Getting The Education And Care We Deserve: What You Need To Know And Do This Week

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There, a panel of top doctors, researchers and health professionals practically pleaded with journalists to get the word out about the importance of Blacks joining clinical trials for a variety of diseases.

One of the most outspoken advocates was Dr. Coleman Obasaju, the Senior Medical Doctor for Lilly Oncology. Calling the matter “an issue of life and death” in some cases due to the fact that African Americans represent 12% of the U.S. population but only 5% of clinical trial participants, Obasaju explained that because Black genes are often different from those from of other nationalities and ethnicities if we don’t participate, scientists will have that much of a harder time finding and developing the best drugs (and cures) for the diseases we suffer from at a significantly more disproportionate rate – hypertension, diabetes, HIV, asthma and all different forms of cancer to start. 

“One out of every two males in their lifetime will receive a cancer diagnosis in the U.S.,” Obasaju explained, “and that goes for one out of every three females. That said, every one of us are connected to the challenge of increasing the number of Black people participating in clinical trials. It is very, very important that we do not miss out on the opportunity to be engaged in the process so that any potential clinical advances that can be made in this area we can benefit from.”

Dr. Michael LeNoir, President, National Medical Association, added that he doesn’t believe our failure to sign up is due to the continued mistrust of doctors concerning racist medical experiments like the Tuskegee Syphilis Study – rather that we either didn’t know how to join one or didn’t qualify.

To find out which clinical trials are currently open and whether or not you are an ideal candidate (and by the way, did you know other groups have been getting paid thousands of dollars to participate in similar trials?!) log on to 

4. The NYPD Puts An End to Muslim Profiling

Just maybe we’re getting somewhere with the NYPD.

On Tuesday the NYPD said it had disbanded a special internal unit within the department that had been tracking the daily lives of Muslims in an attempt to keep terrorism-related crimes from happening.

Created in 2003 the Demographics Unit, with the help of a CIA agent, had been maintaining databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed and had sent plainclothes police officers into student groups, mosques and other areas. But following an evaluation of the unit new police commissioner William Bratton found the same information the cops were gathering could be obtained through direct contact with Muslim community groups. (Looking forward to leaps and bounds with the NYPD and its relationship to the Black community.)

5. Poor Black Kids Get Stuck With Terrible Teachers

There’s a new troubling study out from the Center for American Progress.

According to the Huffington Post, the center released a report on Friday that showed that low-income students of color are more likely to have not only less experienced teachers but – not too surprisingly — less quality ones.

Analyzing teacher evaluation scores in rich and poor districts in Louisiana and Massachusetts, the study found that in Louisiana a student in a school in the highest-poverty quartile was almost three times as likely to be taught by a teacher rated ineffective as a student in a school in the lowest-poverty quartile. There were similar results in other schools with high populations of students of color.

Sounds like more of us need to run and/or support candidates of color for our local school boards. The midterm elections are coming up.

I’ve spent my entire career as a civil rights activist and anti-violence advocate. I hear from folks all over the country about how fed-up they are—how much they want change—but they don’t know where to start. It’s not enough just to be informed, we’ve got to work tirelessly to do better. With the “The Lookout,” I’ll collect the most important stories and action items that you need to know about and things you can do each week, keeping you involved so you can create positive change for yourself and your community.

I want to hear from you; what’s going on in your community? What stories or events should folks know about? Leave a comment below. 

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