Vice President Kamala Harris said Thursday in an exclusive interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she did not think the United States was a “racist country” but that it was important to “speak the truth” about the role racism has played in the nation’s history.
Harris, the first Black vice president, was responding to GOP Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who on Wednesday night delivered the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress.
Scott, the only Black Republican senator, said “America is not a racist country” and took issue with what he called fighting “discrimination with different types of discrimination” and trying “to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”
“No, I don’t think America is a racist country,” Harris told “Good Morning America” co-anchor George Stephanopoulos. “But we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today.”
The vice president said that “we want to unify the country, but not without speaking truth and requiring accountability, as appropriate.”
“These are issues that we must confront, and it doesn’t–it does not help to heal our country to unify us as a people to ignore the realities of that,” she said.
The vice president praised Biden for calling white supremacy terrorism in his speech and noting U.S. intelligence agencies have determined it to be “the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today.”
During her interview with “Good Morning America,” Harris also addressed the Biden administration’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.
Asked by Stephanopoulos how much the White House was willing to compromise with Republicans, who are widely opposed to Biden’s expansive package and the president’s ideas about how to pay for it, Harris would not say.
Read the complete article at: ABC News
The national mental health crisis line is developing an initiative to address anti-Black racism and determine how to best support Black youth who call in due to distress from racism and discrimination.
The initiative, named RiseUp, is funded with the help of Tangerine Bank’s investment platform, Project Forward. The money will be used to conduct an internal analysis of Kids Help Phone to evaluate everything from hiring practices that could see more Black counsellors join the crisis line, to how Black youth calling in for support are helped. It also includes the development of new training on anti-Black racism for all Kids Help Phone staff, coming in October.
A new manager has been hired to oversee this development, said Deanna Dunham, the director of the Indigenous Initiatives and Equity Programs at Kids Help Phone, which have been used as a model for the crisis line’s Black youth initiative. A permanent advisory council of Black youth leaders will also be created to support RiseUp, Dunham said.
“We’ve had a lot of success with our Indigenous youth strategy, and we’re seeing the impact we can have on marginalized communities and youth who need our support,” Dunham said.
The goal, Dunham added, is to best support an increasing number of Black youth contacting Kids Help Phone after experiencing distress from racism and discrimination.
Last May and June, during the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Kids Help Phone received double the number of usual calls related to racism, Dunham said. Racism is the second-leading cause of distress among youth calling, behind youth who are fearing abuse from someone in the home.
Read the complete article at: Orillia Matters
As our community continues to reel from the killings of George Floyd and Daunte Wright, another crisis is making headlines. Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared racism a “serious public health threat.” Referring to the disproportionate number of COVID-19 deaths in Black communities, the CDC blamed structural racism for such adverse health outcomes. Of course, the pandemic didn’t create these disproportionate rates of disease and premature death; it merely shone a light on them.
For decades, American racism has constructed countless barriers that determine where people of color live, work, and play. Housing discrimination, which has kept Black families out of more desirable neighborhoods, has profoundly impacted health outcomes. The 1930’s racist practice of redlining (deeming Black neighborhoods “hazardous” by circling them in red on city maps) kept housing segregation in place and stunted African Americans’ opportunities to accumulate and pass on generational wealth.
While redlining is now illegal, many of these same communities still struggle in poverty. Most historically redlined neighborhoods remain low-income and lack the amenities of wealthier areas, such as access to green spaces, walkable paths, and healthy foods. The concentrated poverty in redlined areas deters grocery stores from entering these neighborhoods, creating food deserts that leave many Black families without fresh fruits and vegetables.
Culturally sensitive, quality health care also remains elusive in many Black areas. Practitioner understanding of the many consequences of redlining is often missing. For example, redlined neighborhoods have higher infant mortality rates, and up to 40 percent of babies born in these areas are premature. When looking at a map of Minneapolis neighborhoods, infant mortality rates match up almost precisely with these communities. Without this knowledge, medical professionals can lack empathy for a patient’s individual experiences and miss essential pieces of the puzzle.
Read the complete article at: Mpls St Paul
Public Health Threat
President Biden said the conviction of a former Minneapolis police officer in the killing of George Floyd is a “giant step forward in the march toward justice in America,” but said the nation needed to stamp out systemic racism.
Mr. Biden, in a Tuesday night address from the White House hours after a jury convicted Derek Chauvin on all three counts against him, said most members of law enforcement “serve their communities honorably.” However, he added, “no one should be above the law, and today’s verdict sends that message. But it’s not enough. We can’t stop here.”
Mr. Biden, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, invoked the final words of Mr. Floyd, a Black man who died after the police officer pressed his knee against Mr. Floyd’s neck for several minutes. The incident was captured on video that went viral, leading to widespread protests last year.
“‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’ Those are George Floyd’s last words. We can’t let those words die with him,” Mr. Biden said. “We have to keep hearing those words. We must not turn away, we can’t turn away. We have a chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country.”
During the three-week trial, prosecutors sought to prove that Mr. Chauvin, who is white, acted recklessly when he knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, killing him. The defense countered that Mr. Chauvin was reasonably restraining Mr. Floyd, a Black man, when he died of a sudden heart attack fueled by clogged arteries and drugs.
Read the complete article at: The Wall Street Journal
A state lawmaker who represents the city’s West Side introduced legislation Monday that would require all police officers in Illinois to be schooled on the intersection of law, race and racism in the hopes of teaching officers “the culture and the lifestyles of different communities and people.”
“If we want to change the behavior of police, we have to educate them,” state Rep. La Shawn Ford said.
The West Side Democrat said requiring officers to be taught critical race theory is about “tackling racism” and “becoming aware of our very own shortcomings and ignorance about our peers.”
But the head of the Chicago union for rank-and-file police officers said the bill is “redundant and ridiculous.”
“They’re going to get officers killed with this constant nonsense of ‘race, race, race,’’’ said John Catanzara Jr., the president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police. “You’re gonna have people so paranoid to do their job they’re going to be worried about race more than they’re worried about reacting to a threat.”
The legislation, which Ford filed Monday, would amend the state’s police training law and create a “critical race theory academy” comprised of members ranging from scholars to sociologists and community organizers who are experts in the theory, as well as members of the General Assembly and law enforcement officers.
Working together, they would draft the curriculum for the academy, which would be attended by police academy candidates and officers already serving.
The potential list of topics includes courses on procedural justice, arrest and use and control tactics, search and seizure, cultural competency — including implicit bias and racial and ethnic sensitivity — and constitutional and proper use of law enforcement authority.
Critical race theory has been defined by the American Bar Association as a critique on how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system — one that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers because of the lasting effects of the legacy of slavery and segregation on Black people as well as other people of color.
Read the complete article at: Chicago Sun Time
The COVID-19 pandemic affects us all, but it has taken an especially severe toll on Black and Hispanic state residents, magnifying inequities that have long produced worse health outcomes for people of color.
This reality has led to many policy proposals to address health inequities, as well as conversations that center on the role of racism in producing disparate health outcomes. In response, some have asked why focus on race or racism, rather than other factors, such as income, education, or geography.
As the leader of a foundation focused on health equity, I hear these questions often, and I would like to offer some answers.
First, why focus on race?
It’s important to understand that even controlling for income, education, and other factors, people of color face worse health outcomes than their white counterparts. For example, a Black woman with a college degree or higher is 1.6 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than a white woman without a high school diploma. While other factors, such as income, play a role in health, we will not achieve equitable outcomes if we do not address race.
People often assume there could be genetic differences behind these disparities. While genetics contribute to some conditions, such as sickle cell anemia, there is no genetic explanation for the racial and ethnic disparities we see in conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, infant mortality, and adverse maternal outcomes.
So what causes worse health outcomes for people of color?
There are several explanations, both within the health care system and outside of it.
Research shows that Black and Hispanic patients receive less aggressive treatment than white patients. One study found that Hispanic patients were half as likely to be given pain medication in the emergency room when they had a broken bone. Another study of pediatric patients with appendicitis found that Black children and teens were significantly less likely to be given opioids to treat pain.
Read the complete article at: CT Mirror
In the wake of nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer, calls for racial equity led to changes in workplaces, neighborhoods and schools, including Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, an independent Catholic girls school in Miami’s Coconut Grove.
Ahead of the current school year, the school took note of complaints about its culture, adopting an inclusion policy and an amended mission statement to include a commitment to denouncing discrimination and tackling structures that perpetuate racism.
But the steps the school took led to a backlash: More than 150 parents and alumni — including former Florida House Speaker José Oliva and Coral Gables Vice Mayor Vince Lago — signed an 11-page letter addressed to Carrollton administrators and board members stating that the school’s efforts to address racism were incompatible with its Catholic foundation.
“What we are seeing time and again is that what is being shared in Carrollton classrooms is, at the very least, controversial political rhetoric and often extends to anti-Catholic indoctrination,” states the Oct. 23 letter, which began to circulate in recent weeks and was shared with the Miami Herald.
The tension between the school’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the pushback from parents comes as Miami grapples with issues of racism, religion and a deep-seated belief among a wide swath of Miami that the ongoing movement for racial equity is rooted in socialist teachings.
Echoing a conservative viewpoint, the letter stated that phrases such as “systemic racism” and “racial equality” stem from critical race theory, a philosophical offshoot of a German school with a foundation in Marxism. The letter also says students who express Catholic viewpoints on abortion and euthanasia, among other topics, are “targeted and ostracized” by their teachers.
Read the complete article at: Miami Herald
An Asian American woman who was attacked in downtown San Francisco last week will donate nearly $1 million to combat racism against Asians, according to her grandson.
The 75-year-old woman, Xiao Zhen Xie, is recovering after the brutal attack last week, which left her with two swollen and bleeding black eyes. The money comes from an online fundraiser her grandson, John Chen, organized to pay her medical bills.
San Francisco police said 39-year-old Steven Jenkins struck Xie, unprovoked, at 7th and Market streets on March 17.
KPIX-TV Channel 5 reported that Xie defended herself by punching her attacker. Videos showed the woman on a street corner with a bruised face as the attacker lay on a stretcher.
Read the complete article at: Los Angeles Times