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Black Women of Power 2-Pack

Program #JONC001-TAYK002.


First Program: Camara Phyllis Jones – Race & Health

For more than a year the public was complaining about the drinking water in Flint, Michigan. The water was so pungent and foamy that one priest had stopped using it for baptisms. The state’s Department of Environmental Quality, confidently announced, “Anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax.” Flint is a majority African-American city. In nearby Detroit, 85% black, schools are heavily infested with rats, roaches and mold. Might those conditions affect the health of an overwhelmingly black student population? In Baltimore, another largely black city, the levels of lead poisoning among children is three times the national rate. Racism is a big part of the social determinants of health. It’s past time we acknowledge that and do something about it.

Second Program: Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor – Black Lives Matter

The Black Panther Party was founded fifty years ago. It did much to raise consciousness and pride among African-Americans. It was seen as a threat by the establishment and was thus targeted by Hoover’s FBI in a campaign of infiltration, destabilization and assassination. Today a new generation of activists has arisen in the aftermath of a series of outrageous killings of African-Americans by police. The Black Lives Matter movement has reawakened attention to the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and the persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and unemployment. Who can forget Eric Garner’s plea of “I can’t breathe” before he was choked to death on a Staten Island street? It symbolizes the plight of many blacks trying to survive in crushing poverty. The Black Lives Matter movement holds the potential to reignite a broader push for black liberation. 

This event was presented by the Lannan Foundation. 



Camara Phyllis Jones

Camara Phyllis Jones is a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on the impact of racism on health. She served as president of the American Public Health Association. She has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health and has worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is Senior Fellow at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

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