and moderate-income families.

Read the full report here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I'm experiencing a sort of brain . . . I can't think of a good word to describe the heaviness I feel in my head and the effort it takes to do anything beyond the most shallow of thinking.

So, not having read this entire article, I forewarn you that I may take it down later. Until then, what I have read is important for everyone to know in the midst of the battles around healthcare reform. ~ No1KState

Health Study For Chicago: Health Gap Widens
Between Blacks, Whites
Problem is worse in Chicago than nationwide,
Sinai Urban Health Institute study says.
A new study finds a widening gulf in the health status
of blacks and whites in Chicago, even though
disparities between blacks and whites nationally
have remained static.
By Deborah L. Shelton
Chicago Tribune
December 18, 2009,0,628023.story

A widening gulf in the health status of blacks and
whites in Chicago comes even as disparities between the
two races nationally have remained relatively constant,
a new study has found.

The disparity is particularly jarring in five areas:
death from all causes, heart disease mortality, breast
cancer mortality, rates of tuberculosis and the
percentage of women who received no prenatal care during
the first trimester of pregnancy.

Nationally, the racial gap got worse from 1990 to 2005
for six of the 15 health indicators researchers studied.
However, in Chicago, disparities worsened for 11 of the
15 indicators, according to research by the Sinai Urban
Health Institute, published online Thursday in the
American Journal of Public Health.

Poverty, segregation and access to health care all
appear to play a role, researchers said. In Chicago
neighborhoods and medical offices, doctors and patients
see the same factors.

Dr. Charles Barron, medical director at Access Southwest
Family Health Center, said many of his patients struggle
to pay for health care.

"Access is definitely an issue, even at federally
qualified health centers such as Access Community Health
Network, which offers treatment on a sliding-scale
basis," he said.

Tonya Jackson, 39, of North Lawndale, takes seven
medications to treat heart failure. She is a patient at
Mount Sinai Hospital, which is widely known for its
initiatives to treat low-income and poor patients.

"Even with health insurance, a lot of medicines are very
expensive," she said. "When you're a single parent,
you're trying to pay rent, you have your child, and
you're trying to pay bills and buy food, so it's
difficult. A lot of people don't get the care they need
because they have to decide whether they want to eat
that day."

Dr. Niva Lubin-Johnson, an African-American physician,
has witnessed the disparities firsthand in her 20-year
solo practice in Chatham.

"Based on what I see," she said, "we have a greater
disease burden, and part of that comes from lifestyle,
part of it comes from income, part of it comes from
health literacy and people not understanding what they
need to do to live a healthy lifestyle."

An author of the study, institute director Steve
Whitman, previously has compared breast cancer
disparities in Chicago and New York. He said the health
of African-Americans in Chicago fares worse than blacks

"The underlying issue here is racism and poverty,"
Whitman said. "In Chicago, it's exacerbated by
segregation. Black people in Chicago are forced to live
in neighborhoods where there are no stores to buy fresh
fruits and vegetables, where schools are failing, where
they don't have parks to exercise in and where they tend
to go to segregated health facilities that are poorly
funded and, in different ways, failing."

Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American
Public Health Association, cautioned about making
geographic comparisons.

"While it is important to measure an urban city like
Chicago against national numbers," Benjamin said, "the
national statistics include lots of places where some of
the challenges of racial disparity don't exist.

"When you average numbers out -- even though researchers
try statistically to correct for some of those things --
you have to be cautious."

But he agreed that racial disparities appear to be
worsening in Chicago.

"Despite Chicago's ... transit system, it still has
pockets of people where people have tremendous problems
accessing care, and that's a huge overlay," Benjamin
said. "Part of it is lack of insurance, and part of it
is access to care."

Ultimately, money might matter most when it comes to
good health, Benjamin said.

"If we were serious about doing something about
eliminating these disparities, we would pay attention to
the social determinants of health that put people in
these situations to begin with," he said. "At the end of
the day, there is very strong correlation between health
and wealth."

Sinai researchers analyzed the 15 measures using data
from city communicable disease records and Illinois
birth and death records.

The study builds on work published in 2004, believed to
be the first to examine the health of blacks and whites
in a major urban center over time and put findings in
the context of national trends.

Researchers reported that the African-American death
rate from breast cancer was 99 percent higher in Chicago
than for white women, a fivefold increase since 1990.

In 1990, blacks in Chicago were 8 percent more likely
than whites to die of heart disease.

In 2005, blacks were 24 percent more likely to die.

In 1990, black women were two times more likely to go
without prenatal care in the first trimester of
pregnancy. By 2005, they were three times more likely to
go without prenatal care.

Most of the measures showed improved health for both
blacks and whites nationally and locally, but whites'
health status improved much more, widening the gap.

If health indicators were equal, 3,200 fewer African-
Americans in Chicago would die every year, or about nine
a day, the study estimates.

Joseph M. Harrington, assistant commissioner for chronic
disease for the Chicago Department of Public Health,
agreed that the problem in Chicago is significant.

"But," he said, "what do we do about it? You can keep
talking about how bad the numbers are, but the real
question is, what do you plan to do?"

The city health department has initiated programs to
address the problem, including a federally funded
project focused on cardiovascular disease among blacks
and Hispanics living in North and South Lawndale,
Harrington said.

"These findings should provoke us to think about what
can be done, that's the call to action," Harrington

"This should provoke us to do something."

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Christmas Miracle

If you learn something more or different, please share, and I'll do the same.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Most People Would Die for a Screening

Literally. And opponents say we can't have a public option because it would lead to healthcare rationing. Here's what you need to know. ~ No1KState

Poor Being Turned Away From Cancer Screenings

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 13) -- As the economy falters and more people go without health insurance, low-income women in at least 20 states are being turned away or put on long waiting lists for free cancer screenings, according to the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network.

In the unofficial survey of programs for July 2008 through April 2009, the organization found that state budget strains are forcing some programs to reject people who would otherwise qualify for free mammograms and Pap smears. Just how many are turned away isn't known; in some cases, the women are screened through other programs or referred to different providers.
. . .
The Cancer Society doesn't have an estimate for what percentage of breast cancer diagnoses come from mammogram screenings, but says women have a 98 percent survival rate when breast cancer is caught early, during stage I. That shrinks to about 84 percent during stages II and III, and just 27 percent at stage IV - when cancer has reached its most advanced point.

"I already know there are women who are dying whose lives we could have saved with mammography and other detections," said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the society.

In New York, the Cancer Society says providers in Manhattan, Brooklyn and western Queens, and in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties project they'll perform nearly 15,000 fewer free mammograms for the fiscal year ending April 2010, compared with the previous year.

The Cancer Society has no way to count how many women are being turned away, and many providers don't keep track of how many are denied screening, or whether those women find another alternative. The cost of screening varies, but the average mammogram is about $100, while a Pap screen can range between $75 and $200, according to the society.

Project Renewal Van Scan, which gives mammograms around New York City, usually targets 6,000 women a year but has cut back to 3,100 this year, director Mary Solomon said.

Each state handles free screenings differently. Some use state funds to supplement federal funding, while others get private assistance from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation and other groups.

At least 14 states cut budgets for free cancer screenings this year: Colorado, Montana, Illinois, Alabama, Minnesota, Connecticut, South Carolina, Utah, Missouri, Washington, Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Arkansas.

Some states that have cut their budgets have found ways to maintain services; some states that haven't reduced their budgets still find themselves having to turn women away because they don't have enough funding.

"This is rationing of health care by offering (screenings) only in the first half of the fiscal year, or by cutting back on those programs," Brawley said. "It's rationing that is leading to people dying."

New York, which has fought for two years with deficits in the billions, used to screen women of all ages for breast cancer, but after $3.5 million in budget cuts this year, women under 50 - like LaBarge - are no longer eligible unless they have the breast cancer gene or a serious family cancer history. Despite [one patient]'s family history, she was denied screening because of her age and a lack of funding.
. . .
In 2009, the Cancer Society estimates, 34,600 women between 40 and 49 will be found to have breast cancer nationwide; in that age group, 4,300 breast cancer deaths are projected this year.
. . .
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that since 1991, the free screening program has provided more than 8 million exams to more than 3.4 million women, detecting more than 39,000 breast cancers, 2,400 invasive cervical cancers and 126,000 pre-malignant cervical lesions.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

College Football and African Americans

Hey, if you've ever said to someone, "A hundred pennies make a dollar!" then you can understand that 12 inches makes a foot, and 3 feet makes a yard. Football is a game of inches. Every little bit counts. And I think UVA and Louisville just picked up a first down. ~ No1KState

A Historic Week for Minority Coaches

By Richard Lapchick
Special to

One year ago this week, I wrote that we needed a civil rights movement in college football. As of Dec. 8, 2008, there were four African-American coaches left in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision), the lowest number in 15 years. African-American coaches at Kansas State, Washington and Mississippi State had just lost their jobs. Late in the 2008 hiring process, African-American coaches were hired at New Mexico, New Mexico State and Eastern Michigan -- but those additions hardly made up for the losses at Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC schools. Randy Shannon at Miami (Fla.) was the only African-American BCS conference coach left.

Now, with Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong being introduced as Louisville's new football coach on Wednesday afternoon, everything has changed. With several coaching positions remaining to be filled, there are 11 African-American head coaches, and 13 coaches of color among the 120 FBS schools. That is four more than the previous high in the history of college football. And, most importantly, there are again more coaches of color in the BCS conferences, with Strong in the Big East and Mike London in the ACC at Virginia. Plus, Turner Gill is a serious candidate for a job in the Big 12, at Kansas.
(Click post title for more after break.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

All Natural: ACORN and Woods

Kinda tired so I'll make this quick.

I want to remind you of just two things: ACORN isn't under investigation from anyone, hasn't been convicted or indicted of anything; the Congress was a bit premature and hypocritical to look to end all federal funding to ACORN after well more than just "billions" has been defrauded by several war contractors with which the DoD is still doing business.

So the internal audit was completely voluntary, however necessary for PR. The Washington Post uses an article by the AP to inform readers of the findings of ACORN's internal review: none of ACORN's employees committed any crimes. What they leave out is that several of the videos that started the scandal were edited and left out exculpatory evidence. In San Diego, one employee called his cousin, a police officer, and warned him about possible human trafficking. Employees in Philly also alerted the police.

The people who produced the video, of course, are decry the finding. They say that it's only reasonable that the group paid by ACORN to do the internal review would have a good finding. Though, how else is an internal review done, right? Either from in-group or out-group, but always pay for by the group.

That said, what makes this worse is that the media did none of the basic journalistic investigations that would've uncovered a great deal of what the report found. But instead, they acted make a gossip chain, just repeating what they heard from someone else. And while Rachel Maddow at least highlighted the hypocrisy of the whole thing, at the end of the day, not even MSNBC did much more than discuss the news reporting as though it were news reporting.

And I'm so, so tired of the brouhaha over Tiger Woods. I find it awfully suspect that with adulterers in Congress, even Bill Clinton, and the anti-ED commercial shown during golf - all of a sudden the nation is appalled by the man-hoe. And for a racial angle thanks to Karith Foster (Booooo!! apparently), here's one very good article and here's another.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh - Dama!: Updated

h/t racismreview

Since finding that the federal government is settling a longstanding case with American Indians, I'm back in the saddle!

Well . . . back to thinking the Obama administration would be slightly better than the Clinton administration.
I'm officially disillusioned with the Obama administration. This demands intervention.


IRS Auctions Off Crow Creek Sioux Land for $2.5 Million
Leticia Miranda

Roughly 550 years later, Native peoples are still fighting to keep their own land because of broken treaties and erroneous information.

This week, the IRS auctioned off 7,100 acres of Crow Creek Sioux land in Central South Dakota to a Highmore, South Dakota resident by the name of Klein for $2,577,210.

The IRS claims that the Crow Creek Sioux, one of the poorest tribes in the US, failed to pay about 3.1 million dollars in federal employment taxes since 2003. But the tribe says they received false information from the Bureau of Indian Affairs who said they are not required to pay any federal taxes, regardless of any enterprise entities they own, because they are a federally recognized tribe.

Indian Country Today reports:

“The tribe has attempted since then to pay the arrearages and subsequent amounts as they come due, but has been unable to bring the employment taxes current because over this same amount of time the Internal Revenue Services have levied and garnished various accounts of the tribe making it impossible for the tribe to bring the taxes current,” according to the lawsuit.
This marks the second time that the Crow Creek Sioux have lost their land to the US government. The land was originally theirs and was federally recognized as belonging to them through the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. But through the Dawes Act, which was enacted to force Native people to assimilate into white American society, the Crow Creek Sioux lost their land again only to finally buy it back in 1998 through the Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Farms, Inc.

But when the Crow Creek Sioux finally did buy it back the Bureau of Indian Affairs failed to put the land into trust, making the land vulnerable to seizures by the US feds.

The tribe and its lawyers have filed an action lawsuit that will hold the land claim in the Sioux’s name until the case is heard in court before the redemption period ends in June of 2010.

The land not only holds the sacred remains of the Crow Creek Sioux’s ancestors and recently passed tribal members, but has high wind energy. The tribe was planning on creating a wind-powered farm to sustain itself.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Back to the Drawing Board. Seriously.

According to an article in the New York Times, college degrees aren't helping black men find jobs. "Well, No1KState, everybody's struggling now." At a ratio of 8.4 to 4.4 for black men with college degrees to white men with college degrees?

The administrators at racismreview noted that the article failed to explicitly say white hiring managers had a problem with black job applicants. The closest Michael Luo came to blaming white people was quoting stories like this one:
Mr. Williams recently applied to a Dallas money management firm that had posted a position with top business schools. The hiring manager had seemed ecstatic to hear from him, telling him they had trouble getting people from prestigious business schools to move to the area. Mr. Williams had left New York and moved back in with his parents in Dallas to save money.

But when Mr. Williams later met two men from the firm for lunch, he said they appeared stunned when he strolled up to introduce himself.

“Their eyes kind of hit the ceiling a bit,” he said. “It was kind of quiet for about 45 seconds.”

The company’s interest in him quickly cooled, setting off the inevitable questions in his mind.
Mr. Johnny R Williams has JPMorgan Chase and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago on his résumé.

I'm not really surprised Luo fails to acknowledge that if companies were excited about a particular job applicant until they see him, then the problem is with the interviewers, not the applicant. After all, have you listened to the way people talk about slavery? Almost as though the country just had black slaves running around with no white slaveowners. As for today, this whole problem that black men with amazing resumes are having a harder time finding jobs than white men isn't white people's fault. After all,
The discrimination is rarely overt, according to interviews with more than two dozen college-educated black job seekers around the country, many of them out of work for months. Instead, those interviewed told subtler stories, referring to surprised looks and offhand comments, interviews that fell apart almost as soon as they began, and the sudden loss of interest from companies after meetings.
And plus,
There is also the matter of how many jobs, especially higher-level ones, are never even posted and depend on word-of-mouth and informal networks, in many cases leaving blacks at a disadvantage. A recent study published in the academic journal Social Problems found that white males receive substantially more job leads for high-level supervisory positions than women and members of minorities.
See? None of this alleged "discrimination" has anything at all to do with some supposed racist conspiracy white people have against black men with degrees from Yale and MBAs from the University of Chicago. No! White employers would love to hire more Morehouse me, but
. . . [they simply gravite] toward similar people, casting about for the right “cultural fit,” a buzzword often heard in corporate circles.
After all,
they conceded, there are times when their race can be beneficial, particularly with companies that have diversity programs. But many said they sensed that such opportunities had been cut back over the years and even more during the downturn. Others speculated there was now more of a tendency to deem diversity unnecessary after Mr. Obama’s triumph.

In fact, whether Mr. Obama’s election has been good or bad for their job prospects is hotly debated. Several interviewed went so far as to say that they believed there was only so much progress that many in the country could take, and that there was now a backlash against blacks.
Now that you've gotten the basic gist of the article, I can share my true feelings. Of course, I absolutely agree with the "blacklash" theory. Also, are we really gonna consider being black "beneficial" just because some company has realized they've already met the quota for white men? Cause actually, diversity improves performance and profits.

And what the hell is "cultural fit" and doesn't it already raise a red flag?
Essentially, the phrase refers to an employee or applicant who shares the employer's business attitudes, values, goals, and overall view of how the particular business should be run. Every workplace has a style that is reflected in the way its employees act and dress; how they deal with clients, customers, and each other; and how they comport themselves in the larger work world.
I found another definition/explanation here:
In the work setting, lack of fit between an employee and an organization can be described as culture clash. Culture encompasses the shared, taken-for-granted assumptions that a group has learned throughout its history -- values held in common that extend beyond the framed mission statement hanging in the lobby. It includes the following:
 Work style -- the way work is done.
  • Team orientation -- hierarchical versus egalitarian.  
  • Management style -- collaborative or commanding. 
  • Customer orientation -- a nuisance as opposed to reason for being.  
  • Political style -- the importance of what you know versus who you know.  
  • Attitudes toward things like learning and risk taking.  
Lack of cultural fit is largely due to a misguided hiring process supported by ineffective execution. Even the best-intentioned organizations - those that focus on competencies and relevant behaviors, in addition to education and experience -- frequently don't assess the issue of cultural fit accurately. Failure to do this minimizes the likelihood of arriving at a successful match.
So how does this play out in real life terms? Let's take a look at one of Harvard's Baker Scholars (awarded only to the top students of the MBA graduate class), a black man named James who kept being rejected because he wasn't the white, oh, I mean, right cultural fit. His race wasn't necessarily the problem.
He mentioned, for instance, that he was extremely fastidious in his working style, and would stay long hours to ensure that he always produced work of the highest quality. Admirable within some companies, perhaps, but others might see it as being detrimental to team spirit if James were not able to prioritise, or to relax once in a while if the work he was doing at the time wasn’t critical.

He also mentioned that he liked to take initiative and present the people around him with highly-polished work. But if the organisation was used to getting everyone involved in the problem so that the solution was jointly developed, would James accommodate this or not?

So, although the recruiter could be more helpful to James in the feedback which is given to him, there is nothing underhand going on. In fact, the recruiter is working in James’s interests to ensure that he does not join a firm where he will not fit in and excel.
So black men, here's some job advice, based mostly on what I've laid out and in the spirit of this particular post (Which I hope you realize is mostly sarcasm . . . about the reasons for the disparity in employment between black male college grads and white male college grads, not the disparity itself.).Don't demonstrate initiative.
  1. Don't be so committed to high-quality work that you stay extra hours on the job making sure you get things just right.
  2. Send a white guy as a stand-in for your interviews and talk into his ear using blue-tooth.
  3. Use initials if you have an ethnic name.
  4. Don't mention any awards you've received or organizations you've joined as a high achieving minority.
  5. And if all else fells, don't get a college degree. Particularly one from a prominent university.
James became neither an investment banker nor a consultant. The deeper he looked into those careers, the more he realised himself that he would not succeed. He is now a teacher just outside of Chicago where he is able to develop young minds. And Lord knows we need more black male teachers!

No, sarcasm aside, we really do need more black male teachers in our public schools. But I'm not sure I'm okay with black men going into teaching as a last resort. What are we supposed to tell our kids? You can be anything you want, just stay in your place? Cause no matter how much you accomplish, you can still be arrested in or protested against in your own home.

World AIDS Day

Yes, I'm a day late. Sorry. World AIDS Day is on the first of December. But this is important. Black women . . . well, just read this post courtesy I'll try to post all the links in the post asap. ~ No1KState

World AIDS Day: Black Women, Racism and HIV/AIDS
By Jessie

Today is World AIDS Day, when people around the globe stop to reflect on those lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is almost in its third decade. While many people may associate the disease with white, gay men because they were one of the groups initially infected and affected by HIV and among the most political vocal about it, the fact is the epidemic has changed. Within the U.S., if you examine the epidemic across racial and ethnic groups, you will see that HIV/AIDS is not a disease that exclusively, or even primarily, affects whites. Blacks and Latinos are increasingly affected by the disease, as this graph based on 2007 CDC statistics illustrates:

The changing nature of the epidemic is even more striking when you include gender.Today, black women are the group with the highest rates of new HIV/AIDS infections. According to CDC:

■African American women account for a majority of new AIDS cases (66% in 2006); white women and Latina women account for 17% and 16% of new AIDS cases, respectively.
■African American women account for the largest share of new HIV infections among women (61% in 2006), an incidence rate nearly 15 times the rate among white women. (For more detailed look at statistics about the epidemic’s impact on African Americans, see: “Black Americans and HIV/AIDS” compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation, opens PDF.)
During the first decade of the epidemic, most social science research focused on changing individual behavior (e.g., wearing condoms, using clean needles) as the primary intervention strategy to prevent HIV infection, these efforts often failed in the face of complex settings of social inequality. For example, telling a woman that her partner should wear a condom becomes a risky proposition if she is economically dependent on that man for survival and he sees the request to wear a condom as an affront of some kind. Thus, researchers and community activists interested in stopping the spread of the disease began to look at the dynamics of sexuality within a broader social and cultural factors.

Just as an increasing amount of research demonstrates that mothers who experience racism are more likely to have low-birth-weight babies, the experience of racism and sexism are part of the social and cultural factors affecting HIV/AIDS rates among African American women. One way to measure this combined racism and sexism, is to look at what national leaders have to say about the HIV/AIDS epidemic among black women. In 2004, when journalist and vice-presidential debate moderator Gwen Ifill raised this important issue in the form of a question to then-candidates John Edwards and Dick Cheney, neither one could stammer out a coherent answer. It was clear that the alarming rates of HIV/AIDS among black women were simply not a concern for powerful political leaders (who also happened to be white men).

Some of the most exciting research that attempts to address this inequality is the pioneering intervention studies conducted by Gina Wingood and Ralph DiClemente of Emory University who, drawing on Connell’s gender and power theory, began to think differently about HIV prevention for young, black women. Wingood and DiClemente developed an intervention study for African American adolescent girls that used workshops that emphasized ethnic and gender pride along with the usual HIV-prevention information. Basically, the researchers included a consciousness-raising group about race and gender along with the usual health education information. These positive messages about racial and gender pride are important for enabling and empowering young, black women who encounter a layered burden of racism, sexism and often, poverty.

However, not all black women who are HIV-infected are poor, as several activists remind us. Marvelyn Brown, for example, diagnosed at age 19 with HIV/AIDS has become an outspoken proponent and visible spokesperson for HIV-prevention among young, black women. The author of Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Positive, Brown has won several awards for her activism. Rae Lewis-Thornton, diagnosed at age 23, was featured on the cover of Essence magazine in 1994 and described as, “I’m young, I’m educated, I’m drug-free, and I’m dying of AIDS.” It’s been fifteen years and, fortunately, Lewis-Thornton is still very much alive and an tireless activist. Yet, she struggles with the legacy of her diagnosis (powerful video interview with Lewis-Thornton here). And, young black women who are allies, are harnessing the power of new media to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, such as Karyn and Luvvie of the Red Pump Project.

The growing epidemic among black women in the U.S. reflects a global trend. The World Health Organization’s estimate (via is that there are over three million women with HIV in the world, most of them in Africa. In fact, one in 50 women in sub-Saharan Africa is infected with HIV. AIDS is the leading cause of death for women ages 20-40 in major
cities in the Americas, Western Europe, and Africa. The fact that this disease is shape-shifting into one what disproportionately affects black women both here in the U.S. and globally raises important questions about whether or not we will, collectively, be able to put aside our racism (and sexism) to address this epidemic.

As you go to a service, attend a vigil, or just hold a good thought or observe a moment of silence on this World AIDS Day, reflect also on the ways that racism shapes the epidemic and who we lose because of it. If you care about racial and gender equality, you need to start paying attention to HIV/AIDS. IF you’re concerned about HIV/AIDS, you need to start learning about racism and sexism.

For more on the public health crisis affecting black women, you can watch this video (approximately 27 minutes) which features a discussion with C. Virginia Fields, President of National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Monica Sweeney, MD, Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Marvelyn Brown.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just a Few Tears

Well, no analysis. You got CNN and MSNBC for all that. PBS.

Just feel like sharing. Not feeling this at all. Not because I disagree with the policy, but I'm just not okay with war. I'm a just war advocate, so I'm not against all wars just because they're wars.

I just feel like crying. For the time parents will miss with their kids. The lives that will be flipped upside-down because of a stray bomb or because Al Qaeda or the Taliban is using a village of innocent people as a buffer. Or, maybe even because the war has just gotten to our own soldiers so they wil' out on innocent people, whether there or over here.

So excuse me please and pass some tissue. War is hell and our shared humanity demands that we sympathize with our military families, including but not limited to my cousin and her husband, and the Afghans alike.

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