The Top 4 New Year's Resolutions for Black America
4 months ago
Black leaders provide their wish list
Despite worries that December 21 would mark the world’s end, 2013 has arrived, and with it, the tradition of making resolutions for the new year. In homes around the country, people are vowing to eat better, exercise more, and spend less—all admirable, personal pursuits. But what if you could use the new year as an opportunity to make changes that could collectively improve the lives of black Americans?
Good news: You can. We went to some of our biggest advocates and asked where you should start. Each provided their number one resolution for African Americans. Read on to be inspired and find out why each resolution is important to having not just a happy new year, but a happy generation.
Shavon Arline-Bradley, Director of Health Programs for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
“In this new year, black America has to commit herself to strive for total health and wellness for a better future for generations to come. Start with the ABCs of physical screenings: hemoglobin A1c (diabetes), blood pressure and cholesterol. To add to this list, persons between the ages of 13 and 64 should get an annual HIV test regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or marital status. Black women, please remember to schedule pap smears and do breast exams. It is also important for black men to get annual prostate exams starting at 40 or earlier with a family history. These screenings are critical and can be the difference between life and death. The black community should also tackle key strategies to support healthy lifestyles, including increasing physical activity, improving nutrition choices, reducing stress, and addressing mental health with professional counseling and therapy. Become an advocate and support issues like equal access to health care through the Affordable Care Act and sound the alarm to build healthier schools and community environments for our children and families to live active and productive lives. The choice is yours: Will we continue down the dismal road of elevated health disparities, or will we conquer our ills and live long, healthy lives?”
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If ever there was an area where black America needs an intervention, it’s wellness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all black women age 20 and over have high blood pressure, and 54 percent are obese. And blacks are 20 percent more likely to report psychological distress than whites. This is an area where it’s easy to change your trajectory. Start by using this tool to receive a personalized checklist of health screenings you need, including detailed information on each. Then check out this list of preventive services covered by Obamacare, and find out where you can get free or low-cost care. For help with local advocacy, join your local NAACP chapter, or partner with the American Public Health Association.
Kenneth Braswell, Sr., Executive Director of Fathers Incorporated and Director of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse
“The stability of, and commitment to, family must be our number one priority in 2013. Both of those begin with a focus on our children. More than ever it will be critical that black families place children first in our priorities. In 1965, the Moynihan Report prompted America to pay attention to the formation of black families. Much of what it predicted has come to pass—73 percent of our children being born into out-of-wedlock households is proving that Black men and women are less likely to commit to each other. We are losing our sense of collective purpose and family, and because of it, the well being of our children is suffering. We need a 100 percent commitment to ensure that our children receive everything they need from both parents.”