By now, everyone likely knows that African Americans, who comprise only 32 percent of the state’s population, have made up 70 percent of Louisiana’s COVID-related deaths so far.
When Gov. John Bel Edwards made that statistic public during one of his daily press briefings earlier this month, he also said the “trend” was worthy of further study. Not surprisingly, Louisiana is not alone. Across the nation, the virus similarly impacts Black communities. For example, in Chicago, Blacks comprise 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths there as well, while making up only about 30 percent of the city’s population.
The reason is racism— historic, systemic and institutional racism, the good old-fashioned kind. With all due respect to Gov. Edwards, 400 years of racism is not a trend.
That we are 70 percent of the COVID-19 related deaths in the state should come as no surprise. Black Americans, including those of us who live in Louisiana, are more defenseless against every societal ill America has to offer. It starts the minute we enter the world—literally, from birth. In 1968, Black infants were about 1.9 times as likely to die as White infants. Today, the rate is 2.3 times higher for African Americans.
We already know the stats. We have repeated them incessantly in the pages of The New Orleans Tribune for 35 years to be exact. But we are always happy to remind.
African Americans are 2.5 times as likely to be in poverty as Whites. Even with the ACA (Obamacare) and the Medicaid expansion, we are still uninsured at higher rates than White Americans and more likely to work jobs where health insurance is not offered, while earning too much to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to afford private insurance. In 2017 the Black unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, up from 6.7 percent in 1968, but it is still roughly twice the White unemployment rate. The typical Black family had only $2,467 in wealth in 1963. And while today that figure is about six times larger ($17,409), wealth for White families dwarfs it. In 2016, the median African American family had only 10.2 percent of the wealth of the median White family ($17,409 versus $171,000).
All of those statistics and others point to the reason COVID-19 has hit our communities so hard. Yes, chronic illnesses that African Americans often suffer from at a disproportionate rate should and must be addressed by individuals and their doctors. But we simply cannot stop there, because structural racism is at the root of it all.
Glenn Ellis, a medical ethicist, researcher, lecturer and president of Strategies for Well-Being, a global consultancy that specializes in health equity and advocacy, says the fallout from COVID-19 and its disproportionate impact on Black people offers an opportunity to determine how we will prevent this from happening again.
“What this virus is doing is clearly demonstrating how institutional racism has affected Black lives in America,” Ellis told The New Orleans Tribune. “And it is singling out the healthcare system to show how we are at a disadvantage. We can start with the method used to tell people to seek diagnosis and testing for COVID-19. They said to contact your primary care physician. Don’t go to the hospital. Don’t go to the emergency room. Many Black people don’t have primary care physicians. Even with Medicaid and Obamacare, they go to community clinics or community medical centers, where they see rotating physicians.”
The fact that African Americans are less likely to visit primary care physicians as their source of healthcare is not an obscure bit of information. According to a 2016 study published in a National Institute of Health study—whether the reason is mistrust, lack of access or socio-economic status/ability—Black Americans go to private physicians office for care at only two-thirds the rate of White Americans. Now if the National Institute of Health already knows this, someone somewhere had to have known that directing Americans to call their primary care physicians if they were experiencing COVID-19 symptoms would leave many Black Americans with no one to call.
As Ellis contends, the very fact that this reality was not considered when crafting and delivering the message that primary care physicians were the frontline for COVID-19 care at the very least indicated a lack of understanding for what it means to be Black in America. At worst, it was a blatant disregard for Blacks in America and a sign of institutional racism.
Ellis continues, “So if you are telling people not to go to the hospital, not to go to the emergency room, but to call their primary care physician, who are you talking to? They are not even talking to me because they don’t understand the realities of my culture. And that allows a viral infection to continue to spread. We were allowed to go much longer without taking precautions. Without any way to deny it, you have to look at what racism does to the wellbeing of Blacks in America.”
To be sure, even the drive-thru method of testing employed earlier in Louisiana and across the nation was innately biased against the poor and disenfranchised. It presumed that anyone and everyone experiencing symptoms of the disease also had a personal vehicle. In New Orleans, about 20 percent of the population lacks access to a personal vehicle, more than twice the national average. A lack of reliable transportation was a primary reason many New Orleanians, especially poor, Black New Orleanians were unable to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina.
We’ve Been Here Before
It would be one thing if COVID-19 was the first time the impact of racism in America was exposed in such a raw and jarring manner. But it’s not.
Didn’t we learn this lesson nearly 15 years ago in the aftermath Hurricane Katrina? Didn’t the storm shine a light on how the deep socio-economic disparities fueled by systemic racism created two New Orleans—one that was overwhelmingly Black and unable to respond to the storm’s threat. Haven’t we been here before? Then, why do we find ourselves in this disgustingly familiar place? Better still, what are we going to do about it?”
Ellis has a thought.
“Now for the second time in recent years, this country has been given a chance to decide who it wants to be. We have a chance to say, ‘No, we don’t want to be a nation where an entire segment of our population is disenfranchised because of racism’. But if the nation won’t do it, as a whole, then Black folk need to get serious. We have to look at our consumption patterns,” he says, specifically referencing how and where Black Americans receive news and information.”
He continues, “We have to get strict and do it across the board in all areas—how we spend our money and how we vote. We really have to put more scrutiny on and demand more accountability from the people we vote for. Either we are going to do it together as a country or we have to come together as Black people and say ‘we’re not going to allow our communities and our people to die like this again’. We don’t have the luxury to be sitting around, waiting on somebody to save us.”
No Time for the Blame Game
There is probably no individual or organization that encourages personal responsibility and the need for those of us in the Black community to save ourselves more than we do here at The New Orleans Tribune. Our mantra: “We must come together to save ourselves because no one else will.”
Of course, Black Americans . . . all Americans for that matter, should watch what we eat. We should not smoke or drink too much. We should exercise more. We should take seriously and, with the help of healthcare professionals, better manage chronic illnesses. We should make regular doctor visits.
We must do better as individuals, families, and communities when it comes to taking care of our bodies. The disparate vulnerability of Black Louisianans to the coronavirus has made that clear. We comprise 70 percent of COVID-19 related deaths in a state where we are only a little more than 32 percent of the population. And with that fact, perhaps it is a natural inclination to look at the Black community, point a finger and say that we must be doing something wrong, something that makes us more susceptible to the disease. And it is true. There are things we have done (or have not done) that have resulted in this uneven impact. It’s okay to talk about those things, especially if everyone else, especially our leaders and policymakers, are ready to talk about the things that have been done to Black people in America over the last 400 years, how those things have undermined our community and left us vulnerable to COVID-19 and so much more.
More importantly, we need leaders to develop a plan to address the issues that harm our communities from a policy standpoint.
That is why it was disappointing to hear Gov. John Edwards (and others, including Black leaders, elected officials and influencers) go on and on about the lifestyle behaviors that contribute to Black folk being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 without the proper context. The reason Black people are dying from coronavirus at a disproportionate rate does not begin and end with bad habits or existing chronic illnesses that afflict our community at higher rates than others. It begins with structural racism.
It is true, coronavirus does not see race or class. But our nation and its healthcare system do. And that is the problem we need our leaders addressing substantially more than we need to be lectured by any of them about the amount of salt someone shakes on their meal.
It is disrespectful to go on and on about how Black people need to do a better job of seeking care from primary care doctors without talking about the institutional racism that helps explain why they don’t.
According to studies, Black Americans seek their healthcare from primary care physicians at a rate of about two-thirds that of White Americans. And unless we are ready to talk about a lack of cultural competency among many healthcare professionals, the lack of access and resources that keeps many Black Americans from seeking the medical care they need, the understandable and inherent distrust many Black Americans have for the established medical system, or the fact that only four percent of the nation’s practicing physicians are Black, then we are wasting our time. The “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in Black Males” went on for 40 years until as recently as 1972; and dark events like it, along with similar issues with this country’s medical establishment, are major reasons Black Americans don’t trust the established medical system. It’s true many Black people don’t go to the doctor as often as they should. Can you blame them? Better still, what can you do to change this reality?
Of course, we know there are things individuals must do to improve his or her own quality of life. But let’s put this thing in perspective. Historic and even current government-sanctioned policies that were and are racist at their core have shaped what it means to be Black in America in every way possible. So as our leaders try desperately to unpack the data, we believe too much energy has been spent pointing fingers at Black people for the decisions they make or don’t make while not nearly enough attention is given to circumstances that have driven those decisions for 400 years.
The way some folks talk about the disparate impact of the virus on the Black community, including U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams whose “do it for your Abuela . . . do it for Big Mama” plea to Black and brown Americans to not drink and to not smoke, is pejorative, superficial and utterly ignores the fact that 400 years of structural racism have manifested into every negative social determinant that impacts Black America. And if the nation’s surgeon general, who also happens to be a Black man, can’t dig any deeper than that to talk about not only habits that need to change, but government policies and healthcare industry practices that need to be transformed as well, then we are in trouble.
We were unnerved by Gov. Edwards, when, during his 1 p.m. address Friday (April 10), he
castigated the very community being hit hardest by this disease; then, almost as if it were an afterthought, he briefly mentioned something about “figuring out” the social determinants that play a role in the disparate impact COVID-19 is having on Black people in Louisiana and “see what we can do to address them.”
What is there to figure out?
Slavery. Domestic Terrorism. Jim Crow. Segregation. Redlining. Economic Exclusion. Historically Inequitable Treatment in the Education, Healthcare, Housing, and Criminal Justice systems. Are those enough social determinants for y’all?
And let’s be abundantly clear, we are not talking about ancient history. We are talking about a relatively young nation’s recent past that continues and current problems that exist because every one of this nation’s systems and institutions are built on a foundation of racism.
Yes, we must talk about poor diets, but let’s dare do that without mentioning that our city is littered with communities that are in fact food deserts forcing people to travel miles from home for fresh offerings or settle for the unhealthy options that are just up the block. How could anyone with even an ounce of decency talk about poor eating habits of a community and not talk about how areas in cities such as New Orleans and others like it across the country are void of healthy choices TODAY because of redlining policies that date back to the 40s, 50s, and 60s—an actual program created and sanctioned by the federal government to keep banks from backing loans to developers to build and sell homes in Black neighborhoods, which in turn kept Blacks from building wealth and kept business interests from opening groceries or other viable institutions to serve people they intentionally left trapped there. Today, groceries, banks, healthcare facilities, restaurants and the like won’t even consider many of these areas of our communities unless they are being gentrified.
Just look to New Orleans East for an example close to home. Large national grocery store and retail chains abandoned New Orleans East after African-Americans began to move there and white folks fled.
Stop victim-blaming and do something
Now as the state turns it’s attention to residents in the River Parishes, we have to talk about environmental racism. We hope that our leaders are not surprised because St. John, St. James and parishes that stretch along the Mississippi River, are getting hit hard now by coronavirus. As the number of cases in these areas grows, our leaders should not talk about the rate of diabetes or hypertension in these communities without mentioning the inequitable manner in which Black people in these communities suffer from cancer and respiratory illnesses because of the chemical plants that have been allowed to grow unchecked in their backyards.
We know it will be easier to talk about how residents along Cancer Alley need to exercise more. That way you don’t have to explain why the petrochemical plants are still allowed to flourish there despite their proximity to and detrimental impact on the communities of color. But we didn’t elect you to take the easy way out. Greed and environmental racism were already killing the people of these communities. COVID-19 is not helping. And neither will a brisk walk.
We could go on and on about every social determinant and point to historical or current policies and practices that directly impact the state of Black America today. We have been writing about this stuff for 35 years.
But right now, we just need y’all (including Black leaders) to stop it. Stop victim-blaming and do something.
For our part, we encourage our brothers and sisters to step up to the challenge and take as much control over their lives as they possibly can. We often dedicate the monthly “To Your Health” column of the this very newspaper to examining many of the illnesses that impact our community disparately, offering useful information and encouraging our readers to make healthier choices. Gov. Edwards is right about one thing—everyone needs to do his part. Everyone needs to do what they are supposed to do.
So, let us pray.
God grant us the courage to change the things we can and to accept personal responsibility for our individual lives.
Grant us the boldness to demand that our leaders fix the things they are supposed to fix, deliver services and create policies that close education, healthcare, housing, income and wealth gaps because that is what we elected them to do. And grant them the humility to either do their jobs or go home and be quiet.
Oh yeah, God, also grant them the wisdom not to blame the victims of 400 years of racism in America for not being able to handle this deadly virus as well as others who have enjoyed a 250-year head start in wealth, access, equity and opportunity in every way.
New research suggests that emoji users are better at making social connections.
by Justin J. Lehmiller Ph.D.
Source: 123RF/Денис Горелкин
What does your use of emojis say about your sex and dating life? According to a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE, a lot, actually. In fact, the frequent use of emojis with potential dates is linked to not only having sex more often but also to a more active and successful dating life.
These conclusions come from two separate studies conducted by researchers at The Kinsey Institute. In the first study, they analyzed data from a large survey of 5,327 single Americans that was designed to reflect the demographic diversity of the United States. Participants ranged in age from 18-94, and most identified as heterosexual (87 percent) and as White (62 percent).
And the Study Says?
Participants completed a survey inquiring about whether they use emojis, and if so, why. They were also asked several questions about their current sex and dating life.
So how often do people use emojis with potential dates? It turned out that 38 percent said they never do, 29 percent hardly ever do, 28 percent regularly use them, 3 percent use at least one in every text, and 2.5 percent use more than one in every text.
People’s reasons for using emojis varied and included wanting to give their messages more personality, making it easier to express feelings, making communication faster than typing, and because it’s trendy (in other words, because everyone else is doing it).
More Emojis – More Sex
The frequent use of emojis predicted going on more first dates over the past year, as well as more frequent sexual activity.
The second study was a smaller online survey of 275 adults that attempted to replicate and extend these findings. Participants ranged in age from 18-71, and most identified as heterosexual (84 percent) and White (73 percent).
Emoji use was more common in this sample; in fact, just 3 percent said they never use emojis with potential dates. Also, in contrast to the first study, emoji use was not linked to going on more first dates; however, it was linked to having more second dates.
Like the first study, frequent emoji use was linked to having more frequent sex. It was also linked to having more sex partners in the last year.
Also, with respect to the most recent date they went on, frequent emoji users were more likely to have kissed and had sex with that partner. They were also more likely to have gone on a second date and to have entered a relationship with that person.
It’s important to note that there are several limitations of this research, including the fact that the authors didn’t assess which types of emojis people sent. It could be that different emojis (e.g., kissy face, devil face, smiley face, etc.) are linked to different outcomes. Likewise, they only looked at sending emojis, not receiving them. It would, therefore, also be worth examining how emojis are perceived by others, and whether some people find them to be more appealing than others. article continues after advertisement
You had your share of bad situations. You think you know why most relationships fail. And one day you finally meet them. They are THE one – your soulmate. Mr. or Mrs. Perfect- the one you have waited for forever. Then one morning you wake up like “who the hell are you?”
It has happened to so many of us. The person who was everything you ever wanted, became the one you never want again. Which one is the real them? At this point, it’s too hard to tell, and now you don’t trust yourself or them.
What happens, far too often, is people want you so much that they become who you want them to be. As they sit listening to you, they are transforming right before your eyes. Everything you like and don’t like they are making a mental note of it. And just like that there you have it Mr. or Mrs. Perfect.
First, a relationship without trust is a relationship headed for disaster. How can you trust someone who has had a mask on from the beginning? Here you are sharing your whole self with them, while they are hiding. It is hard enough for most of us to trust somebody with our heart anyway, but to have to trust it again with someone who wasn’t genuine from the start is mission impossible.
Secondly, if this person has to pretend to be someone else, they don’t even believe they deserve you. With that being said you would have to sacrifice what you want for someone who has proven they wouldn’t do the same for you. Who wants to give their all to someone they had to settle for? This is a recipe for destruction.
This is why I recommend people DO NOT ENTER a relationship until they are happy with themselves. As important as knowing what you want is, you should become everything they would want as well. This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, but you do have to be self-assured. That means they will know exactly what and who they are getting from the start.
Also, another step that is just as important as taking your time. Moving too quickly gives them an advantage. It is harder for actors to stay in character for a long period of time. Even without knowing, they start showing glimpses of who they truly are. You need to know if they are who they say they are, or is it just an act. If it’s an act you have every right to cut and wrap that scene. If you don’t, one day you will wake up and your heart will belong to a perfect stranger.
by CC Campbell-Rock
August 29, 2020 marks the 15th Anniversary of the natural disaster turned man-made disaster called Hurricane Katrina. When the Coronavirus hit New Orleans, it invoked memories of Katrina. The 100 year storm allegedly claimed the lives of more than 1500 people in Louisiana. The true death count may never be known. And it changed New Orleans in ways that were unforeseen. Hurricane Katrina created a new New Orleans.
Hurricane Katrina pushed people out of their homes, many to destinations unknown. Katrina filled the city with up to 20 feet of water in some areas. The storm also killed the city’s economy and forced thousands to resettle and restart their lives. Many lost loved ones, careers, homes, cars, and every possession they owned. Some native New Orleanians returned home. Others remained where they evacuated, built new lives, and carried on. Hurricane Katrina created a new New Orleans.
Eighty percent of the city was flooded when 27 levees were breached. The majority of the flooding took place east of Canal Street in the downtown area of New Orleans and eastern New Orleans. The lower ninth ward took on the most water, because a barge broke through the levee wall.
New Orleans lost nearly 51 percent of its 454,845, pre-Katrina 2005 population. In 2020, the city has 390,128 residents or 85.77 percent of its pre-Katrina population total.
The New New Orleans
However, a cursory look around shows that the demographics and the culture have changed.
Speaking to National Geographic Magazine in 2015, Allison Plyer says, “The storm greatly changed the physical and demographic makeup of New Orleans. Monitoring these changes is important since the needs of the city and its people are much different today. After any disaster, applicable data is wiped away—all information becomes uncertain” Plyer works for The Data Center which is a data collection and analysis group that serves Southeast Louisiana..
“The demographic makeup of New Orleans and its metro area is much different today than it was pre-Katrina. The city has lost white and black residents, but whites now represent a larger share of the population than they did before the storm. And while African Americans are still the majority in New Orleans, their raw population drop is staggering: Nearly 100,000 fewer African Americans live in the city today than in 2000. Around 11,500 fewer white residents live there.”
Signs of gentrification are everywhere as black renters have been pushed to areas like New Orleans east where they occupy high rise apartment complexes, or to moderate income neighborhoods in the eight and ninth wards. Some black homeowners sold their homes, others lacked the funding needed to restore or repair their homes. They remain in the Katrina Diaspora, their homes boarded up. Others lost their homes to property tax sales. White professionals and some squatters have moved into New Orleans. A stroll along St. Claude Avenue, once a street with many boarded up businesses, is now bustling with small shops. Few are owned by Black people.
“Driving around the Lower Ninth Ward, a community just east of the French Quarter, I was taken aback by the empty plots that still break up the community. Houses that used to stand right next to one another are now spaced haphazardly away from each other, separated by empty land that is overgrown with weeds and brush. Trash piles on the corners of the streets. Signs warning against loitering further accentuate the impression that things haven’t improved. Businesses are staying away as well. A single grocery store, Burnell’s Lower Ninth Ward Market, holds the sole responsibility of providing a small range of packaged foods and fresh produce to the 1,200 people who live in the community,” Santos wrote.
New Normal Nothing New for NOLA
The intern’s observation is magnified and duplicated in the city’s seventh and eight wards. Overgrown lots, streets with a house here, one there, and gaping holes in-between like teeth missing for a mouth. Hurricane Katrina created the new New Orleans.
Since Katrina, the city’s public school system has been turned into an all-charter school, semi-privatized school system. While no one wants to say it out loud, the all-charter school district is an abysmal failure, an experiment gone wrong.
However, like Hurricane Katrina, coronavirus infections are disproportionately impacting the black community. “According to the Coroner’s data, as of June 5th black residents accounted for 77 percent of the 492 COVID-19 deaths in Orleans Parish, with white residents accounting for less than 20 percent” the Data Center reported. The population of Orleans Parish is 60 percent black and 35 percent white.
The COVID-19 deaths of blacks in New Orleans mirrors the nationwide trend. “Black Americans continue to experience the highest overall actual COVID-19 mortality rates— more than twice as high as the rate for Whites and Asians, who have the lowest actual rates,” according to the APM Research Lab.
New Orleans’ black community weathered slavery, Jim Crow segregation, redlining, racism, and discrimination from every direction. And black people here will ride out this current man-made disaster.
Despite the metamorphoses Hurricane Katrina wrought in New Orleans, in a city that is older than the United States, and the challenges to the lives of black New Orleanians brought by the 100-year COVID-19 pandemic, the black community remains resilient. Black-owned institutions have weathered the storm, the Black press and media, our fabled restaurants, and the city’s culture keepers still persist. But make no mistake.
Sometimes we just don’t understand the president or what he’s doing. Like one time I saw him eating fried chicken with a knife and fork. I was like, wow is he going to cut through the bone? Maybe that’s something presidents do. Or maybe the chicken was a prop and he had never had it fried in his life. I wonder how he eats turkey necks or ribs.
Strange That President Wants to Suppress Census?
Speaking of props, one time the president had a crowd of people tear gassed so he could walk across the street and take a picture in front of a church with a Bible that wasn’t even his. We know the Bible wasn’t his because when a reporter asked him, “Hey is that Bible yours?” the president said, “It’s a Bible.” A Bible. Interesting phrase. Like I said, the president is a strange man.
What we do know, though, is that the president is trying to pull off some type of witch doctorery to suppress the 2020 Census. The Census is what we use to count people. The Census counts how many people are here or there, and who lives where. Some people don’t trust the Census. They think it’s a form of government espionage (an old wives’ tale, or as the president’s witch doctor would say, some demon sh*t).
In real life, the Census is what the federal government uses to determine how much money it gives to the states, how many House seats are appropriated. States use census data for more shady stuff like which districts are gerrymandered. Presently, the president appears to not be in favor of the Census. He has dispatched a bureau of his minions with not-so-explicit-instructions to make sure some people go uncounted. So the Census takers have been told to cease counting a month prematurely, per the president. Why is the president suppressing the 2020 Census?
Why is President Trump Suppressing the 2020 Census?
The president is a part of what we call a dwindling demographic, also known as a white person. Lately, white people have not been propagating as much as non-white people. I guess privilege only goes so far. Considering this and with money, House seats, and redistricting on the line, it’s in the best interest of the least growing demographic to make sure the more proliferating group is undercounted. Especially since that demographic has tended to be from a different political party.
Side note: Political parties are just gangs without the murders and drugs. Like gangs they have turf to defend (House seats and districts) and a source of money (donations from affiliated folks) they’re depended upon. As their influence goes, so does their turf and money. Side note ended.
Another complication is whether to even count undocumented people. Should states benefit from their presence? Maybe the president will tweet about a 3/5 compromise.
Most importantly, if you haven’t done so already, fill out your Census and put in the mail. Or if a Census taker comes to your door, don’t run and hide under the bed spread. Open the door and give the person the information they seek. Your congressional representation, streetlights, and sewerage may depend on it. Remember the President is suppressing the 2020 Census.
Captain’s Log, Stardate later on in 2020: The president has skin so thin that if you pinched him, he’d bleed. He appears to be unnerved by the slightest slight. All day he tweets seeking adoration, and goes into emotional convulsions when he’s denied. Pray for him. His demographic is going through menopause. He’s but a fraction of a whole. Maybe his witch doctor can whip up a potion for him. I hear Hydroxychloroquine is trending.
A Collection of Political Cartoons by John Slade
By Love Dr. Rob
Karma – When it comes back around!
As a Relationship Advisor, I am often asked what’s wrong with women these days. Men seem to be surprised by the way their counterparts are acting. That’s not the way a woman is supposed to act. Then they hit me with the line. She acts like she’s a man.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this. I’m not sure what part gets me the most. Is it that he is surprised by her behavior, or that he thinks it would be alright if she was a man. I am well aware of the double standard, but I also know that what goes around comes around.
As men, we have grown so accustomed to dishing it that we can’t take it. We forget that the whole time we were mistreating women, we were teaching them how to treat us. Now the student has become the teacher, and she shouldn’t do us like that? What’s good for the goose isn’t always good to the gander.
If you want women to be woman, we as men have to be men. I don’t mean the iron chest nothing hurts me, men. But the open, honest, human being, I have feelings man. If more men can display that side there is a greater chance of winning our women and families back. If we can’t do that, we should not be surprised when we lose our women and children. Remember they are only showing us what we have taught them.
As men, the most responsible thing we can do is take ownership of the pain we have caused. In many cases, it was done because we were incapable of dealing with our own trauma. Nevertheless, right now we are at a point where the pain is being redistributed, and the man, the woman, and the children are being impacted.
The only way to fix it is we have to acknowledge whatever emotional damage we endured. Figure out who, what, and when hurt you. Then you have to deal with those issues directly. Make sure you take all the necessary steps to heal properly. And most importantly do not enter into another relationship until you have healed.
by Orissa Arend
There is much discussion these days amid aspiring white allies to the cause of racial justice – and I count myself as one – about how to be the most useful.Michael Cowan, professor emeritus at Loyola University, wrote an op-ed piece on July 30 for the Times-Picayune New Orleans Advocate entitled “Successful coalitions must dispense with purity tests.” It caught my eye because Cowan and I have worked on many projects together. But this piece laid bare a fundamental disagreement.
In order to change policies and laws, he claims that anti-racist activists sometimes refuse to work with “a large majority of decent people [I think he means decent White people who] don’t identify themselves as ‘anti-racist’ and never will.” This strikes me as a false dichotomy.
Anti-racism isn’t a purity test, as Cowan claims. I see it as an accurate description of anyone who “accepts the full humanity of every child of God” (in Cowan’s words) and works to challenge and abolish institutional and structural racism. Power and privilege can be an asset in this endeavor, not something to feel coy or guilty about.
The Undoing Racism Workshop of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond has helped me understand this large definition of anti-racism. It doesn’t mean just opposing someone who has racial prejudice. Growing up in this society, we all have some of that. Pronounced examples could be found in your mother or father or your best friend. If anti-racism were a purity test, we all would fail.
Accepting a common broad definition of anti-racism is crucial right now. As one of my mediation mentors said, a problem that is mutually defined can be mutually solved.
There was a time, not too long ago in warped COVID-time, when some White people had a hard time saying, “Black lives matter.” I foresee a time, hopefully at COVID warp speed, when the important coalitions for social justice that Cowan writes about can whole heartedly declare themselves to be anti-racist.
2 games down/6 to go/how do you sum up the Pelicans play so far/hmm…slow? I think that would be an understatement. Stocked with talent, Pelicans subpar play has been inexplicable.
At the rate they’re going, they might want to limit Alvin Gentry’s minutes too. He has not gotten the team ready play during the reboot.
Friday, the first game up, The Pelicans did an excellent job of turning the ball over, a skill they’ve been perfecting all season. Saturday, their prowess was on full display – jump passes into the stands, dribbles off the foot, strips on the way to the rim. At one point, in an obvious snub to floor spacing, two players inexplicably stood in the same three point corner. Inexplicably (this word will come up a lot) another Pelican passed one of them the ball. That player immediately got the ball and stepped out of bounds. As a team, they finished with 18 turnovers. They had 20 against the Jazz. That’s almost the equivalent of Drew Brees throwing 3 interceptions a game.
Who is the team’s leader?
Meanwhile philanthropist and NBA All Defensive team star,Jrue Holiday missed critical shots. Touted as the franchise player, the one “we’re building the team around” Holiday has deferred to other teammates to take big shots. He has had his moments though. Thursday against the Jazz, he was All-Star worthy (20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals), but he followed that up with 4 points Saturday, only taking 7 shots — 4 points, 7 shots in a game where the team needed their leader to step up. That’s just…inexplicable (told you).
Speaking of leaders and stepping up, J.J. Redick came out of quarantine ready to ball, dropping 21 points in 26 minutes against the Jazz. You’d think he would’ve be an essential part of the game plan going forward. Nope. He barely played Saturday, in a game where the team needed… Yep, you know it, repeat after me: just an inexplicable coaching move. Gentry ended up giving the bulk of the playing time to Frank Jackson instead. Jackson went 5-15 from the field. He took more shots than Zion and Jrue Holiday combined, even though Holiday played more minutes than him. It’s just…I’m not going to even say the word.
Bad play and decisions
Who else? Lonzo Ball has been awful. In 2 games he’s shot 21% from the field (4-19) with almost just as many turnovers as assists. That’s the starting point guard, director of the team. His directionlessness has mirrored Gentry’s. What’s the game plan? Who knows. Redick barely plays Saturday. Zion is put on a 15 minute restriction with 3 minute intervals on Friday. Yet somehow that doesn’t translate into him playing the last 3 minutes of the game. During those last 3 minutes of a tight game, the Jazz attacked the rim to maintain a 2 point lead, and got a key rebound with less than 20 seconds left while Zion, the starting power forward, potential once in a generation player, watched from the bench.
Despite all this inexplicableness, the Pelicans can still make the playoffs. They have the easiest schedule by far of any of the teams contending for the final playoff spot. Unlike those other teams, the Pelicans don’t play another team with a winning record over these last 6 games, with 2 of them against the Grizzlies, the present holder of that final playoff spot. To make the playoffs though, they’ll have to cut down on the turnovers, play some semblance of defense, and space the floor much better. That all should start later this evening. 5:30, the Grizzlies are on deck.
Yes, that’s right, at the courthouse building. No, protesters were not roaming the streets of Portland and setting orphanages on fire as the propaganda would imply. Instead, thousands of people, supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement, gathered every night for the last two months at Pioneer Courthouse Square. I’ve seen them hurl curses and firecrackers and do little else besides chant and sing.
Yet the police and feds for their part, have attacked and incited the crowds.
These federal agents, except for wearing badges from their division, like “Border Patrol” arrive in unmarked vehicles and refuse to identify themselves. They were sent in the wake of a bill by the president which specifically assigned them as the force to protect important American monuments “such as the Lincoln memorial”.
But we know the real reason is Trump’s divisive campaign strategy of white nationalism. The toppling of confederate monuments across the United States infuriates his base. Trump calculates his law and order strategy translates into votes for him. Sending troops to agitate peaceful protesters does nothing to protect federal property but allows him to claim he is protecting his people.
Trump’s Campaign Strategy
Truth is the federal courthouse building here in Portland hasn’t been torn down. It could not be without a fleet of bulldozers, but it has been vandalized-with graffiti. Vandalism that can be fixed with water and soap. Instead, Trump deployed waves of unmarked goons who tear gas and pepper spray protesters, shoot them with rubber bullets and beat the piss out of them or illegally detain them in shifts.
Those released thus far (because these feds have no case and legally can’t hold people for long) have said that their release was conditional over “Agreeing not to come back to protest”. Even the Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, joined the crowd to see what was going on. He was tear gassed for his trouble.
Essentially, these federal agents are here to bully peaceful protesters in the most aggressive, high profile way possible in order to disperse the crowd that’s been showing up every night. This is a reelection campaign strategy not an attempt to protect property.
And it isn’t working. These attacks against American citizens, which in any war zone would be considered war crimes, have not stopped the protests. They have only made them bigger and angrier. You’ve heard of the wall of moms and the wall of vets. But did you know that the city of Portland is suing the DHS because they refused to take their agents out of the city? Or did you know that the city of Portland just won a court case against the DHS? Now agents can not arrest or attack members of the press and journalists?
This is the first in a wave of activity by the DHS. A fascistic spree of violence carried out by poorly trained, unmarked agents. Federal agents sent to escalate in major cities with high protester activity. This is a show of force, and we can all see that. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t going to work.
The protests will keep going because you can count on Americans belief in free speech. And when this amount of people come together and form the largest mass protest in the history of humanity, it doesn’t matter what you throw at us. We’ll keep coming back for more.
Considering Trump’s strategy of white nationalism, this fight is just beginning.
The city of Portland is clear: it will not stand idly by and be invaded. The protesters don’t fight; they stand strong, and they keep coming back every single night, because they know that if a fascist regime is trying this hard to beat them down, then that must mean they’re on the right side of history.
CANTRELL RAMPS UP RESTRICTIONS & TESTING
By C.C. Campbell-Rock
An uptick in coronavirus spread across Louisiana in late June caused Governor John Bel Edwards to cancel the move to Phase 3 of reopening the state. When Edwards made the announcement around June 22, Louisiana had about 50,000 coronavirus cases, 3,000 deaths, and the hospitalization rate was increasing.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell moved New Orleans into the Phase Two reopening guidelines more than a month ago. Following CDC recommendations, the city’s “Safer at Home,” phase called for residents to continue to stay home except for essential needs and other permitted activities; masks were mandatory for everyone, frequent handwashing and disinfecting surfaces, and social distancing guidelines had to be followed. The city was offering testing to anyone who asked and approximately 150 tests were conducted daily.
However, most recently, Louisiana found itself in the Yellow Zone of the Federal Coronavirus Task Force, which deemed the state #1 in the country for the most COVID-19 cases per capita.
A look at the numbers show that the state, which had been flattening the curve is now seeing a spike in coronavirus cases. . Over a one-month period, the number of cases statewide has more than doubled to 116,280, with 3, 835 deaths, 1,524 hospitalized, and 205 people on ventilators.
Local Parishes Lead in Cases and Deaths
Orleans Parish had the most deaths in the state, 560, with the majority, 417, being black residents and 10,204 cases, Jefferson Parish had the most cases statewide at 13,872, but slightly trailed New Orleans with 510 deaths.
People not adhering to the guidelines and inadequate testing are responsible for the spike in cases. Since testing began in Orleans Parish, the city has tested about 31% of the parish’s 391,006 residents. The city has also struggled to get an adequate amount of testing supplies and PPE (personal protective equipment).
Known for being a tough and no-nonsense leader, Cantrell put her foot down when she recently announced new restrictions to curb the community spread of COVID-19.
“There has been an almost doubling of the daily average cases to approximately twice the threshold of 50 cases a day. There’s been an increase in the positivity rate from 2-3 percent to over 6 percent. There also has been a more than doubling of the COVID-19 positive hospitalization rates with overall saturation of the local healthcare system, as well as increased overflow burden from the rest of the state and Mississippi. This is a clear indication that the city has returned to widespread community transmission,” a release from the Mayor noted.
Mayor Cantrell Taking All Precautions
Cantrell’s new restrictions ban the sale of alcohol by bars and restaurants. “We understand the impact this is having on our bar community. Moving into Phase Two, we were very much focused on our economy and those industries that make up that community. Unfortunately, we have seen the negative impact that has had on the City of New Orleans,” said Mayor Cantrell. “What happens next depends on what we do right now.”
Speaking to the concerns around reopening schools, Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director, New Orleans Health Department, said, “Our primary goal at this point in the pandemic is to suppress the virus so that we can safely send kids back to school. And looking at the trends in new cases — many of which continue to be linked to social gatherings and bars — we do not believe we will get there under the current restrictions,” she said.
Council Member Kristin Palmer: Citizens First
District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, who represents the French Quarter, added, “Mayor Cantrell has taken courageous steps today to protect the citizens of New Orleans. Her bold actions will save lives, and I, too, am asking bars and businesses to adhere to the regulations to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in our city. I support Mayor Cantrell’s decision to prohibit the takeout of alcoholic beverages, especially after seeing recent photos from Bourbon Street showing crowds of people in close proximity…We have to put the health of our citizens first.”
Other Phase 2 guidelines remain the same. Indoor gatherings are limited to 25 individuals; outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 individuals; and all gathering participants must wear masks and practice social distancing.
Dr. Avegno also announced that the federal government is sending surge testing resources to New Orleans. These resources will allow the City to significantly increase the number of daily tests.
Testing is open to everyone, there is no ID or health insurance required and no appointment is needed. Check for Walk-up and Mobile testing sites and dates near you: https://ready.nola.gov/home/
New Orleans Resources
The New Orleans Health Department has partnered with LCMC Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, CORE Response, and Ochsner Health, to offer free, walk-up COVID-19 testing in hard-hit New Orleans neighborhoods. Results are expected to be online or delivered within two to three days by calling 3-1-1. Testing is also available at many healthcare facilities, hospitals, and clinics in New Orleans. Some facilities have their own criteria for who is eligible for a test, so we suggest you call first.
Healthcare facilities offering testing in New Orleans include:
If you have questions about COVID-19 and don’t have a PCP. Call a 24 hour Nurse’s Hotline at: (504) 962-6202 for LCMC. (800) 231-5257 for Ochsner.
Pre-registration is available but is not required. Individuals who pre-register at https://doineedacovid19test.com/ will be directed to an express lane; those who do not pre-register will be directed to the regular lane where they can relay contact and health information to staff. Pre-registration systems will ask individuals to complete an “assessment” with health information.
Understanding the impact of the regulations on the city’s businesses, Cantrell has launched new programs to keep them up and running within the guidelines.
Her administration is offering individual grants up to $6,000 to local restaurants and other businesses to add to or expand outside dining. The program will begin with piloting curbside dining and parklets in five to seven commercial corridors over the coming month, and then the program will expand citywide.
The City is also launching a virtual BuildNOLA Small Business Training Program in partnership with Delgado Community College and other local and regional partners. Registration is open and will continue through Aug. 24, 2020. Entrepreneurs and small business owners can register at https://buildnola2020.com/
State and local officials have not yet announced a date for Phase 3, which rolls back most restrictions. However, until then both the state and the city have mandated that masks must be worn in public.
“We have created a Task Force to ensure compliance. It’s necessary for our safety. Many are not following guidelines. We don’t want to go backwards. The Task Force will be going the extra mile aid in enforcement.” Mayor Cantrell said at a press conference. Masks will be handed out to those without them
Cantrell is also asking for the community’s help. “Anyone who sees a large unmasked gathering is asked to call 311. The City has and will shut down businesses who continue to be out of compliance. There will be accountability. There must be for the safety of the community.”
To get the latest information on local Coronavirus stats, visit: