The New Orleans Advocate reported on 20 August 2018 that in response to lawsuits and numerous complaints, the court fees and fines assessed on juvenile defendants brought before the local Juvenile Court are abolished. Though it is a good initial step, this move on the part of the judges will have little budgetary impact. In 2017, the total amount of fees collected summed up to only $1,954, additionally the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice continues to fine families. If the State of Louisiana is interested in addressing the real problems facing youth caught up in the juvenile court system, it must follow the lead of New Orleans juvenile court in abolishing senseless fines imposed on families. Earlier this year Ubuntu Village published the report, Parents Fighting for Youth Justice based on interviews and extensive research which identified the three most glaring issues facing youth and their parents in dealing with the New Orleans Juvenile Court. The first issue is a lack of information and communication from courts to parents. The second issue which parents expressed was disrespectful treatment. For example, after having been summoned to the court at 9:00 am, they have had wait four or five hours for their child’s hearing. The third, and perhaps most alarming, finding was about the absence of any long term, social welfare services for youth caught up in the juvenile justice system.
Ubuntu Village made several recommendations based on its research. The court needs to provide parent advocates to improve communication and answer any questions. Parents should be given a specific time when they are to appear in court and not have to wait hours before coming before the judges. Parents and children should have input in the formulation of the child’s plan for the future, and successful long term rehabilitative services should be provided.
If the city and state continue to short-change our youth in the juvenile justice system due to inadequate funding, then the courts should be open to campaigns to seek financial support for rehabilitative services from philanthropic foundations and from businesses that are dependent on New Orleans residents as customers and clients. The operations of the juvenile justice system in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana have done great damage to our youth and a reparatory justice campaign is needed to provide positive alternatives to incarceration and access to long term for rehabilitative programs.
Abolishing court fees at the local level will certainly lift some strain from families already over-burdened, but continued measures – such as abolishing the fees imposed by the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice – must also be taken. We at Ubuntu are glad to see the Juvenile courts and the City of New Orleans continue to make strides towards Juvenile Justice reform, but we know that it is only one step on the long road to investing in our youth.
She started off saying she didn’t know how much longer she could keep doing this. At the same time, she also said she did not want to start over. ”How many times does a woman have to keep starting over before a man gets it right”? She asked. And I replied she doesn’t have to start over at all, she can stay stuck with stupid. Is anyone in your relationship stuck with stupid?
We all have things we need and want in and from a relationship. The problem is we believe we are supposed to be in a relationship with someone before we know if they can give it to us. That’s like hiring somebody for a job before you know if they are even qualified for the position. Few of us if any complete the interview process before saying you’re hired.
As this happens in so many cases you end up with someone who just can’t get right. It doesn’t matter how many times you show them, they just don’t get it. Here you keep investing time and energy into training and retraining and they still don’t get it. Despite all your efforts, they seem incapable of learning what you need from them, yet you refuse to let them go. So they have no incentive to learn it because they still have the position and all the benefits that come with it.
Relationships Require Maturity
Hopefully, a light bulb just went off, but just in case you missed it. If a man or woman is receiving everything they want without having to give anything in return, most will never give anything. When you find yourself in this situation you have to make a decision. Do I continue to invest in my time and my love in someone who can’t give me what I need? Or do I cut my losses and start over?
In most cases, it feels like a lose-lose situation. At least you know what you have in them, and if you leave the next one might be worse. But the most important question you can ask yourself is how long can you stay without getting what you need? Because now neither one of you is making sure your needs are met.
Now I’m not telling you that you should leave. If you like it, I love it. For some people, it is better to be unhappy in a relationship than be happy alone. Remember some times even a good person can be unable to love you, even though you love the hell out of them. Once you realize that it is up to you, you have to choose your happiness. If you choose to stay in a relationship where you’re not getting what you need, there will be a day when someone will see y’all together and say look they are still with stupid and you won’t be able to tell which one of you they are talking about.
How to do it
by Troy Henry
Upon arrival in America, Black Americans were enslaved for several hundred years. And the impact of this systematic and institutional practice still has a multi-generational impact on many Black Americans today. The enslavement and de-humanization of the Africans brought to America for economic and white lifestyle purposes is truly the original sin of this country. Our government made numerous promises of reparation (40 acres and a mule). Yet real efforts to compensate African Americans have been paltry to non-existent. Black communities today continue to reflect inhumane conditions that are the repercussion of approximately 400 years of pain and suffering.
A nation of people does not just snap out of this type of institutional racism. It takes time and proactive efforts to truly attempt to right the wrongs of this sin. Historically, oppressors have compensated their victims. The people of Germany compensated the Jews for the Holocaust. America compensated the Japanese people as a result of the WWII internment. However, the White American community has never fully addressed the most heinous of all punishments inflicted on a people that are largely responsible for building this great country.
Reparations For Slavery
There has been much written recently about the need for reparations for Black Americans, and most of these articles have been thoughtful and “on point”. I would like for you to reference several outstanding articles that prompted me to write this body of work. Each has a unique perspective and discussion regarding the need and benefits of reparations.
The link below is a CNBC article profiling the need and growing support for reparations.
The article below attempts to establish the value necessary to properly compensate Black Americans reparations.
While each of these articles and many more do an outstanding job of justifying the necessity for Black American reparations, none of them fully address the high-level implementation of such a program. The remainder of this article will discuss a practical approach to funding the program and the benefits associated with it.
Today, the current US stock market including NYSE, NASDAQ and OTC markets have a value of approximately $37 Trillion. This figure captures the current market value for all publicly traded enterprises. The Federal Government has approximately $300T in assets under management in the form of property and other assets. While it is impossible to trace each asset and company to the act of slavery or any derivative activities, many of these enterprises (public and private) were directly or indirectly the beneficiaries of this heinous systemic sin of slavery.
My approach for reparations for each individual Black American, would target any individual with a gross income of $500,000 annual income or less based on your most recent tax return. Neither I (small business owner), Rob Smith (Vista Equity CEO), LeBron James (NBA great) or many others Black Americans would participate in this program, because they have successfully and permanently overcome the scars of slavery. Also, individuals who immigrated to the US after 1990 would also be excluded from the program even though their ancestors may have experienced slavery, it was not in the USA and therefore would not qualify. Based on the above qualifiers approximately 5 million out of the 45 million Black Americans would not qualify. Based on the numbers above, a reparations payment of $10Trillion would pay to create a one-time payment of $250,000 to every Black American born before 1/1/2021 or whatever date is appropriate.
Is Money Available?
So how do we generate $10T without crippling the entire US economy? Answer: Every publicly traded company would pay a 15% one-time tax on the market value of their company. Since most companies would not have that amount of funds on hand, its payment could be made in the form of additional shares of contributed stock to the fund. While this would cause an immediate dilution of share value, it does not put any company at a competitive disadvantage since their competitor would be subject to the exact same tax and repercussions. As a result, over time the market will respond to this tax much like it has done to the Corona Virus. This would generate approximately $6T for the reparations fund.
The 2nd source of funds would be the federal government. The Federal government has the ability to issue one-time payment funds like what was done for the Corona Virus. In addition, the federal government has un-used and under-utilized property that could be contributed to the reparations fund. While some of this land may be less desirable, it would represent value to the fund and could be monetized if necessary. This federal contribution would represent an approximately $4T contribution to the fund.
The reparations funds would be managed on the behalf of the Black American recipients by 10 Black-owned securities firms ($1T each), thereby making them significant players in the financial community with the power and ability to train future financial leaders of America. The financial management firms would commit to a minimum 6% annual rate of return to remain in the program.
Each of the 40 Million Black American qualified recipients would have the option to take the cash as a non-taxable lump sum of money or as a cash dividend (non-taxable) from the fund. Any recipient of the funds must agree not to receive any other federal government subsidies such as: food stamps, Section 8 housing voucher, etc. Also, this would assist the federal government in reducing its entitlements budget. For Black Americans stuck in the entitlement system, these funds represent access to self-sufficiency and self-determination.
The impact on the Black community would be immediate and extremely positive. Allow me to give you an example of the fund’s effect.
Assumption: family of 4, husband and wife with 2 kids (3 & 5years old)
Recipient qualifies for $250,000 times 4 family members equals $1M
Recipient chooses to leave the funds with the fund manager and receives a 6% annual dividend equal to $60,000.
In addition to their normal income, the family has $60K non-taxable income to pay for a better school, home, or new business
Assumption: Single individual (age 25)
Recipient qualifies for $250,000
Recipient chooses to payoff $50,000 in debt and purchases a home without a mortgage for $200,000.
The recipient can now continue their life debt free.
Use of the proceeds can have a myriad of potential positive and negative examples, One essential element to this program will be that anyone choosing to take their funds out of the program must enroll in a financial management course to aid them in the best course of action for using these funds. Only after a person successfully completes the course will funds be distributed.
BENEFITS of REPARATIONS
There are a significant number of benefits to this reparation program that can transform our country and attempt to make up for the nations original sin. The US budget would be less burdened with entitlement programs due to the program, thereby allowing the government to increase funding for roads, public education, and other priorities. America would be a more educated nation since more and better educational opportunities will emerge. There will be more innovation due to an increase in entrepreneurship because lack of capital cripples many small businesses. Crime will be reduced since the economic conditions for many of our fellow Black Americans will have improved significantly.
Reparations will benefit all of America and truly compensate our most deserving citizens. Also, reparations will diminish numerous social ills that plague portions of America today. Most Importantly, reparations will fairly compensate Black Americas while evenly distributing this one-time economic pain. This reparation program will help balance our nation’s budget. Reparations will begin to truly level the playing field for all Americans.
Governor John Bel Edwards has just concluded an unnecessary and premature press conference where he announced that the state will be moving to Phase 3 on Friday. When pressed for details on how that would be implemented, the governor offers no relevant response. Oh I don’t have any details, he basically says. I’m just here to throw the mayor of New Orleans under the bus. Details, he says, will be available tomorrow.
Later that same day, Mayor Cantrell steps to the podium to address a Phase 3 hungry press and population. She does so aware businesses are failing, and citizens are becoming restless. Despite the governor’s vaguely announced path forward, there’s hope that this time the Mayor won’t have the city lag behind in moving from one phase to the next. There’s hope that this time the city and state will proceed in lock-step. Yet, as the mayor begins to speak into the microphone, she deflects.
A huge, win-win, monumental, all important step forward for Orleans Parish schools is announced. Pre-K – 4th grade students are returning to in-person classes. Boom! Hallelujah! Drop the confetti. Hand out the party hats. DJ, cue the Casanova. Waiter, pass the drinks around. Not so fast. This huge, win-win, monumental, all important step forward is met with a total of zero questions. No follow ups on when will middle school and high school students return to in person classes, no questions on any protocols put in place, no questions on the data that led to this decision, nothing. Instead, the press asks the mayor a different question: Is New Orleans moving to Phase 3 or what? Answer: No.
New Orleans is not moving to Phase 3 yet. The city won’t consider moving out of Phase 2 until there’s more information from the governor. Next question: Well what about high school football then? The LHSSA says we can go hut-hut, so will the lights be turned on at Pan-Am and Tad Gormley stadiums? Shall we polish up the pig skin? Exasperated, the mayor calls a timeout. Again, she says, New Orleans is not moving to Phase 3 yet. We will remain in Phase 2. Phase 2 means Phase 2 and all the restrictions that fall under it (under Phase 2 there are no contact sports in Orleans Parish. This is widely understood).
It was then that Travers Mackel, famed local reporter, realizes that he hasn’t obtained his quota of gotcha quotes. He feigns confusion. So to be clear, he says, yes or no, are we not playing football in Orleans Parish? The mayor turns ten shades of purple, steps closer to the mic, then address him directly. Afterwards, the cleanup crew arrives as the place is emptying. They only have one question for Mr. Mackel, what do you want us to do with your old a$$hole?
The knives come out. They come out in the form of a resolution. Hey, if Orleans Parish won’t provide high school athletes with a space to run around, tackle each other, exchange spit, and sweat, while possibly exposing themselves to a contagious and potentially deadly virus, then Jefferson Parish sure will. Later, Mayor Cantrell stands at the podium again, fresh from crawling under one bus only to find herself thrown under another. First question: Mayor Cantrell, this resolution to allow Orleans Parish schools to play football in Jefferson Parish, what are you going to do about it? Obvious answer: prayer. The mayor restrains all fury and provides a proper southern response: for those schools that decide to go that route, God bless’em.
The resolution was a clear slap in the face, a move to undermine the mayor while allowing Jefferson Parish to collect some extra side money via rental fees the schools will have to pay to use the facilities.
An addendum: Is the mayor being overly cautious? Probably. Do we need her to be? Yes. New Orleans is different from other cities or parishes in the state. There’s nobody sitting around talking about, Man I can’t wait to book my next flight to Ruston or Alexandria. But for New Orleans, there are lots of tourists just waiting to invade the Quarter, the city’s progression from one phase to the next being the determining factor whether their tickets get booked or not. And with that comes more exposure to the Coronavirus, and potentially more setbacks for business, schools, and our general way of life. So the mayor’s like, Pardon me if I’m not in a rush to put our progress in jeopardy. But if you run a business you don’t want to hear that.
You’re dying out here. There’s only so many employees you can lay off or fire before you have to put up the going out of business sign. It’s a tightrope, an unprecedented one we’re all walking. Stay tuned for the next update. Until then, just so you know, New Orleans is not moving to Phase 3 yet, and Phase 2 means Phase 2. Get it? No more questions asked.
Teens, we know you might be struggling during this pandemic. Your social lives and your education have been upended, and we know that coping with those changes can be difficult. If you’re staying up to date on COVID-19 news, you know that certain groups are more at risk during this pandemic than others. You may not personally be high risk, but you likely know or love someone who is over the age of 60 and/or has preexisting conditions. Surveys have shown that many adolescents have rising anxiety over the health of your family members, which can make any of your normal stressors even worse.
In this strange time of social distancing, your anxiety is at an all time high, while your level of support may be at an all time low. We know you are stuck at home without your usual social groups and routines, so we want to offer some non-traditional support options so that you and your family can feel safe from the outside world. Luckily, there are considerable online resources on everything from home security to emotional support to addiction management that can help you to feel more at ease. Take a look at the list of mental health resources that we’ve compiled below, and then keep scrolling for support on issues related to cyberbullying, substance abuse, smartphone addiction, and more.
This organization delivers the top scientific information on mental health in an accessible, easy to understand format. They also have tips and resources specific to issues surrounding COVID-19. Their information is delivered in a variety of formats including videos, animations, brochures, e-books, face-to-face training programs, and online training programs.
SAHM is an award-winning organization that focuses on improving young adult’s mental health through clinical practice, care delivery, research, advocacy, and professional development. In addition to their usual mental health services, they are now offering help with new stressors related to COVID-19 like teen mental health and coping, parenting and caring for one’s family, resources for online education, guide to discussing social distancing, and sexual health considerations.
This lifeline understands the reality of young adult mental health and the serious danger of suicide. Youth Suicide Prevention doesn’t ever disregard your feelings because of your age or assume that you are just seeking attention. They offer coping resources and helpful guides to making safety plans. You can visit this site, Text “START” to 741-741, or call 1-800-273-8255 if you would rather talk to someone.
SPRC focuses on preventing suicide through a series of steps that are systematic and data-driven. They offer education, screening, treatment through their programs and practices to best meet a variety of needs. They have a goal to increase “help-seeking” and they aim to address many of the barriers that might prevent you from reaching out.
This nonprofit organization partners with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. JED recognizes that teens are becoming overwhelmed by anxiety as this pandemic continues, so they have developed a Coronavirus Mental Health Resource Guide specific to young adults.
This organization focuses on providing resources for everything related to teen health including mental health and suicide prevention, stress management, sexual health, drugs and alcohol, and physical health. Their site is designed to provide resources to you, your friends, your parents, your mentors and the people who care about you most to best help you stay safe, happy and healthy. They also offer helpful podcasts and videos.
NAMI started as just a group of like-minded families, but it has become the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to helping the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. They also recognize that COVID-19 is posing additional challenges to people living with mental illness and are providing information and support to help.
This unique organization is a NAMI and Tumblr community where teens and young adults can safely talk about their mental health by sharing stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope. Ok2Talk allows anyone to post thoughts, poems, inspirational quotes, photos, videos, song lyrics and messages of support in a safe, moderated space.
This app offers free evidence based mental health based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and it helps you take charge of your anxiety. It provides quick tips for shifting your thinking, breathing, and coping with issues as they arise. It also has features for keeping a thought journal, facing fears, and expanding your comfort zone.
This app was created by teen sister and brother who realized the importance of being able to tell someone the moment that they knew they were “notOK” and developed this app to meet that need. When you download the app, you select 5 trusted contacts who you want to communicate with if you are not ok. When you are in need, you simply open the app, push the red button, and the app will immediately alert your trusted contacts and even send out your GPS location.
These apps address a variety of needs including but not limited to anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, OCD, and suicide prevention. These apps are either reasonably priced or free and can offer you quick assistance when you need it.
Cyberbullying has become so wide-spread that you likely know someone who has been a victim – maybe you personally have had to face those online attacks. Unfortunately, now that everyone is online so much more, there may be even more instances of cyberbullying. Dr. Sameer Hinduja said that certain groups may be more prone to fall victim to online bullying during this pandemic: “It is also very possible that xenophobic or racist cyberbullying may go up,” she said, referencing parent complaints that their Asian children are being targeted. With this increased potential for harassment and without teachers and school staff to intervene, you may need to take advantage of online resources to keep your friends and yourself safe from cyberbullying.
This site helps to explain what cyberbullying really involves. This form of harassment takes many forms and Teens Health aims to educate parents, teachers, and teens about the potential dangers involved. It also offers a helpful guide for what to do if you become a victim and who to contact.
StopBullying addresses the danger young adults face online, and they offer a list of warning signs to watch out for in your friends or loved ones. If you are a victim of cyberbullying, they also have a guide to “Get Help Now” that tells you who to contact in a variety of scenarios.
This organization offers a list of “Top Ten Tips for Teens” who are targeted by cyberbullying. The Cyberbullying Research Center suggests blocking bullies and even reporting their posts to the platform provider. They also have resources that you can use to educate other teens to help keep you and your friends safe while online.
This organization cares about the ideas and opinions of kids and teens and offers videos and resources to help victims understand that they are not alone. You can peruse their support options or listen to advice from real teens.
This app gives students and schools an opportunity to prevent bullying by increasing reporting. It allows students to anonymously report incidents through either the website or the phone app. When you use this app to report cyberbullying, you are not only helping victims, but you are also empowering yourself by standing up against harassment.
Substance Abuse Addiction
Among teens, abusing substances as a way to cope with your isolation and anxiety is not uncommon. Since there are no legal recreational substances for teenagers, those who are utilizing illicit substances are doing it in secret, which is even more dangerous. Due to your age, you are already at a higher risk for mental illness and depression, and social isolation and pandemic worries make those concerns even worse. It’s understandable that you are looking for distraction or comfort during this time, but misused substances pose serious dangers to your health. If you or a friend have found yourself in this situation, please seek out one of these resources.
This organization talks about the dangers of recreational teenage drug use developing into long-term adult addiction. They recognize the additional pressures from COVID-19, and they make it easy to contact a professional, even during this time of social distancing. From their home page, you can easily call for help, or request that a professional call you.
SAMHSA offers support for both mental illness and substance abuse, recognizing that often those issues go together. While they do not provide professional counseling, they can put you in touch with professionals who can help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service.
This organization recognizes that teens have different needs than older substance abusers. They have research-based treatment models that aim to address the unique circumstances related to age and life experiences of a teen or young adult. They also believe in utilizing community, family, and peer support to overcome substance abuse. You can call them at (888) 832-7603 or request that a professional call you.
Smartphone and Device Addiction
Drugs and alcohol are the first things that come to mind when you think of addiction, but your phones and devices can also be extremely habit-forming. As you find yourself at home and alone more now than ever, you are likely to become even more wrapped up in your phones and devices. While it may seem like a harmless outlet, there is actually considerable evidence that smartphone addiction and social media are negatively affecting mental health, making device-addicted teens more likely to struggle with depression and anxiety, as well as sleeplessness and impulsive behavior. In fact, between the years of between 2011 and 2015, there was a spike of major depressive episodes among teens increasing by 50 percent within those few years. San Diego State University Professor Jean Twenge says that smartphone use has replaced time that teens would normally spend socializing in person or sleeping.
While you are stuck at home, you are likely increasing your screen time, and since school is remote and online for many of you, you may find yourself using devices over 7 hours a day. Teens are becoming hyper-connected to their devices even though many realize that they are online too often. Smartphone and device addiction can cause chemical disruptions in the brain, meaning that this type of addiction could be associated with damaged cognitive and emotional processing. If you or your friends are finding it impossible to disconnect, look into the resources below.
This resource explains that smartphone addiction can cause issues related to virtual relationships, information overload, cybersex addiction, and online compulsions. They describe warning signs, and withdrawal symptoms, and self-helps guides for quitting the habit. Their step-by-step guide and goal-setting plan can help you to reduce your internet use without added anxiety.
This guide offers tips for incorporating different habits into your daily routines. They suggest easy to apply changes, like not bringing your phone into your bedroom, turning off notifications, or keeping your bathroom tech free. These changes still allow you to use your devices when you actually need them, but limit any other use.
Alright, we’ve talked about how this pandemic is causing increases in mental health issues, cyberbullying and addictions, but now we want to share some alternative outlets to keep your mind off all the stressors. Exercise can be a major help when it comes to staying physically and mentally healthy. In fact, research suggests that elevated levels of aerobic activity and strength training can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Of course, exercising is more difficult to do in isolation with limited equipment, so you may need some additional resources to help you get started. If workout programs aren’t your favorite pastime, check out our list of other game and activity resources below.
This app provides unlimited access to thousands of work-outs, with 30 new ones added each week. Their focus is on developing wellness through exercise and they adapt to all skill levels.There are expert trainers to guide and support you through each workout, and you can even incorporate your favorite music.
This app will help you fight boredom in your workout by providing unique, curated content throughout the day in addition to on demand work out programs. They also have a feature that lets you export your workout schedule to your calendar app so that you can plan your days to include exercise while social isolating.
This program also offers an anywhere anytime workout model, but they focus on developing a dance physique. They have both live classes and on demand options. DanceBody has a free trial so that you can determine if it’s a good fit for you.
Many of your favorite outdoor activities are still safe during COVID as long as you practice safe distancing. The Mayo Clinic has a list of those safe activities that will help you keep your body active and your spirits up. Some of the activities they suggest are walking, running, hiking and biking.
Although you may be trying to limit your social media usage, you will likely still want to connect with friends from a safe distance. The house party app is free, and it allows you to video chat on any wifi enabled device without the public interactions on other apps.
Bunch is a free gaming app that brings people together through the games they love, even when they are physically apart. Basically, it allows people to group video chat while playing their favorite multiplayer games. It offers silly low risk games that are fun for all ages and skill levels.
In addition to physical activity, meditation and self-reflection can be essential for keeping your mind healthy. The National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health says that studies have investigated meditation benefits for different conditions. Taking time to meditate may be exactly what you need to disconnect from social media and find peace in your mind and home. If you are interested in meditation, but don’t know where to start, we have a list of resources to help you get started.
Headspace is a meditation and sleep app that has a “How to Meditate Guide” for beginners. They are committed to both providing expertise in meditation and also studying the science of meditation. Their goal is to increase the health and happiness for all of their users.
Calm is an app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. They also have body-focused video lessons on mindful movement and gentle stretching so that you can also incorporate some light exercise. Calm uses nature scenes and sounds to enjoy while relaxing, sleeping, working or studying.
This app focuses on meditation, stress management, sleep and happiness. Ten Percent Happier utilizes the expertise of highly accomplished meditation teachers, and they have a “Basics” guide for beginners who want to get started in meditation. Additionally, they have a Coronavirus Sanity Guide that may help you find your center during this strange time.
There are a myriad of mental and emotional obstacles that you as teenagers must navigate in near isolation during the pandemic. You may feel lonely without your usual school and social environments, which can make it especially difficult to cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Since you are spending more time online than ever, you are at greater risk of cyberbullying and developing smartphone addiction. You may also be more sedentary than usual, not exercising or taking care of your physical health. Luckily, there are online resources, apps, communities and people out there that can help. Use our safety guide and reference links above to find the specific support you need, and most importantly, please remember that you are not alone in your struggles with the pandemic.
THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SAFETY.COM
STFU: If You Don’t Answer the Census
by CC Campbell Rock
It’s that time again. Once in a decade, U.S. residents are asked to answer the Census. It’s common knowledge, particularly in the African-American community, that there is a matrix of fear about answering the federal head count. In 2020, however red flags are popping up that indicate it’s more important than ever to stand up and be counted and answer the Census.
One red flag was last week’s ruling by a federal judge that put a temporary halt to the Trump Administration’s effort to end the Census count prematurely on September 30, instead of October 31, 2020.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California issued the restraining order in favor of challengers led by the National Urban League, who filed an emergency request as part of a federal lawsuit. The order is expected to remain in effect until a court hearing is held on Sept. 17 for the plaintiffs’ request for a court order that would require counting to continue through the end of October.
This is not the first time the Trump Administration tried to finagle with the Census count. Last July, a New York judge permanently blocked Trump’s effort to target immigrants by putting a citizenship question on the Census form.
It is abundantly clear, that Trump’s maneuvers are designed to stop the flow of federal funding to the states, which fund programs that help all of us.
Billions of federal dollars are allocated each year for programs and services based on Census-derived . Here are a few:
Maternal and child health programs, Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),WIC, Social Service Block Grant, Foster Care (Title IV-E),Head Start/Early Head Start, Federal Pell Grants. School Nutrition, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (LA-CHIP), Homeland Security , FEMA, Highway Planning & Construction, Crime Victim Assistance. Community Facilities Loans/Grants. Section 8 Housing Program, Special Education (IDEA funds), after school programs, classroom technology, free and reduced-price school lunches, affordable housing, etc.
Those critical programs get less funding when citizens are not counted. And police, firefighters, infrastructure improvements, and essential city services are also underfunded. Without proper funding, a city can’t increase the quality of life for its residents.
Additionally, redistricting is also based on Census data. Not answering the Census opens the door to structural racism in elective offices.
In Louisiana, legislators used Census data to gerrymander state and federal districts to keep themselves in power and to suppress the vote of people of color. This is the primary reason why out of Louisiana’s six U.S. congressional seats only one is held by an African-American- New Orleans’ U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond.
New Orleans lost one Congressional seat due to an under-count in the 2000 Census. East Baton Rouge Parish, which is predominately African-American, has been gerrymandered such that they can’t elect a person of color to represent them, even if they wanted to. Conservative Republicans dominate the Louisiana legislature because of the census under-count.
After assessing the current Census count in New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s Administration issued an Emergency Update. The city of New Orleans is behind in its Census Count. To date, only 56.6 percent of residents have answered the Census.
“This is an emergency now,” says Arthur Walton, the director of Intergovernmental Relations and chair of the Mayor’s Complete Count Committee, who explained that COVID-19 has made getting an accurate count difficult. “The city had a slate of cultural activities planned,” to inspire citizens to answer the Census but the events were cancelled in lieu of the state’s safer at home program that was designed to contain the virus.
The City of New Orleans’ NOLA Counts: Be in That Number Campaign enlisted the help of celebrities, elected officials, and others to encourage citizens to stand up and be counted including:
Watch these important videos
Demario Davis New Orleans Saints Linebacker
Mayor Cantrell with Head Start Kids Census PSA
Mama Jamilah (Ashe’ Cultural Center)
People are still going door to door as Census workers did in the past. But Walton, the “Census quarterback,” says “For the first time people can do the Census online using their home computers, cell phones, or house phones. It only takes 10 minutes to answer the nine-question form.
Regarding people’s aversion to answering the Census, Walton says, “The president is not going to have your address.” Records are sealed for 77 years. And Census workers take an oath not to disclose personal information. “Amazon asks for more information than the Census,” he says jokingly.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem because Joseph, his father and his mother, Mary, had to journey to Bethlehem to answer the Census. Joseph was going to his father’s house to be counted. “The Census is in the Bible, Luke, Chapter 2,” Walton continues.
Most importantly, New Orleans needs an accurate count to receive its fair share. The feds will disperse $1.8 trillion to states based on Census data. Answering the Census is more important than ever. As a result of COVID-19, cities and states have had to spend money they didn’t anticipate. City budgets now have gaping holes with the possibility of layoffs in the near future.
FUNDS DIRECTLY HELP LOCALS
“During this pandemic, we need every dollar we’re entitled to,” Walton affirms. Offering an example of how the feds distributes taxpayer dollars, Walton adds, “For the CARES ACT, if you were a city of 500,000 or more you received between $1.5 and $1.8 billion directly. If you aren’t, you’re getting your money from the state. In our case, the majority red legislature appropriated money to New Orleans.”
You know the importance of each one of us standing up and being counted. Census funds provide better streets and essential services. Your descendants benefit too. The Census documents your existence. This becomes a primary source of data for descendants who want to trace their roots and family tree. African-Americans can trace their ancestry back to at least 1890, when the first American Census was taken.
The Census is a tool for Blacks to assert their constitutional rights. Intentional under-counts continues to deny Black representation in public office, Answering Census in 2020 is the remedy.
The three-fifths clause (Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution of 1787 declared that for purposes of representation in Congress, enslaved blacks in a state would be counted as three-fifths of the number of white inhabitants of that state. The three-fifths clause remained in force until the post-Civil War 13th Amendment freed all enslaved people in the United States, the 14th amendment gave them full citizenship, and the 15th Amendment granted black men the right to vote.
“I’m encouraging the community to share cell phones, tablets, and laptops with their neighbors, friends, and family members to help them fill out the Census,” Walton says. “You might be sitting on your couch right now and you can fill the Census out while you’re sitting there. Do it now.”
In the beginning neither one of them wanted anything. The agreement was it was just going to be sex nothing else. They both knew what they were signing up for from the start. I mean what could possibly go wrong?
Over time just sex turned into pillow talk. From simple conversation after to spending time and doing things together what was supposed to be casual sex had become something different. At least that was the case in one person’s eyes. For they were past the just sex – it’s looking more like a relationship.
One day she asked the question, “what are we?” He replied, “we are friends”. She felt a way about that, because at that point that were doing way more than friend stuff. Time had past, and she thought they were growing into more. She was pissed to say the least.
The next thing she asked was, “when do you think it was going to be more”? He simply answered, “you already know what it was.” They ended up falling out, and let her tell it he played her. He had wasted her time and used her up. The truth is he hadn’t done anything wrong.
The moral to the story is be real with yourself about what you want. Don’t settle for one thing knowing you want more. Or if you feel as though your needs and wants are changing, let the other person know. If they aren’t where you are, then it is up to you whether you stay or you leave. Just remember if that person is honest with you, they are no longer responsible for what you accept or expect. If you sign up for it and end up disappointed it ain’t his fault.
We talked to a top doctor to get his strategies.
by Kelly Glass
Colorectal cancer is the third-most-common cancer in American men, and Black men have a more than 20 percent higher risk than white men. And there’s recently been a spike in colon cancer in young men. Fortunately, there is plenty all of us can do to try to prevent it. This is what gastroenterologist Darrell M. Gray II, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center does to reduce his risk.
Go easy on alcohol
When I’m at a social function, I carry a carbonated beverage with me. Alcohol, especially for men, is linked with a higher risk of colon cancer. People who have two drinks a day or more raise their risk as much as one and a half times that of people who don’t drink at all. The occasional glass of red wine is enough for me.
Watch the red meat
I generally aim to avoid red meat, since it’s been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. While, if we’re being honest, nothing exactly matches the taste and texture of a nice steak, a fresh, well-seasoned, cooked-just-right piece of fish takes up as much space on the plate and can be just as, if not more, satisfying to me.
Get moving to reduce colon cancer risk
Between meetings, procedures, patients, and research, you might catch me doing pushups in my office. Maintaining a consistent workout routine is challenging with my schedule, but I fit it in between appointments or by cycling or walking with my wife and three kids. Even adding moderate activity to a sedentary life can reduce colon-cancer risk by up to 24 percent.
Know your family history
I have a friend who says that “family secrets kill families.” Find out about your family’s medical history. With colorectal cancer, knowing if someone had it—and when—can change when you should get screened. Usually we recommend starting at age 45. But if an immediate family member was diagnosed, you might need a colonoscopy at age 40 or earlier.
Manage your stress
Stress can make everything else I do harder. So when I’m moving through my many commitments, I’m also focusing on my breathing. If stress arises, I acknowledge the cause and then I slowly and thoughtfully inhale and exhale. It helps me recenter. I’ve seen stress cause people to smoke, drink alcohol, eat excessively, or be sedentary—and all those things can increase the risk of colon cancer.
A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Men’s Health, with the title “Doctor’s Guide to Colon Cancer.”
Coping with mixed feelings about returning to school.
Source: Getty Images
by Elissa R. Gross, Psy.D.
Kids have mixed feelings about returning to school this fall; both excited and apprehensive. While most look forward to seeing their friends, being less “cooped up” and enjoying more social interaction, many also feel scared, nervous and reluctant. And it’s important for parents to be aware of this.
There is still so much uncertainty surrounding what to expect with changing schedules, including rotating in and out of school and having a “hybrid” of in-person classes and online work. For many, returning to school may be especially hard after getting comfortable being at home. Others worry about having to wear masks all day and being physically distanced from friends and teachers.
In order to best help our kids and teens prepare for the return to the classroom, we must first understand both our own and our children’s feelings about the transition back to school. With this awareness, we as parents can do several things to support our kids during this difficult time.
The following are some recommendations to help parents understand and better cope with their own feelings about their children’s return to school.
1. Accept that there is no “right” answer.
Many parents feel full of dread, panic, and apprehension about the decision about whether to send their kids back to school.
Accept that you will feel conflicted about the decision you are facing.
Realize that there is no one right answer.
Focus on the risks and benefits, and then use this information to make rational choices.
Once you come up with a plan, you will most likely have to deal with the feelings of worry, guilt, fear and uncertainty.
Work on accepting difficult thoughts and feelings as opposed to struggling against them.
2. Acknowledge that we cannot control what will happen once our kids go back to school.
Most parents don’t feel satisfied with the options presented to them, and may need to work on accepting that this is the best we can do right now.
It is important to accept that we cannot predict what will happen.
It will help to stop trying to fight the feelings of discomfort and uncertainty, but rather to accept that these feelings are normal and do your best to stay focused on the positive aspects of the return to school.
Know that it’s normal to be worried and uncomfortable
Distinguish between productive and unproductive worries. You will be worried, but it’s what you do with the worry that is important. For example, if you are concerned that your kids will not follow the rules of social distancing, do not ruminate about this, but rather, make sure to review and reinforce them.
Consider the logistics about blended learning, and then problem solve and make concrete decisions about how your family will manage a revolving schedule/ hybrid approach to education.
Try to focus on the positive as opposed to the negative; predicting that this will “not work” may increase your own anxiety, and ultimately your children’s anxiety.
3. Some of the worries children and teens may be experiencing:
The sudden and unexpected changes that lockdown imposed on everyone are likely to have left kids and teens feeling very uncertain. For some there is fear of a second wave of Covid and a second lockdown.
Many kids and teens have a general sense that things used to be safe and now they aren’t.
Many kids may lack confidence in the adults in their lives because adults are having trouble agreeing about what to do.
Kids’ sense that they can rely on adults has been diminished.
Some kids feel safer at home; the lockdown has been a “respite” for many kids and teens. Some kids feel safer at home than in public, and therefore returning to school may be more stressful.
Different kids have different coping skills in dealing with these experiences. Those with less effective coping skills may struggle more with anxiety about returning to school.
Many kids and teens are experiencing feelings of grief and loss over the many changes in lifestyle that they have experienced.
Most kids and teens feel that going back to “Normal” isn’t the same after covid 19. Many worry that it will be difficult to make new friends with the social distancing rules and the hybrid schedule.
Being away from school and returning to an environment that has changed can be anxiety-provoking, especially when there is still so much unknown about how schools will handle day to day life and maintain safety precautions.
4. Once parents understand their own, and their children’s, concerns about returning to school this fall, the following are some ways that parents can support their kids and teens with the transition:
Have an open conversation about how your kids are feeling about going back to school. Try to be proactive about these conversations, making sure to stay as calm as possible. Try hard to manage your own emotions about it.
Validate your kids’ feelings and make sure that they know that feeling nervous, worried, scared, conflicted etc. is normal.
Reassure them about safety measures being put in place.
Remind them of the positives, such as seeing their friends and meeting their new teachers.
If school is starting slowly/rotations etc, your child may be worried about not being with his or her friends. Encourage ongoing contact with friends he/she won’t be in school with via things like facetime etc.
Problem solve any concerns together. For example, how they will manage their schoolwork when feeling stressed about the changes in routine, and about Covid 19 in general.
Kids may be distressed about having to wear masks all day. Validate their concerns and frustration, while also reminding them of how important it is to wear masks to prevent the spread and keep them safe.
Remind them that even though they are going back to school, they still need to follow precautions such as frequent handwashing, covering a cough or sneeze.
Be aware of your children’s mental health: notice things like anxiety (e.g., difficulty sleeping and concentrating) and depression (e.g., sadness, lack of motivation, crying, changes in sleeping and eating patterns). Address these issues right away by talking to your child and then seeking counseling if indicated.
Keep the focus on helping kids to know what they can control; for example, practical things like organizing and preparing for school, washing hands, wearing masks, and following the rules of social distancing.
Encourage an ongoing and open dialogue with your kids and teens as they return to school. Be proactive in asking how school is going, what it is like for them, and what things are going well and what things are difficult.
Make sure your kids know that it is ok to share all their feelings about school, especially their concerns and things they find stressful so you can work to problem solve as you go along.
BLACK AMERICANS’ KICK THE 21ST CENTURY CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT INTO HIGH GEAR
Thousands converged on the U.S. Capitol on August 28, 2020 to recommit to the calls for justice made on August 28, 1963. In 1963 was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his legendary “I Have A Dream” speech.
More than a half-century later, the demands are the same with an added caveat: Speakers called for an end to the killing of unarmed black men, women, and children. Remember the 1955 mob lynching murder of Emmitt Till. That horror galvanized the modern civil rights movement.
The theme of the 2020 Commitment March was “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.” The protest to the killing of George Floyd by police, who knelt on his neck for eight minutes and forty-seconds. Floyd’s family demanded justice at the Lincoln Memorial. Representatives of more than 20 unarmed blacks killed by police were present.
Victims of Police Violence and Systemic Racism
Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Elijah McClain, Botham Jean, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Antwon Rose, Terrence Crutcher, Atatiana Jefferson, Jemel Roberson, Joel Acevedo, Dontre Hamilton, Michael Brown, David Jones, Emanuel Lee, Sandra Bland, and more.
Also present was the family of Jacob Blake, the unarmed black man who was shot seven times in the back at point blank range by a Milwaukee cop.
Organized by Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, and Martin Luther King, III, the son of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., elected officials, union leaders, church leaders, civil rights leaders and families of slain victims demanded justice but also legislation to protect black lives and to finally deliver equality.
From Protest to Legislation
The move from protest marching and demonstrations to a focus on legislation signals the beginning of a new strategy in the 21st Century Justice Movement. Black leaders have always brought political pressure on whites, who at one point, held all the elected offices. What is different today is that more black and brown people are holding elective positions. And now multigeneration, multicultural groups are in the streets protesting. Now people of color and whites know that the only way to secure justice is at the ballot box. Only then can lobbying for change at local, state, and federal legislators be successful.
Speakers at the Commitment March made several demands-
a federal ban on chokeholds
the elimination of no knock warrants
personal liability insurance for cops
the release of non-violent offenders from prison
an end to mandatory minimum sentencing
the abolishment of the death penalty
less restrictive voting
and reforms in health care, housing, and a living wage, among others.
Martin Luther King III Speaks
“Dad said, ‘Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.’ He challenged us to become drum majors for justice. If you’re looking for a savior, get up and find a mirror. We must demand the U.S. Senate stop blocking the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act…Raise the minimum wage, demilitarize the police, get into good trouble, Non-violence doesn’t mean passivity.”
Rev Al Sharpton
According to Reverend Al Sharpton, “We want this country to know, your brutality and bigotry can’t rob us of our dreams, we are the dream keepers, which is why we come today, black, white, all religions and sexual orientations, you may have killed the dreamer but you can’t kill the dream, we are going to make this dream come true.
“We all should leave her committed to keeping this dream alive. Everyone who wants to help on election day, be poll watchers, sign up, early voting starts in two weeks. We have to have foot soldiers to protect our vote, but we are not going to submit anymore, you’re going to get your knee off of our necks. Enough is enough….no justice, no peace,”
Talib McMillan, a policy advisor for the National Action Network, said, “We find ourselves here in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. We’re not here to negotiate or ask for justice, we are here to demand justice…it’s time for legislation to invest in education, mental health services, in communities and in HBCUS. We don’t just deserve a quarter of the dollar but the whole dollar…we’ve come to let the teller at the bank know this check better not bounce…we come to cash a check to demand justice.”
“We’ve come back to say today that our fight for racial justice is not negotiable. Purging our system of systemic racism and our right to vote is not negotiable, defending our right to a living wage, not negotiable; equitable funding for our school children, supplying rural areas with broadband is not negotiable, a fair Census, eliminating the structural shameful disparate impact of COVID-19, not negotiable; police reform, mental health services, homeless services, deaths of our black people are not negotiable. We’re here to make demands, George Floyd Justice in Policing Act must be passed, pass the Heroes Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and HR 40,” advised Marc H. Morial, NUL President and former mayor of New Orleans.
“Yes, it is possible to write budgets that address the needs of black lives,” Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley told the gathering.
Two days before the Commitment March, the Milwaukee Bucks walked out of the NBA playoffs, determined to demonstrate against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, their home base.
Professional Sports Teams Protest
They were followed by the rest of the NBA teams, the WNBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, and several NFL teams cancelled practices. The athletes did more than just walk away from their scheduled games. The Milwaukee Bucks team managers and coaches called the state’s Governor Tony Evers and the Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and issued a demand for police reform legislation.
After several meetings, the NBA and the NBAPA (National Basketball Players Association) followed announced an “action” agenda and a slate of demands. The NBA and NBAPA agreed to form a social justice coalition to interface with governors and elected officials in their respective states. Hey plan to come up with legislation that leads to meaningful police and criminal justice reform. Players want to convert facilities owned by the teams into polling places for the 2020 general election. The NBA will work with networks to run an ad campaign in each playoff game to promote voting.
In an interview on AM Joy Show on MSNBC , Martin L. King, III said “We’ve got to change the direction of the U.S. Senate and the presidency. We have to vote but there is another strategy we can use, economic withdrawal.” King reminded us his father and the other civil rights leaders used economic boycott against the Montgomery Bus Company.
“Blacks spend $1.4 trillion annually. If black people used that power, politicians would come talk to us. And, instead of just marching, we need young people to run and get elected to offices at the local, state, and federal levels.”