Oakland’s health disparities in black and white: a real townhall meeting

On Tuesday, May 18, 2010, the Oakland branch of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) hosted a forum entitled “Oakland’s Health Disparities in Black and White.”
The forum brought members of the health industry and the African community together to address the “toxic mixture of conditions such as poverty, pollution, poor education, substandard housing, a shortage of grocery stores, cheap fast food, violence, unemployment and racism [that] combine to make people sick.”
This quote is from a comprehensive 166-page document produced by the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) entitled “Life and Death From Unnatural Causes: Health and Social Inequity in Alameda County.” (http://www.acphd.org/AXBYCZ/Admin/DataReports/00_2008_full_report.pdf)
Dr. Muntu Davis of the ACPHD gave a brief multimedia presentation of this document to the well-attended forum. He presented hard data documenting the inequities that lead the average African person born in West Oakland to “expect to die almost 15 years earlier than a white person born in the Oakland Hills.”
Emcee Joel Hamburger and APEDF president Ironiff Ifoma (via video presentation), provided the overview and context for the forum. They brought out a few of the many injustices that specifically affect African people, such as the need for economic development as opposed to police and prisons, anti-black predatory bank lending and the necessity for community controlled schools.
Maureen Wagener of the African People’s Solidarity Committee presented on how six hundred years of slavery, Jim Crow laws and colonial domination of African people has formed the roots of these indefensible inequities, which contribute to the poor health of African people.
Two dynamic young organizers, Nyisha Moncrease and Tamika Phillips, applied their immeasurable talents and enthusiasm to building this successful forum.
Nyisha gave an uplifting presentation about the need for African people to unite and reclaim ownership of nutrition and self-worth (among other things) in order to fight and transform the health of the community.
The forum participants were mobilized to take action! They donated generously to the new commercial kitchen being built by APEDF in St. Petersburg, Florida.
A lively question and answer session followed.
Many participants signed on to help build a Wellness Festival in October. We have already held our first planning meeting, and you can join the process by calling Joel at 510-763-3342.

APEDF is leading the transformation of the conditions of the African community and a vision toward a better future for us all. Come be a part of it.


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