Tag Archives: Blog Post 4 – Exercising Public Voice

Black women and Health Care

A couple semesters ago I did a research paper about the unconscious biases Black women face in business. I read through numerous sources and along the way found some alarming statistics about the level of care black women receive compared to women of other races

What is the problem?

As I mentioned before, there are disparities in healthcare for Black women that directly cause poor health outcomes and a higher maternal mortality rate.

There are many statistics that also support these claims. One issue is that Black women are underrepresented in clinical trials along with biomedical research datasets. Along with these we see that according to the Black Women’s Health Imperative, “Black women are 60% more likely than non-Hispanic white women to have high blood pressure, according to the Office of Minority Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.” However, some of the most alarming statistics are related to the reproductive health of Black women. Research shows that “Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications and 3-4 times more likely to suffer from severe disability resulting from childbirth compared to White women.” These are just a few of the disparities in health that Black women face and many of this issues are not being addressed.

What needs to change?

There are numerous changes that need to be made in order to address these health disparities, but I will highlight a few that I found to be incredibly important for the health of Black women.

  1. Many organizations agree that healthcare professionals should all receive high levels of anti-racism and implicit bias training in medical school. Along with this, state licensing boards and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology should be taking the initiative to address these issues.

2.There also needs to be expanded access to quality, patient centered reproductive health care. Since this is one of the biggest disparities that Black women deal with, there should be a strong focus on making this type of health care accessible.

3.It has also been suggested by Piraye Beim from the Endometriosis Foundation of America that “The FDA should update its policies guiding clinical trial enrollment to better incentivize drug companies to increase enrollment of black clinical trial participants. The NIH should also revisit policies and incentives to expand research and address data disparities for People of Color.” In order to understand more about how medications and procedures affect Black women, there needs to be more involvement in trial testing.

If you are interested as a individual in how you can help this cause, there are also organization’s such as the Black Women’s Health Imperative that provide resources on how you can be involved and make changes. I have linked below how you can take action and I encourage you to read more the issues they are tackling

How Do We Get Back to Normal?

Dawn Edwardson, MDST 485, Post #4, Type #4

https://www.instagram.com/p/COOMbHVpgJV/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

We, as a society, want to get back to normal. We want to do the things we used to do, the way we used to do them. This includes not wearing face masks as we enter any indoor space where people come together such as the grocery store, restaurants etc. Many people are fine with riding this whole corona virus epidemic out via mask wearing and they’re holding on to hope of heard immunity via the massive vaccine campaigns. I’m mainly supportive of the thought that we are living in a pandemic and extra precautions are necessary and need to be a part of daily life in order to stay well. I must admit however, that there are many things that are not making entire sense to me such as, masking required to enter and exit a restaurant/brewery/bar but you can readily remove your mask for the entirety of your time as long as remaining seated.  And social distancing while moving through the airport but not once on the plane? And on the plane, you breathe in recycled air the duration of your flight. And then there’s contact sports…players need to wear their masks while on the sideline or bench but not while they’re actively playing in the game?

In her article, It’s Time to Get Back to Normal, Victoria Knight from khn.org (Kaiser Health News) shares some of the science behind the current recommendations related to Covid. She begins her article by debunking a Facebook and blog post by conservative radio show host Buck Sexton in which he makes false statements related to science indicating schools need to be re-opened, no facemasks outside, and low risk individuals should start living normal lives. Knight shares the current stance from public health experts, based on science, in three key areas: opening schools, discontinuing mask wearing outside, and low risk individuals should start living normal lives.

What I glean from her article is that we, as a society, would benefit from letting scientific data inform our thoughts and actions throughout the entirety of the pandemic, as related to Covid, just as we do for all other health related issues. I think it is so challenging for many of us because this is new, and we’re not used to it. It doesn’t help that we had a president that was absolute loose cannon, in my opinion, trying to poke holes in scientific data to push the country back into getting the economy up and running again. I understand the rationale on this; however, his approach was less than professional. He was semi effective at getting a large portion of the population to push back against the advice of public health officials. Not a good strategy during a health crisis.

People with Disabilities Should be Paid (at least) Minimum Wage

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed to prohibit discrimination based on disability. However, there are loopholes that some taken advantage of. I want to specifically mention the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA provided employers with the opportunity to fill out the 14 (c) certificate which allows them to pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for the employment of certain individuals at wage rates below the minimum wage. These individuals include student-learners (vocational education students), as well as full-time students employed by retail or service establishments, agriculture, or institutions of higher education. Also included are individuals whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those related to age or injury, for the work to be performed.

I do not believe in paying anyone less than minimum wage. It is not unusual to request equal pay for doing the same job. For example, 18.0 percent of people with a disability were employed in the service industry in 2020 compared with 15.4 percent of people without a disability. They may have been more likely; however, the service industry is where many people find employment. You probably either work or have worked in the service industry or someone you know has.

A few points to consider are, people with disabilities often have more day-to-day expenses than people without disabilities. Additionally, costs of healthcare are typically more expensive. Of course, all costs are dependent on the persons needs. Yet, on average, a household with an adult with a disability spends $17,690 more each year than a household without to achieve the same standard of living.

There are policies and legislation in place to try and mitigate the costs, however, according to research conducted by the National Disability Institute, “Whatever the measure of poverty that is used, individuals with disabilities are more likely to be poor than their nondisabled peers.” This implies that current policies and legislation are not effective. The first inch towards the first step is paying people with disabilities a livable wage.

Finally, people with disabilities deserve the opportunity for a dignified and productive life. They are less likely to be employed, yet, still they’re more likely to be working when they’re 65 or older. Everyone should have access to the tools they need to live comfortably. This has just been an entry level discussion of this issue. I highly encourage all of us to continue learning about this issue and support policy makers that prioritize people with disabilities.

You can use go to this link HERE to see which businesses applied for the 14 (c) certificate. If you see a business that you support on that list, consider reaching out and requesting they do not apply in the future or finding an alternative that pays all their employees a fair wage. I recognize that sometimes that will not be possible because of proximity or other barriers. However, I still urge you to check and then just think about other possible ways we can help people achieve equity.

Why Mental Health is important

Mental health is something that’s rather taboo to talk about these days. what is mental health? mental health is ” includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It effects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. theirs so many way to know if someone you know, or you yourself are going through mental health symptoms such as ” eating or sleeping too much or too little Pulling away from people and usual activities Having low or no energy Feeling numb or like nothing matters,Having unexplained aches and pain”. during first part of quarantine there were a lot of people going through mental health problems. being stuck at home cant do anything cant go to work cant go to the gym to refresh your mind, it was something that effected people differently. the feelings of being isolated and being lonely can cause major stress on yourself. I myself suffer with mental health and when covid first hit and we had to go on lock down, at first it was easy and okay and i was making the best of it. but then it really took a toll on my well being and i really wanted to get out of the house being stuck in my room with all of those lingering thoughts in my head was effecting me badly. i realized i relied on peoples positivist to make me feel better about my self i couldn’t do it on my own. saying you suffer from mental health can be a huge things for people just because people may not know how to handle that . here’s a link on ways you can help someone who suffers from mental health! https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health. it was very wonderful to see all the helpful tips. I wish I knew about these tips before.

also heres another way to cope with stress of mental health.

The Parenting Power Struggle With Technology & Learning How To Manage It

Technology has given us way more than just a more connected world. 

People Are Losing Themselves Every Day To The Internet

On March 26, 2021, a young 28-year old woman left home without her car, keys, wallet, ID, or cell phone. She was found dead, presumably having jumped in front of an Amtrak train after battling with years of depression.

She had 82,000 followers on Instagram and traveled the world as an influencer, a career millions of teens dream of.

This kind of thing happens every day.

We just don’t hear about it because it doesn’t always happen to people who are in the spotlight.

This is a problem. 

Technology & Media Are All-Consuming

COVID-19 literally forced our kids to be dependent on their devices. From the moment they wake up in the morning and turn on the TV to enjoy some cartoons with their breakfast, to the minute they sign on to their Zoom meeting, and then when it’s time to take a break, they’re switching over to a game on their devices.  

It’s terrifying how dependent our children have become. 

We Don’t Know What To Do Without It

Without even realizing it, we as parents have become addicted to our devices. So much that when we lose or misplace them, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. 

I’ve heard it many times before. I don’t know what I’d do without my phone. And when we do, we feel out of touch—out of sorts. Like we’re missing everything that’s going on in the world.

It’s dangerous really, because we’re giving these inanimate objects complete control over how we function in our daily lives. And it’s only going to get worse. 

This is a learned behavior that we’re passing onto our children.  

The Power Struggle With Tech Needs To Stop

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. But it’s starting to interfere with the way some people parent. And I’ll be the first person to admit it. 

I, too, used to hand my phone off to my daughter when she was throwing a temper tantrum because it was easier than actually addressing the reason behind the tantrum. Pure laziness, which is why the millennial generation is earning such a bad reputation. 

We need to start being more attentive.

We need to stop letting technology influence our children.

We need to address these issues head on. 

Our children are learning that instead of coping with their emotions, they can just tune in to something else and forget the problem altogether. But this is helpful for no one. 

Children desperately need to be able to feel, and we need to give them a chance to do so. We’re not helping anybody by letting these moments get swept under the rug.

It’s absolutely the reason we hear more and more parents complain about their kid’s behavior and increase in gaming addictions. But we can’t blame them because we’ve never taught our child how to use tech responsibly because we’re still learning how to do it on our own.

We Have To Find A Balance

It starts with us. The parents. I don’t ever want my daughter to think that anything on a device is more important than her, as I’m sure most parents would agree.

We need to teach our children when it’s OK to use technology and when it’s time to step back, and more importantly, recognizing when and why they need to do so.

Helpful Tips: 

  1. Have a conversation with your family about technology and the role that it plays in their lives. This is a great time to explain the pros and cons, and to let everyone voice their opinion. There is no right or wrong, the point is to get everything out in the open before laying down the ground rules. 
  1. Set specific times that children can be online. Before dinner is a great place to start because it gives you the quiet time you need to get everything on the table, and it usually doesn’t take more than an hour or so, which is plenty of time for kids to be watching TV or using the Internet. Use the time after dinner to do something together as a family that DOES NOT involve technology. Play a game, read a book, do a craft, take a walk… the possibilities are endless. 
  1. Be consistent. I need to start taking my own advice on this one, but it’s pretty much the icing on top of the cake. Once you’ve put your plan in place you must stick to it. Kids need to know that what you say is going to happen is actually going to happen, or else they start to take advantage of it. And that my friend, is a much larger problem with a much longer road to recovery that you DO NOT want to embark on.  

Kids will remember the effort whether they like it now or not. In the end, it will help them become a much more enjoyable human being to be around, and they’ll thank you someday. 

A “Second-Hand” Convert, and Why You Should be Too!

I love buying used items. The feeling of finding something that is completely original, allows me to express myself, and can be creatively integrated with other items in my home brings me SO much joy. Plus, searching for the hidden gems is half the fun!  

Even if I didn’t personally benefit from thrifting, (monetarily, creatively, or as a hobby) I’d be heavily persuaded by the impact our shopping as on the environment. As many of us try to be more conscious about our waste, I encourage you to be thinking about your textile waste as well, because according to this source on the matter,  

The volume of clothing Americans throw away each year has doubled in the last 20 years, from 7 million to 14 million tons. 

This is why I firmly believe in purchasing 90% of my wardrobe and home goods through second-hand sources. Through vintage stores, thrift-shops, consignments, or even Buy Nothing groups, the options are endless to get new-to-you items as well as guarantee your retired items have a better shot of a continued life than wasting away for 200+ years in a landfill.  

Avoid the fast fashion brain wash 

Through my experience shopping second hand, I’ve learned that a lot of us are brainwashed by the fast fashion market, told that it’s normal to be consuming at such a high rate. It’s not. Told that because the individual items are “cheap” that spending over $100 to get free shipping is a great deal. It’s not. We’re being sold this lie because it’s both beneficial to these brands and fits into our existing image-conscious culture, but no longer can we continue to ignore the negative effects happening as a result of us acting on this lie. 

At this point, I’m such a second-hand convert that I have been largely turned off from shopping online or at retail stores. How someone can continue to shop at Boohoo (owner of brands like Pretty Little Thing and Nasty gal) while they are riddled with controversies of modern slavery or operating through Coronavirus outbreaks and lockdown is beyond me. 

The Benefits Roll in 

Let’s face it, we are likely all already conscious of the fact that as a culture, we spend too much on too many things. So, I’ll leave you with more benefits of thrifting for the most important person in your life, you! 

  • $$$– Brands have begun to donate their excess items to avoid waste, which means you can actually find many new items with tags still on, for a quarter of the price. We’ve spent most of our life justifying these excess purchases but don’t worry, you’ll find ways to spend all that saved money. 
  • Adapting the Trends– Clothing always comes in cycles, meaning the resurgence we are currently seeing of the 90’s or the 70’s have been, and will continue to be, found in thrift stores! We tend to think we need to keep up with the latest style (thanks to the fast fashion brainwashing), and the good news is that you can recreate these styles from quality items that have already shown they are lasting.  
  • No more Matchy-Matchy – Literally never again will you show up to an event with the same purse, jacket, shoes, dress, as anyone else. If you take pride in being a unique individual, this is for you! 
  • Evolution– You will truly see your creativity and style evolve. When you buy the things that fast fashion is telling you to, you’re accepting a given narrative and style being actively sold to you. When you search second hand, you force yourself to think consciously about your style and your body. 

End SARS in Lagos Nigeria

A protester poses with a banner reading “End SARS” at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos, Nigeria, on Oct. 18. Nelly Ating for Foreign Policy

WHAT IS END SARS?

If you are unfamiliar with SARS it stands for Special Anti Robbery Squad. This is a Nigerian police squad that has been known for their corruption and brutality on the civilans of Lagos, Nigeria. There have been recent protests due to the harassment and brutality of these police force. They do things such as harass, extort , attack and profile young men who dress well and drive nice cars because they believe they are in gangs or are scammers. They also forcefully take the money of the people of Lagos as well as rape women of all ages and kill innocent people on the street including those who are protesters. And what does the government do? NOTHING! They sit back and watch as the crime continues to unfold. Maybe because they to are corrupted.

I am Nigerian, born and partially raised there, and although I’ve been in Sates since I was five years old that is still my home. My mom, grandmother, unties, cousins, uncles are still living in Nigeria; so this bring fear and pain to my heart to know that this madness is going on around them. It also makes my mind go crazy because here I am in the U.S watching police officers kill young innocent black males and protest fighting for justice as well as watching building get set on fire for justice! And here it is the same exact bullshit happing in my home land all the way across the fucking world! Its insane and its nerve-racking !

HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON?

From my understanding according to https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/endsars-nigeria-police-brutality-sars-lekki-protest/2020/10/22/27e31e0c-143d-11eb-a258-614acf2b906d_story.html SARS or the hashtag #ENDSARS has been going on since 2017 and has just recently surfaced in the U.S after getting more attention from both Nigerian and American celebrities. Not just them but Democratic nominee Joe Biden spoke on the issue as well stating “The United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end seeking to end corruption in their democracy” (Paquette).

WHEN WILL IT END?

When will it end? Not just SARS but police brutality in general? When you are trained in the police force you are trained to detain the threat, you are trained to not let the threat get back up, you are trained to KILL! Although I hate to say this and bring race into the issue but you are trained to kill a black person. Black people are trained to kill their own kind. Once you are Blue you pretty much have to choose, and that’s what the people of SARS have done. Furthermore, the police abuse their power. They get trigger happy or “panic. When will it end? I know not all police are dirty or bad, it the same way not all white are racist and not all blacks are thugs and are in gangs. BUT the system is dirty! The system was never designed to the black community to succeed or strive or prosper! It turns us against each other, it turns the outside world against us!

We have come a long way with the many people who have fought to change the injustice for the black community, and we still have more fighting to do for the black community so that history does not repeat itself. We can all be that change that is needed. By speaking up, doing research, listing, understanding, being empathetic, not being stereotyped the list goes on. Help #ENDSARS help #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY speak up and speak out!

Food for Thought

A few years ago, I took a World Religions class where we studied most of the world’s religions in depth. We started off with Islam moved into Judaism then onto Christianity and forward to Hinduism among several others. When we were reading about Hinduism, we read a little about Mahatma Gandhi. While reading about more about Gandhi I remember reading something about him saying that the world is full of suffering and if we can have a meal that will sustain us without adding more suffering into the world why wouldn’t we. While writing this I searched desperately to find the exact quote but could not. Now I’m wondering if I made part of it up and added some into it, I don’t know. But the point is the same. Humans do not need to eat meat to survive. We can have very full and flavorful meals any time of the day that are nutritious and just as delicious as meals containing meat.

I love this article by Abigail Geer 5 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Slaughter Animals for Food. I would love to convince everyone to become a vegan but not only would I be a hypocrite if I advocated that I also think that is a very large ask of someone who still eats meat. I drive a car with leather seats, I eat yogurt and use butter so I am not vegan myself. What I don’t do is eat meat, chicken, fish, or anything that was once alive.

My manager and I got on the subject of me not eating meat because where I work, they give out turkeys to all the employees for Thanksgiving every year (ugh). And she asked me if I didn’t eat animals for political reasons. I laughed because I thought it was such an odd reason for anyone to not eat animals but it also opened my eyes to the fact that there are many reasons people come up with for not eating meat. Mine has always been out of concern for the animals first. I’ve enjoyed the clear conscious and added environmental benefits that come along with it but I adore sentient beings and know they have a soul and if nothing else it’s been proven that they have feelings. So, if I can get full from a delicious meal and not kill anything in the process of doing it why wouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t I?

Most of the time it is the spices people add to meat that they enjoy. There are so many delicious meat alternatives, even local ones that are incredible like Herbivorous Butcher. Our teeth are made for grinding food not tearing flesh. There are numerous health benefits that are too long for me to even list when reducing meat intake. I guess the bottom line for me is, you don’t have to give up meat entirely if you don’t want to just enjoy it as a ‘treat’ for special occasions maybe not at every single meal.

Understanding Hunters and Their Contribution to Conservation

The hunting community often receives a lot of flak from the population due to the fact that it has been slowly becoming a controversial topic over the last century. As studies have begun to emerge regarding the benefits of a plant-based diet and animal cruelty, the anti-hunting community has been largely vocal in expressing the problems they find with hunters around the globe.

To offer an attempt to show just how much complexity is involved in the issue, here are some statistics regarding the role that sportsmen and women play in conservation:

  • With the purchase of a federal duck stamp, a necessity if one aims to hunt ducks in the US, ninety-eight cents of each dollar spent on the license go directly to funding programs that preserve and produce vital habitat for waterfowl in the country. To add perspective, the cost of a federal duck stamp is $25, meaning $24.50 goes directly into habitat conservation.
  • State-sold licenses account for roughly 75% of a state’s fish & wildlife budget.
  • Through taxes on equipment related to hunting and fishing (Firearms & ammunition, angling & archery equipment, for example) sportsmen and women have contributed over $20 billion to habitat conservation since 1937.

Much of the reason that great wildlife habitat still exists in the United States is due to the men and women hunters and anglers who respect and contribute to the lives of our animal population.

“In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Statistics found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

Blog Post 4- Exercising your public voice: making a case for a position

College cost has been one of the many long term issues that many student deals with. Many students are often told to go to school so they can afford a good job however, not many understand that a job can be landed after college but the high number of school debt doesn’t make the situation any better. The link below talks about the insanely increasing cost of college and what is it doing to college student.

https://www.heritage.org/education/heritage-explains/why-college-costs-are-out-control

It is no joke that many student want to attend higher education but due to the cost, it is stop many to attend. From the article, student are falling more and more into the trap of student loans with high interest and causing a high debt number at the end of college. It is stated that in-order for this increasing tuitions to stop we must stop the federal government with their loan businesses.

Actions:

As a college student, I couldn’t agree more that tuition are insanely increasing and it’s costing many to stop going to school. I, myself have many time considered of dropping out of college after I calculate the debt I will owe after I am done. It does not make sense to go to college and get a high debt number to just end up working to pay it off. The action I want to take on this is I want to form a petition of some sort or go on strike for tuitions to drop lower. Going on strike or sign a petition does not mean I am asking for higher education to be free but to be more reasonable for everyone. The link below here gives 5 great reasons to why college should be free.

https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/5-reasons-why-college-should-be-free/

My action is not to get college to be free as it will not have much meaning to education if its a easier getter. However with the article above the reason for free college make sense, therefore if we can at least lower the cost, our society can go far.

I believe in order for my action to work, I will need the hands of all students to join with me and make it happen.