The Women of Color ‘Solutionaries’ Who Are Taking On Detroit’s Deep Divisions

“Nobody asked us if we wanted a new hockey stadium in the middle of the city,” said community activist Sajeda Ahmed, in an interview for a new report on the role of women of color on the future of Detroit. “Nobody asked our opinion, and we’re the ones who have to live around it and deal with everything that comes along with it.”

It’s hardly surprising that Ahmed, a Bangladeshi-American woman, isn’t much of a Red Wings fan. White men completely dominate hockey. As a community activist in a city ravaged by poverty and joblessness, she can think of many needs more pressing than an ice rink.

So who exactly was behind the new Detroit hockey arena that opened last month? That would be Mike Ilitch, the billionaire owner of the Red Wings and Little Caesars Pizza. Although he died in February of this year, Ilitch is credited with selling the arena plan to local officials and obtaining about $ 324 million in public subsidies for the project.

This is only one example of billionaire-driven development in Detroit. Dan Gilbert, who made a fortune as the founder of Quicken Loans, now runs a venture capital company that has bought more than 90 buildings in Detroit’s urban core – enough to earn the area the nickname “Gilbertville.”

Asked how she would handle Detroit’s re-development efforts, Ahmed said, “Definitely the first thing I’d do is make sure that women’s voices are heard. That’s something that we have not seen so far in this revitalization. It’s been big businessmen and policymakers making all these decisions.”

The importance of giving women of color a seat at the table is a major theme of “I Dream Detroit: The Voice and Vision of Women of Color on Detroit’s Future,” a new Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) report based on in-depth interviews, focus groups, and surveys with Black, Latina, Arab, and Asian women across the city.

Women of color make up 47 percent of Detroit’s population and yet more than 70 percent of those that participated in an IPS survey said they do not feel included in city’s economic development plans.

Linda Campbell, one of the 20 women of color profiled in the report, has played a leadership role in several coalition efforts to steer economic resources towards low-income residents. She’s contributed to efforts to increase the local minimum wage, ensure access to affordable housing, and leverage public investments in economic development for jobs and education.


Detroit’s Revival Can’t Happen Without Women of Color

Detroit is full of what the late, legendary Detroit civil rights activist, Grace Lee Boggs, called solutionaries— women who have a revolutionary fervor for solving the city’s deep-rooted, chronic problems that threaten true, long-lasting revival of the city. The Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies spent a year surveying 500 women of color solutionairies through focus groups and a citywide survey in response to their near absence from the story about Detroit’s comeback. What we found is relayed in our new report, “I Dream Detroit: The Voice and Vision of Women of Color on Detroit’s Future.”

Solutionary women of color across the city work tirelessly to address problems like the fact that 33 percent of African-American and Latino boys do not graduate from high school. They support families caught in the crisis caused by the water department shutting off 30,000 delinquent residential accounts in 2016. And they help Detroiters who want to work, but are challenged by the fact that only 16 percent of the region’s jobs are within city limits and regional transportation is limited.

Detroit’s solutionaries are anchors within their communities; architects who build badly needed infrastructure that meet basic human needs; entrepreneurs who create jobs for people that the labor market overlooks; and advocates who represent the interests of those at the margins, as elected officials and leaders of community-based organizations. Most of the realities they confront are inextricably linked to poverty, a condition plaguing 40 percent of Detroiters, including a whopping 57 percent of the city’s children.

Read the full article in the Detroit News.


It’s Not Too Late to Reverse the Road to Zero Wealth for Households of Color

What would U.S. society be like if a majority of families had no wealth – no savings, no home equity, no investments of any kind?

That is exactly where the country is headed if we continue on our current path toward economic dystopia for black and Latino families.

While we celebrate a modest reduction in poverty rates and an encouraging uptick in median income, as disclosed in this week’s Census report, the stagnation and decline of wealth remains a troubling indicator.

Between 1983 and 2013, median black household wealth decreased by 75%  to $ 1,700 and Latino household wealth fell 50% to $ 2,000. At the same time, median white household wealth rose 14% to $ 116,800.

If this trend continues, an African American born in 2013 will see her household wealth hit zero by the time she turns 40. Her Latino peers will suffer the same fate 20 years later.

This is happening as households of color make up a growing share of the population and are projected to reach majority status by 2043. If the accelerating racial wealth divide isn’t halted, a majority of U.S. households will no longer have enough wealth to stake a claim in the middle class. The consequences for the economy and society as a whole will be devastating as racial and political polarization deepens and intensifies.

A combination of bold societal and policy changes is the only way out of this crisis.

We have a choice to make. Do we want to become a country like Brazil where staggering wealth inequality is the norm? Or do we want to be more like Canada, where there is far less inequality and greater opportunities for all?

Read the full article on USA Today.


It’s Lonely Being a Person of Color in the Sustainable Energy Sector


(Photo: Shutterstock)

Back in November, I started my job at a small progressive advocacy group in Maryland. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had a lot in common with the other new hire, who started on the same day. Not the least of which was that we were the only people of color in the office, effectively increasing the office population of folks like us from 0 to, well, 2.

My job is to coordinate a campaign for an affordable, socially just and environmentally responsible transition to clean energy in Maryland. So I meet frequently with the leaders of groups that work on climate action, clean energy, public health, green jobs and social justice. I admit that I’m still learning the ropes, but it surprises me — and increasingly worries me — that the majority of the leaders I meet are white.

I’ve been comforted to find that I’m not the only one who noticed. A group called Green2.0 first called attention to this phenomenon in 2013 with the release of their seminal survey-based report, “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations.” The results revealed an overwhelmingly white “Green Insiders’ Club,” where racial diversity among staff hadn’t broken 16 percent — the so-called “green ceiling.”

Results were no better at the leadership level. Green 2.0’s April 2017 diversity scorecard likewise showed that, among the top 40 environmental NGOs, people of color represented only 14 percent of senior staff. Despite their socially progressive reputations, these groups clearly need to do a better job of putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to diversity.

A similar phenomenon is happening on the industry side. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a directly comparable investigation into diversity in the clean energy industry, but several industry leaders have highlighted the reality.

Read the full article in the Baltimore Sun.


For Women of Color, the ‘Healthcare Gap’ is Real and Deadly


(Photo: Flickr / LaDawna Howard)

International Women’s Day, observed each year on March 8, is supposed to be about celebrating the achievements of women worldwide.

But some of the stories that connect us aren’t a cause for celebration. For example, African-American women share a similar fate as women in India, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa — death by cervical cancer.

A recent study found that women of color in America die from cervical cancer at more than twice the rate of white women in America. In fact, they’re dying at rates comparable to those in much poorer developing countries.

Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. So why is this happening?

Part of the problem is that access to that preventative care — regular check-ups at the gynecologist, Pap smears, HPV vaccines — is deeply unequal between white women and women of color, creating a stark racial gap in cervical cancer deaths. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 37 percent of Hispanic women and a third of of black women lacked health coverage in 2013 — compared with just 12 percent of white women.

Similar disparities haunt maternal and newborn care. In the United States, black infants die at twice the rate of white infants — a contrast that’s even starker in our nation’s poorest cities. In majority-black Ward 8, D.C.’s poorest neighborhood, the infant mortality rate is a devastating 10 times higher than in the city’s mostly white Ward 3.

And then, sadly, there’s breast cancer. Almost all of us know someone who is fighting or has fought breast cancer. Here again the lack of available quality cancer screenings has resulted in an increased likelihood of death from the disease for black women by no small margin — 40 percent higher when compared to whites.

The story is repeated across all of the top health threats for women: heart disease, stroke, diabetes — the list goes on, and the deaths pile up.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to help narrow these gaps by providing coverage to more people and offering incentives for preventative and primary care providers to reduce such disparities. It identifies preventative care as one of the 10 “essential health benefit” provisions that were designed to level out access.

In 2014, nearly 9 million people gained health insurance through the ACA. According to a study by the Center for Global Policy Solutions, all major racial and ethnic groups reduced their uninsured rate at almost double the rate of white Americans. The gap between Asian American women and white women all but disappeared, the gap between white and black children was eliminated, and the gap between white women and black women decreased by over 25 percent.

In states that didn’t adopt the Medicaid expansion policies in the ACA — mostly GOP-led states in the Southeast — people of color were disproportionately affected. If more red states would’ve adopted ObamaCare, we would’ve been closer to wiping out the racial healthcare gap altogether.

But with Republicans hell-bent on repealing the ACA, now even the modest strides made in increasing healthcare accessibility are in jeopardy.

Marshall Chin, a physician and healthcare ethics professor told “The Atlantic” in 2014, “We actually know a lot about how to reduce disparities. At this point it’s basically about having the national will to make reducing disparities a priority.”

But the GOP and the Trump administration have made it clear that reducing these disparities is not their priority. Their proposed replacement will cover fewer people than are covered under the current healthcare law. Many focus on limiting coverage to “catastrophic” plans, which by nature cannot be preventative.

Millions of Americans of all stripes will lose out if this haphazard effort goes forward. And it’s black women and children who will suffer the most as they, in addition to women around the world, feel the brunt of an assault on their right to live.

Domenica Ghanem is the media manager at the Institute for Policy Studies.


Here comes fall! Color, events and stronger economy point toward strong season – Conway Daily Sun

Conway Daily Sun
Here comes fall! Color, events and stronger economy point toward strong season
Conway Daily Sun
Some area attractions operate on weekends Labor Day through Columbus Day, including Attitash (603-374-2368), Wildcat (603-466-3326), Story Land (603-383-4186) and Cranmore (603-356-5543). … Children's Fairy Festival, Sept. 19: The Mount Washington


Cook | Pomegranate adds color and pizzazz on Tu B’Shevat –

Cook | Pomegranate adds color and pizzazz on Tu B'Shevat
Fresh juice and seeds are widely available now, which reduces the labor and mess of harvesting your own from a whole pomegranate. It's that ease that inspired the recipes below. Both need time to chill. kramer Pomegranate Coconut Pudding is 4 eggs


Gov't warns that color additive can cause severe allergic reactions

Japan's Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare have warned that a natural color additive widely used in processed foods, drinks, medicines and cosmetics could trigger severe allergic reactions.
See all stories on this topic »|||||||