Lifecourse Initiative for HealthY Families (LIHF) Celebrates JuneteentH: Moving from Promises TO ActionRead Now
As we embark on Juneteenth Day, the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States, it is somewhat surreal to think that 157 years later Black people are still subject to the residual bondages of slavery. Slavery was abolished with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but the news did not reach Texas until two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865. One year later, those who had been enslaved started Juneteenth/Freedom Day. This year as we commemorate Juneteenth, we find ourselves in the middle of two pandemics: a health crisis – COVID-19 - and a social justice crisis of police brutality, both exasperated by the social construct of racism.
Across the country, African Americans have died from COVID19 at a rate of 50.3 per 100,000 people, compared with 20.7 for whites. In addition, we are suffering from loss of jobs, access to health care, as well as educational opportunities for our children due to structural racism. We are also facing a racial pandemic before the entire world. Black men and women are unjustly being killed by law enforcement. The racial and social injustice through the blatant murder and blood shed of innocent Black lives started centuries ago by public lynching continues today. The most recent outcry started with the senseless public murder of George Floyd a few weeks ago that was captured on video for the world to experience.
While police brutality, social injustice, systemic oppression and racism are not new to our community, they do have a profound effect on our mental and physical wellbeing. Stressful life events have been shown to predict mortality in initially healthy populations (Rosengren et al., 1993). African Americans…have been impacted greatly by hypertension and diabetes due to chronic stress resulting from discrimination (Williams & Neighbors, 2001; Kaholokula et al, 2010; McClure et al, 2010). Stress due to experiences of racism can contribute to adverse birth outcomes, when combined with the effects of general and maternal stress (Nuru-Jeter et al, 2009; Dominguez et al, 2008; Canady et al, 2008).
As we are facing these critical times, it is important that LIHF publicly reinforces our commitment to the Black community to move from Promises to Action through our LIHF 2.0 model. As we promised, we are committed to addressing systemic oppression for the betterment of lives of all Black/African American people in Wisconsin. Now more than ever, it is critical that we leverage our resources to expeditiously move into action for our Black families in the state and our nation. First and foremost, I want to reaffirm our commitment to actively help and support the efforts to dismantle racism and work with our stakeholders to build safer and equitable communities for all Black families to thrive. I also want to share an excerpt of how we will move our work forward in commitment. Using an asset-based community approach,
We commit to:
Participating in social justice reform, we will work to ensure that racism is eradicated.
As the Director of the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families (LIHF), I am proud to share that our team is working together with our stakeholders and partners to mobilize and come together for collective change to end this systemic torture. And despite the current climate, we remain hopeful and will continue to reflect on the commitment and sacrifices of our predecessors and civil rights leaders from the recent past. We will use the data to develop strategies to continue to build the capacity of the black community and partner with it to build on the strengths to advance change. Finally, we will focus on our future generations and in that spirt, we will do our work to ensure a better America for our next generation.
On behalf of the entire LIHF Team,
Gina Green-Harris, Director
Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families (LIHF)
Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families Announces New Partnership
Posted on August 12, 2019
The Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families, with continued support from the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), is pleased to announce that it will continue and enhance its work in Southeastern Wisconsin to improve birth outcomes for African American families.
The Lifecourse Initiative is expanding to include a new partnership with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (PHI). The Lifecourse Initiative is using a new grant totaling $970,000 from the Wisconsin Partnership Program to build the strategic initiative’s infrastructure, pilot community capacity-building strategies, and increase awareness of strategies to reduce black-white disparities in birth outcomes for African American women, with a priority area of chronic stress.
The work will take place over the next 18 months. The Initiative continues to be led by Gina Green-Harris, MBA, director of the Lifecourse Initiative, and brings the new addition of Sheri Johnson, PhD, director of the PHI at the UW SMPH, who serves as the academic partner.
Read the recent press release.