Happy Holidays

I’m glad the Christmas holiday is over and the adult holiday (New Year’s Eve) will begin soon but until then I would like to kick off my shoes savor all my hard work in the event of Christmas and all that entails.  Women do a lot to make the season pop.

The McGhees
The McGhees

So, I have taken off my Santa hat, my magic wand is resting in my lap and the stress of the holidays is slowly ebbing into the distance.  In my family, we get together to share a delicious meal, play some games and just enjoy each others company.  I enjoy some members more than others.  Unfortunately, it won’t be long that everyday life will begin with the first work day after the holiday, whether it’s the next day or next week.  Until then, my feet are up, back on my meds on the regular and thinking how to incorporate walking into my plans for a healthy new year.

Happy Holidays!!

Black Infant Mortality Rate ……

Why is infant mortality rate among Blacks in Pittsburgh so high?

Unfortunately, your baby is more likely to die if you are Black and pregnant and live in Pittsburgh.  Yes, the Black infant mortality rate in Pittsburgh is 5 times more likely than whites.
What is the infant mortality rate and why is it important?  Infant mortality rate is defined as the number of infant deathspregnant (one year of age or younger) per 1000 live births.  If the child mortality rate is a true indicator of the health of a country, the new report then puts a serious question on the U.S. healthcare system.  Cuba has a better rating than the US.  Is it because Cuba is a socialist country?  Probably.
Black infant death has been happening for a while and there has been no concern.  The government has tried to solve the problem with a program here and a program there but when its time to cut budgets these are the programs that get cut
Here is excerpt from The New York Times, By Timothy Williams – Published: October 14, 2011
In Pittsburgh, where the unemployment rate is well below the national average, the infant mortality rate for black residents of Allegheny County was 20.7 in 2009, a slight decrease from 21 in 2000 but still worse than the rates in China or Mexico. In the same period the rate among whites in the county decreased to 4 from 5.6 — well below the national average, according to state statistics. Figures for the past two years, which are not yet available, have most likely increased the gap significantly, county health officials said.preemie

Now in 2012, the infant mortality rate is for Blacks is 13.1 double that of whites.  And, it doesn’t matter what your socio-economic background is.  Even affluent black women with college degrees are included in these statistics.  Age isn’t a factor either.  Black mothers across all range of child-bearing years are losing their babies.  Doctors are now pointing the finger at the one thing these women have in common. Race.

The following text is from an online site Roland Martin Reports:
In a 2007 study, researchers in Chicago compared infant birth weights of babies. Low birth weight is a key indicator of infant mortality and a newborn’s health. Infants born to white women had an average birth weight of 7.5 pounds. Infants born to African and Caribbean immigrants new to the United States had an average birth weight of 7.3 pounds. So, the average birth weight of babies in the two groups were nearly identical, but the same study found that babies born to the next generation — the daughters of black immigrants — had dropped to the same average weight as African-American children: about 6.8 pounds, almost a full pound lighter than white babies.
Doctors, at a loss to for a scientific explanation, now believe the everyday stress of being a black woman in a mostly white society is the cause. One researcher said constantly dealing with racism is like revving a car’s engine without easing up on the gas. The stress takes its toll in the lives of unborn children.

Does this mean that Pittsburgh is more racist than any other part of the United States?


A Need for a Comprehensive Continuum of
Support from Birth to Adulthood

Children and families do not come in pieces or neat packages that fit one or
another “program” or “strategy.” They are a complex amalgam of biological potential
and environmental realities, of culture and family and community role models, of
assets and risks. Analyzing causes and effects, and understanding the links among
all these factors, requires separating them into subject areas, systems or knowledge
areas. That is how data are gathered and kept, professionals are trained, programs
are funded, budgets are made and services administered. But we must not lose sight
of the whole child.

Like an insurance company’s actuarial chart, it is possible to predict from “risk
factors” the likelihood of a child ending up stuck in the Cradle to Prison Pipeline.
Much research and Cass’s and Curry’s case studies show major risk factors to be:

  •  poverty, especially extreme poverty;
  •  family composition where single parents, teenage parents, alcohol- or substance-abusing parents, a parent in prison, a parent abandoning the home—all predict increased delinquency;
  •  lack of health care, from prenatal care for pregnant women to preventive screening for children and youth of all ages to detect illnesses that block learning,hearing, seeing or concentrating;
  •  babies born at low birthweight, which is a risk factor for later physical, developmental and learning problems;
  •  abuse or neglect during childhood that goes unnoticed or untreated and fueled by poverty;
  •  foster care placements when families break down (especially in families not related to the children) risk abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation, low self-esteem, anger and poor social relationships;
  •  poor school quality where not reading at grade level, failing or acting out are met with police intervention, and suspensions or expulsions leading to dropping out altogether;
  •  few timely and quality mental health program interventions in communities to provide care in a timely manner to prevent or interrupt negative behavior or remediate problems causing children to get into trouble;
  •  the juvenile justice system which cements many children’s sense of hopelessness and offers too few positive programs, too late, to change the Pipeline’s trajectory;
  • and  throughout all these major risk factors is the disparate treatment of children of color.

Research also shows that if a child has one or a few of these risk factors, while
potentially harmful, there’s a good chance that the child’s resiliency and some intervention
by a teacher, a counselor, a mentor, a relative, a pastor or some other adult
offering encouragement, assistance and guidance can save that child from falling into or
staying in the Pipeline. CDF’s Beat the Odds celebrations of and scholarships for
children overcoming unbelievable obstacles attest to the power of one caring adult in
a child’s life. But a young child exposed to six or more of these risk factors is ten times
as likely to commit a violent act by age 18 as one who experiences only one or a few
risk factors. In a hospital nursery, behind the glass of newborns in 2001, that one in
three Black boy babies and one in six Latino boy babies will end up in the Pipeline
and in prison is a national tragedy. Unless it is addressed head on, it will disempower the
Black and Latino communities and undermine family stability and child socialization.
The challenge for each of us and for the nation is to prevent it—for preventable it is.

Cradle to Prison Pipeline

This is excerpts from the Children’s Defense Fund report “America’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline Report” that documents the intersection of poverty and race that puts Black boys at one to three lifetime risk of going to prison.  Tens of thousands are sucked into the pipeline every year.

My blog will be dedicated to dispersing this information over the next month in digestible chunks.

“It is easier to build strong children than to fix broken men.”

– attributed to Frederick Douglass

Children Born into the Pipeline 1

Baby Eric

Eric came into the world on April 26, 2004, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and already is in the Pipeline to Prison before taking a single step or uttering a word. In early May, when he was two weeks old, he was a tiny brown bundle lying across the lap of his 19-year-old mother in the Wynton Terrace housing project on the north side of the city. She was staying temporarily in a unit rented by one of her sisters because the electricity and gas had been turned off in her aunt’s house, where she had gone with Eric and his brother, 19-month-old Tae, when she left the hospital. She doesn’t have a phone or child care or access to a car so “it’s kind of hard to do anything.” The closest store is ten blocks away. She said she would like to finish high school and get a job. She liked school but “I had a lot of problems. I was running away all the time. I wasn’t getting along with anybody,” she explained, describing ongoing fights between her and her siblings and her mother, who once called the police to take her to juvenile detention. She lived with the boys’ 26-year-old father until he punched her in the stomach when she was eight months pregnant with Eric. She called the police and he went to jail. “He didn’t get as much time as I thought because his lawyers said he had some kind of mental illness.” He does not have a job and has been in jail before.

At two weeks old, Eric should have all possible futures open to him in America, a culture that believes life outcome is determined by the individual alone. In reality, this infant boy already is not in the trajectory that leads to college or work; he’s at the beginning of the pathway to prison—or, if not incarceration, a life on the margins. If Eric is imprisoned 18 years from now, no one is likely to look at the risks he faced in his early years or the disadvantages of his childhood  circumstances. He will be another bad youth to be punished for his criminal acts. It will be too late then to think of what could have been done back when Eric lacked stimulation and proper nurturing at two weeks old or when he began having behavioral or emotional problems at school or when he fell behind, got suspended and dropped out, or when he received little positive attention or guidance from the adults in his community. It will be too late then to realize that interventions known to make a difference might well have neutralized the risks and put him on the path to a productive life.

Prayer warriors – pray for our boys!

Racial Bias Seen in Study of Lead Dust and Children (New York Times)

New York Times headlines shocking.

The New York Times reported that the Kennedy Krieger Institute is involved in a class action  law suit filed in Baltimore for knowingly exposing young Black children between the age of 12 months to 5 years old. The incident goes back to the 1990’s and definitely reminds me of the Tuskegee Experiment where Black men were exposed to Syphilis for research purpose and never given the cure.

How sad, present day we are still experiencing the same behavior.  Why are we expendable? I’m sorry, experimenting on our babies is going too far.  I remember when we received a notice about my grandson’s lead levels being high.  I ask the question, “Why are they contacting you about this?  Did you have him tested?”  The answer was no.  So now I’m wondering, did these experiments happen in other places?  I don’t remember there being any meds prescribed.  Other than, have the landlord paint again.  Now, I’m real curious.

They say this occurred in poor families in poor neighborhoods with the cooperation of landlords to not completely clean up the lead levels.  Kennedy Krieger offered no treatment. 

The Root reported that, “Children were enticed into living in lead-tainted housing and subjected to a research program which intentionally exposed them to lead poisoning in order for the extent of the contamination of these children’s blood to be used by scientific researchers to assess the success of lead paint or lead dust abatement measures,” said the suit, filed in state court in Baltimore, according to the Times. “Nothing about the research was designed to treat the subject children for lead poisoning.”

“According to the lawsuit, Kennedy Krieger helped landlords get public financing for lead abatements and helped select families with young children to rent apartments where lead dust problems had been only partly eliminated so that the children’s blood could be measured for lead over a two-year period, according to the lawsuit.”(New York Times)

Science has already determined that lead poisoning causes permanent neurological damages to young children.  So, what was the real reason to expose our Black children?  I feel a conspiracy to do our seed harm.  Was this done in your community?