Austin, Texas—About 70 Austinites gathered at the Homeless Memorial and Tree of Remembrance along the south bank of Lady Bird Lake on Sunday for a vigil in honor of unhoused people who lost their lives during last week’s winter storm and blackout in Texas.
It was a surreal scene, as shirtless parkgoers along the river’s bank exercised, threw frisbees and soaked up the sun as temperatures reached back into the upper 60s for the first time since the state was plunged into extreme winter conditions last Monday. The storm took down the state’s independent energy grid, touching off a power and water crisis that remains ongoing even as conditions improve (read more).
North Carolina hospitals have joined the growing number of organizations and governments in declaring racism a public health crisis.
The N.C. Healthcare Association, which represents all 130 hospitals in the state, released a statement this week pledging to work harder to provide equitable care to everyone. Among the challenges to that goal, the association said, are the barriers to employment, education and economic opportunity that people face because of their race (Read more).
By Maria Godoy
Torey Edmonds has lived in the same house in an African-American neighborhood of the East End of Richmond, Va., for all of her 61 years. When she was a little girl, she says her neighborhood was a place of tidy homes with rose bushes and fruit trees, and residents had ready access to shops like beauty salons, movie theaters and several grocery stores.
But as she grew up, she says, the neighborhood went downhill. By the 1970s, stores had disappeared; those that did return were corner shops selling cheap alcohol but “no real food,” Edmonds says. Houses declined too, as homeowners – including her parents – were rejected for loans (Read more).
By Liam Dillon, Ben Poston, Julia Barajas
Three years after his release from prison following a cocaine dealing conviction, Terrance Stewart was accepted to UC Riverside and began searching for a place to live near campus with his wife and 3-month-old daughter.
He couldn’t find one. Facing rejection after rejection, Stewart started to realize that posted around the apartment complexes he visited were gray signs with the stenciled outlines of three homes. The logos, he later learned, meant those landlords took part in a police program that trains them how to refuse tenants with criminal histories (Read more).
KCUR | By Nomin Ujiyediin
Medical experts say social inequality and racism in medicine can be deadly for Black infants, mothers and families.
Black and Native American babies in Kansas die at almost twice the rate as white infants in their first year of life.
Out of every 1,000 live births, 11.8 Black and 10.4 Native American babies die before their first birthdays in Kansas. Meanwhile, only 5.6 out of every 1,000 white babies die in that period (Read more).
By Dr. Gail C. Christopher
National Collaborative for Health Equity
“On this day of service and reflection, the greatest service we can render as individuals and collectively is to commit to ending racism. We have now all witnessed the dangerous and destructive consequences of believing in a false hierarchy of human value, indeed of human lives. The lie of racial hierarchy and its many associated false narratives were laid bare recently. This nation’s symbolic place and institutional processes of democratic governance were violated with reckless, but determined abandon. We are still reeling from the shock and humiliation in our hearts and bodies and in the eyes of the global community.
“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed we would get to the Promised Land. I believe that, too. But we must commit to the necessary work before realizing his vision, his dream. Not enough Americans share Dr. King’s Dream and far too few are willing to labor to bring it into reality. Overcoming and healing from racism requires focus, intention and disciplined effort. Most public health leaders know that defeating the Covid-19 pandemic requires communal effort.
“Our individual choices and decisions shape our collective realities and structures of normality. Many public health leaders have recently asserted that racism is a twin pandemic, a lethal public health crisis. This level of increased awareness is good news. It is time that we view the work of ending racism as a communal effort, too. The beliefs we hold about ourselves and others drive our thoughts, feelings decisions and actions. Critical actions like voting, engaging law enforcement, hiring or firing, providing opportunity or rendering medical treatment, enforcing health and safety codes and college admissions are a few illustrations of decision points that can be shaped by our levels of racism.
“Our beliefs are shaped by our lived experiences beginning in childhood. Democracy cannot translate into equity until we jettison permission to devalue people based on an antiquated taxonomy of humanity. America’s most deeply enshrined racist ideology will keep showing up within systems and policies, institutional cultures and structures of opportunity and in the communications tools of this era, mainstream and social media, until we deliberately and permanently eliminate the ideology. Algorithms will also embody and perpetuate the lies and patterns of racial hierarchy via technology and artificial intelligence without immediate intervention to stop the spread.
“Dr. King knew the protests and marches were means to an end: the creation of the Beloved Community. We also need the skills and capacities required for civility, empathy, compassion and perspective-taking. These skills are developed through effective racial healing, truth telling, trust building and transformation efforts. This is the vaccine needed for the pandemic of racism and it too will require a massive mobilization effort in response to the fierce urgency of then and now.”
PDF Version: MLK Day Statement
(CNN)Black children were six times more likely to be shot to death by the police than their White peers over a 16-year period, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics that offers support for a disparity long-highlighted by activists.
By Kirk Carapezza
This is part two of a two-part series on higher education and minority contracting. The read or listen to the first part here.
As the first chief procurement officer of the University of Massachusetts, David Cho centralized spending across the system’s five campuses, giving him the opportunity to analyze the diversity of its vendors.
What Cho found in that data earlier this year was admittedly not great. Like most schools, UMass has long said it’s committed to diversity and inclusion, but out of its $1 billion budget, UMass spends 2 percent on businesses owned by people of color (Read more).
“The antidote to feel-good history is not feel-bad history, but honest and inclusive history,” sociologist James W. Loewen writes in “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong.”
The feel-good history most of us have learned about Thanksgiving depicts grateful Pilgrims breaking bread with Indigenous people. The honest, inclusive truth is a lot more complicated than that. Indeed, so much of Indigenous peoples’ history is a footnote in textbooks: the forced relocation to reservations and the territorial land-grab by European settlers, the nationwide genocide of Native people and the ongoing ramifications of that history for them today (Read more).
By Jeannie Stone (dallasnews.com)
Words have great power. It’s something I’ve known since my earliest days as a high school English teacher. Now, in my fourth year as superintendent of the Richardson Independent School District, I’ve witnessed firsthand how the words I choose can inspire, enrage, injure and uplift in equal measure. Sometimes it all happens in response to the same phrase.
In 2017, our district made national news for a terrible reason: a spate of abhorrent, racist memes ahead of a rivalry football game. We moved quickly to investigate and address the incident, but what went unexamined at the time was how the legacy of segregation in our district created the conditions in which students from a largely white school could feel comfortable disparaging students of another school within their own district largely comprised of students of color (Read more).