April 11, 2024


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Juneteenth: are we free in each means?

Juneteenth: are we free in each means?

By Mylika Scatliffe,
AFRO Ladies’s Well being Author

Juneteenth is a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth” commemorating the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that 1000’s of African Individuals in Texas had been emancipated from slavery. The announcement, made on June 19, 1865, got here two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in the course of the Civil Conflict, subsequently ignored by the Accomplice States, and never enforced within the South till the tip of the battle.

Anybody with even a passing information of the historical past of Black individuals in America is aware of that the “freedom” granted by the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t precisely translate to the established definition of freedom. 

The Oxford dictionary definition of freedom is “the state of with the ability to act with out hindrance or restraint; liberty of motion.”  Black individuals are not pressured to toil beneath harsh circumstances solely for the financial good thing about Whites- however practically two centuries later there are nonetheless every day struggles for equality and the sensation to be actually free.  Inequities– particularly when measured towards the lives of White individuals– contact virtually each facet of African-American lives.

The present wrestle for generational well being

A few of the most persistent legacies of American slavery for African Individuals is the systemic and chronic racial inequalities in well being care. These inequalities contact all points of well being care together with maternal and baby well being outcomes. 

  • In accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), African Individuals aged 35-64 years outdated are 50 p.c extra prone to have a hypertension than Whites.
  • The CDC studies that there are 700 deaths throughout being pregnant every year, and that “Black girls are 3 times extra prone to die from a pregnancy-related trigger than White girls.”
  • In accordance with the American Most cancers Society, “Black individuals have the best loss of life price and shortest survival of any racial/ethnic group in the USA for many cancers. For instance, Black girls are 41 p.c extra prone to die from breast most cancers than White girls, regardless of decrease incidence of the illness.”
  • The “threat of getting a primary stroke is almost twice as excessive for Blacks as for Whites, and Blacks have the best price of loss of life as a consequence of stroke,” in accordance with the CDC, which studies that “yearly, greater than 795,000 individuals in the USA have a stroke.”

Kenneth and Teresa Reed are the homeowners of Match For Life Private Coaching in Pikesville, Md. They’ve made it their mission to coach their purchasers about wholesome consuming and health to fight historic inequities within the Black neighborhood.  One in all their mottos is “You possibly can’t out-train a foul weight loss plan.” 

Teresa Reed, 67, was motivated to get match after seeing her father, each grandparents, aunt and uncle all develop diabetes and ultimately move away from Alzheimer’s illness earlier than age 70. 

“My father found he was diabetic at age 40.  Coronary heart illness runs in my mom’s aspect of the household, and I didn’t need that for myself,” mentioned Teresa.  

“We as a neighborhood have to assume in a different way. We don’t have to simply accept that we’ll be diabetic and have hypertension simply because our mother and father did,” mentioned Kenny.  The 62-year-old made it his mission to get wholesome and educate others to get wholesome and match as soon as he found how a lot more healthy he felt as soon as he gave up the harmful habits of medicine and alcohol. 

The Reeds are obsessed with passing on data to their purchasers that can profit everybody’s health- particularly on the subject of the dinner desk.

“We as Black individuals like to cook dinner out on the grill;  I didn’t know that elevated our publicity to carcinogens when carried out regularly, [which] will increase the chance of growing sure sorts of most cancers,” mentioned Kenny. 

Immediately, they warn Black Individuals of the hazards of “soul meals,” which originated in chattel slavery when Black Individuals had low-quality options- reminiscent of pigfeet and chitlins. 

Although Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, many African Individuals are nonetheless certain by insurance policies that lower high quality of life and assist well being disparities abound. (Picture by Eyasu Etsub on Unsplash)

Meals deserts and the wrestle for wholesome meals choices

“Meals deserts” are outlined by the USDA as an space the place a 3rd of the inhabitants lies higher than one mile from a grocery store in city areas and higher than 10 miles in rural areas.  

Throughout the Nice Migration, many Black Individuals left the southern United States for northern cities like Baltimore, Chicago and Detroit.  As a result of White individuals stereotyped Black individuals as soiled, poverty-stricken and criminals they fled to the suburbs, as a part of the phenomenon often known as “White flight.” 

White flight affected grocery retailer presence within the neighborhoods the place Black individuals remained.  Giant grocery shops, believing the identical stereotypes about African Individuals, noticed White neighborhoods as higher areas for higher revenue and left neighborhoods with giant African-American populations.  

Many individuals in these neighborhoods might not have automobiles to journey to entry shops that promote contemporary and wholesome meals. Whereas grocery shops could also be scarce, quick meals, bodegas and liquor shops are in abundance in poor, largely African-American neighborhoods. The shortage of wholesome meals decisions ends in African Individuals having greater charges of continual and considerably preventable ailments together with hypertension, diabetes, weight problems and sure forms of most cancers.

Environmental justice and the wrestle for wholesome dwelling areas

Increasingly more Individuals are seeing the dialog round environmental justice develop louder. In accordance with the Environmental Safety Company (EPA), will solely be achieved as soon as all Individuals can “get pleasure from the identical diploma of safety from environmental and well being hazards” and have “equal entry to the decision-making course of to have a wholesome atmosphere during which to reside, study, and work.”

The repercussions of red-lining practices and centuries of being pressured to reside within the harshest of conditions- subsequent to factories and areas with excessive pollution- have lengthy begun to point out up within the well being studies of Black Individuals.  

In accordance with the EPA, “the burdens of bronchial asthma fall extra closely on Black youngsters” partially as a consequence of  “entry to well being care, and publicity to environmental triggers.” The EPA studies that “Black youngsters are twice as prone to be hospitalized for bronchial asthma and are 4 occasions as prone to die from bronchial asthma as White youngsters.”

Black youngsters are additionally bearing the brunt of inequities within the high quality of housing. 

In accordance with the CDC, “between 1999 and 2004, Black youngsters have been 1.6 occasions extra prone to check optimistic for lead of their blood than White youngsters.”

Lead poisoning results embody “lasting neuropsychological deficits in consideration, conduct, cognition, intelligence, and reminiscence,” in accordance with a report revealed by the Nationwide Library of Drugs. Youngsters uncovered to “higher publicity throughout early childhood later ends in decreased mind quantity in maturity.”

Nonetheless immediately, African Individuals are combating the results of lead paint. Although extremely publicized and rapidly forgotten in Flint, Mich., lead pipes are nonetheless affecting water high quality in Black properties throughout the nation.

Juneteenth might have ushered out slavery, however Black Individuals are nonetheless combating a bunch of inequalities. Eliminating racial disparities at each flip. True freedom mandates a deliberate long-term focus, simply as deliberate because the insurance policies which have developed the disparities over the previous few centuries.

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