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Accepting the Challenge to Reduce the Infant Mortality Rate

CHICAGO CRUSADER — Infant mortality is the death of an infant before the age of one. According to Statista, the state of Indiana ranked 9th in 2018 with an average of 7.4 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. This rate is even higher among the African-American community. What’s happening to our babies? While the rate and causes of infant mortality vary depending on the country and region, the above source goes on to state that the leading causes of neonatal deaths include pre-term birth complications, intrapartum-related events (birth asphyxia), and sepsis (a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to an infection).

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Dr. Janet Seabrook

Infant mortality is the death of an infant before the age of one. According to Statista, the state of Indiana ranked 9th in 2018 with an average of 7.4 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. This rate is even higher among the African-American community. What’s happening to our babies? While the rate and causes of infant mortality vary depending on the country and region, the above source goes on to state that the leading causes of neonatal deaths include pre-term birth complications, intrapartum-related events (birth asphyxia), and sepsis (a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to an infection).

How do we prevent these conditions from occurring? The most important step is effective and consistent pre-natal care.

Finding out that you’re pregnant can bring about a variety of emotions from happiness and joy to disbelief or worry. No matter the reaction, the fact remains that a child is on its way, and care ideally should begin immediately. A major barrier that some moms in low-income environments may encounter is lack of health care coverage or facilities that offer comprehensive pre-natal health care programs.

One of the programs that our team at Community HealthNet Health Centers worked hard to implement is CenteringPregnancy™. This model provides expecting moms with the care and tools they will need during and after pregnancy, which helps combat the rising infant mortality rate in low-income communities. Take a look at some of the services that are available:

Group Prenatal visits:

  • Assessment of the mom the baby
  • Education of the mom and significant others
  • Support of the mom, the baby and family

Here are the attributes of the GROUP MODEL FOR CENTERINGPREGNANCY™:

  • Initial intake done before mom’s 1st session
  • First group session is usually started when the moms are between 12-16 weeks
  • Groups of 8-12 women, with similar due dates are placed together
  • Moms will do their own weight and blood pressure
  •  An individual physical assessment is done within the group space by the provider
  • 10 Sessions lasting two hours each are facilitated by a group leader
  • 4 Sessions occur every 4 weeks: Months of pregnancy 16, 20, 24, 28
  • 6 Sessions occur every 2 weeks: Months of pregnancy 30, 32, 36, 38, 40, Post Pregnancy
  •  Self-Monitoring
  • Mom checks her own BP
  • Weight is monitored
  • Mom makes notations of the data for her record

In essence, Community HealthNet is empowering moms to monitor their pregnancies to detect any complications early while increasing the likelihood of successful deliveries. We even host community baby showers for expectant mothers!

I am personally alarmed by the rate of infant mortality in our communities and ask that you join me in spreading the word about the pre-natal services available right here in Northwest Indiana and across the country. Don’t let the lack of health care coverage keep you from seeking assistance. Community HealthNet and many others health centers are ready and willing to help because your health (and your baby’s health) matters!

Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for more information about health and wellness. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader

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NATIONAL DAY OF RACIAL HEALING

CHICAGO CRUSADER — January 21, 2020 is the fourth annual National Day of Racial Healing. The day was established in January 2017 by more than 550 leaders from throughout the United States. All across the country people are marking this day in powerful and moving ways, with events and actions of all kinds.

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The National Day of Racial Healing is Tuesday, January 21. Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Greater Chicago are bringing together people from throughout the city – concerned citizens, business leaders, faith leaders, nonprofit and government leaders, artists, and community organizers – to kick off a citywide effort to confront and heal from racism.

TRHT Greater Chicago will host 3-days of city wide racial healing circles at community centers, government agencies, nonprofits, schools, corporations, and more. Racial healing circles are designed to raise awareness, consciousness and empathy among those who participate.

January 21-23, 2020

Various locations. Visit website for more information.

Sign up to host a circle (organizations)

Sign up to participate in a circle (individuals)

RSVP to attend the NDORH culmination event – Solidarity Heals CommUNITY Celebration featuring guest speakers and musical entertainment, by Chicago’s own Funkadesi.

January 21, 2020 is the fourth annual National Day of Racial Healing. The day was established in January 2017 by more than 550 leaders from throughout the United States. All across the country people are marking this day in powerful and moving ways, with events and actions of all kinds.

So many of the problems plaguing Chicago – violence, troubled schools, health, wealth and opportunity gaps – are rooted in racism that is embedded in our city’s history. The dehumanization of people of color throughout our city’s past and present has caused forced separation, racial inequity, and injustice that impacts our economy, neighborhoods and relationships. This racism is so obvious to some, but not to others.

Racial healing recognizes the need to acknowledge and tell the truth about past wrongs created by individual as well as systemic racism and address the present consequences. We believe it is essential to pursue racial healing prior to making change work in a community. Because, before we can transform systems and structures, we must do the work on ourselves/our people FIRST.

This article originally appeared in The Chicago Crusader.

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IN MEMORIAM: Garth C. Reeves, Sr., Retired Miami Times Publisher, Dies

CHICAGO CRUSADER — Regarded as a titan in the Black Press, Reeves was widely respected in Miami for using his power and influence to advance the agenda of the city’s Black community. After experiencing the pain and humiliation of segregation in parks, schools and the U.S. military, Reeves grew into an uncompromising crusader who smashed racial barriers in some of the most prominent organizations in Miami and the nation.

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Retired publisher, Garth C. Reeves, Sr., of The Miami Times’, died on Monday, November 25. He was 100.

By Erick Johnson, Chicago Crusader

Garth C. Reeves, Sr.

Garth C. Reeves, Sr., The Miami Times’ retired publisher who became the enduring patriarch of a family newspaper dynasty after decades of fighting the political establishment and while guiding the Black community through the city’s racial problems, died on Monday, November 25. He was 100.

Regarded as a titan in the Black Press, Reeves was widely respected in Miami for using his power and influence to advance the agenda of the city’s Black community. After experiencing the pain and humiliation of segregation in parks, schools and the U.S. military, Reeves grew into an uncompromising crusader who smashed racial barriers in some of the most prominent organizations in Miami and the nation.

During his lifetime, Reeves’ newspaper got a police chief fired, ended the career of a a Miami Mayoral, supported a boycott that cost Miami Beach’s tourism industry millions, and unapologetically called riots “protests” or rebellions. He stared down Miami’s political establishment that for decades had been accused of shutting out Blacks in government as Hispanics rose to power in the city’s political and business establishments.

THE MIAMI TIMES became the “Voice of the Black Community” after publishing stories that advocated for people of color during the Civil Rights Movement. (Courtesy of the University of Florida/Miami Times Archives)

He urged his journalists to write from a Black perspective, one that saw the struggle through a different lens than white newspapers.

His newspaper career spanned at least eight decades. At the height of Reeves’ leadership, The Miami Times earned the name, “The Voice of Miami’s Black Community.” One of the last great Black publishers, Reeves’ death closes a significant chapter in The Miami Times’ illustrious history.

Reeves was born February 12, 1919 in Nassau, Bahamas. That same year, Reeves’ father, Harry Ethelbert Sigismund Reeves, moved to Miami where he founded the Magic Printing Company in Overtown, the city’s historic Black, once-thriving neighborhood near downtown. Harry Ethelbert Sigismund Reeves in 1920 founded the Miami Sun, which closed because of a paper shortage during World War I. In 1923, The Miami Times was founded. Reeves was just four years old.

Garth C. Reeves, Sr. was among many Blacks who attended Miami’s esteemed Booker T. Washington Senior High School, the city’s oldest predominately Black high school that was built when students of color were not accepted at white public schools. Black students at Booker T. were given secondhand text books and football gear that came from white schools.

THE MIAMI TIMES iconic headquarters. The newspaper moved four times before settling in Miami’s predominately Black Liberty City neighborhood.

In 1923, Harry Reeves started The Miami Times at NW 8th Street and 3rd Avenue. It would move four more times in the Overtown neighborhood. When Interstate-95 was built through Overtown, it displaced thousands of Blacks. Many fled north to the Liberty City community, where The Miami Times sits at its present location, 900 NW 54 Street.

In 1940, Reeves graduated from Florida A&M University, a major, historically Black school in Tallahassee, FL. In 1942, Reeves was drafted to serve in the Army during World War II. During an interview in 1999, Reeves recalled a trip on a train to the Pacific coast to go overseas. Despite repeated requests, a white train conductor refused to give Reeves something to eat in spite of him having meal coupons. Reeves went to the military police, who told him to do what the white conductor said, or face being locked up on the train. Reeves was forced to pay for his meal because he could not go into the segregated dining car.

Experiences like those would fuel Reeves’ passion for Black journalism’s role in exposing racial injustices while advocating for the needs of disenfranchised people of color.

After completing his service in 1946, Reeves returned to The Miami Times. By then, Blacks could not sit at segregated diners downtown. Members of the Klu Klux Klan would often parade through Miami’s bustling downtown. Parks and schools did not accept Blacks either and living conditions among Blacks worsened as slums in Overtown increased.

Reeves joined Reverend Theodore Gibson, the president of the local NAACP Chapter and began leading protests for better conditions for Blacks in Miami. Out of 28 beaches, only Virginia Key Beach was open to Blacks. On November 7, 1957, Reeves led a group of seven Black leaders to Crandon Park, a segregated white beach near Miami. Reeves and the men earlier talked to several county commissioners, saying that as taxpayers they had the right to frequent Crandon Park or any segregated beach. Wearing their bathing suits under their clothes, Reeves and the men took off their slacks and went into the water while several police officers watched. Blacks began frequenting other white beaches after the incident.

Blacks were not allowed to play at city-owned golf-courses in the 1940s. But that changed when Reeves and Gibson filed a lawsuit that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a landmark case, Rice v. City of Miami, the Supreme Court ruled that the city could not continue accepting tax money to build and maintain golf courses while denying its use to all residents.

In an interview on the History Miami Museum website, Reeves recalled an experience he had when Dr. Martin Luther King came to Miami during the Civil Rights Movement.

“When Martin Luther King came down, I attended some of his meetings. My friend was a good friend of King’s and I used to attend meetings where he would preach to us about nonviolence. I remember talking to Martin a few times and I said, “Martin, you really believe that if I was somewhere and a white guy spat on my face, you think I would walk away from that? I said I’d try and kill that son of a b—-. He said, ‘That’s why you’ve got to try to learn to control yourself.’ I liked him.”

That was Reeves the activist.

GARTH C. REEVES, SR. in 1981 reviews the front page of The Miami Times with son Garth C. Reeves Jr., who died in 1982. (Photo Courtesy of History Miami Museum/The Miami News).

Reeves, as the publisher of The Miami Times, was just as fierce. It was the only job Reeves would have throughout his life. He worked his way up the ranks as columnist, reporter, managing editor, and editor. When Reeves’ father died in 1970, Reeves became publisher.

By then The Miami Times had established itself as the Black newspaper of record.

During the 1960s The Miami Times ran a front-page story advocating for the termination of Miami Police Chief Walter Headly, whose Stop and Frisk policy of searching Blacks lit up racial tensions in the city. Headly was eventually fired and the Times readership grew.

When four Miami police officers were acquitted in May, 1980 of killing Arthur McDuffie, a Black salesman, Blacks took to the streets. White newspapers and local television stations described it as a riot. With Reeves at the helm, The Miami Times called the incident a “protest.” When another Miami police officer was acquitted in 1993 for killing two Black motorists in Overtown, The Miami Times called the civil unrest a rebellion.

There were other highlights under Reeves’ leadership at The Miami Times.

In 1985, Mayor Maurice Ferre lost the Black vote and was defeated in his re-election bid after The Miami Times ran a series of editorials criticizing the mayor for firing Howard Gary, Miami’s first Black city manager.

In 1993, Reeves and The Miami Times published editorials and stories supporting a boycott of Miami Beach hotels that cost the tourism industry millions of dollars.

Black leaders accused county leaders of snubbing Nelson Mandela after they withdrew plans to give him a proclamation and key to the city when the anti-apartheid leader publicly expressed his support for Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro.

The National Bar Association and ACLU were among many organizations that did not bring their conventions to Miami Beach in support of the boycott.

The boycott lasted three years and cost the tourism industry between $20 to $50 million. Mandela was given an official proclamation and the hotel industry implemented programs to boost Blacks in its facilities. Miami Beach got its first Black-owned luxury hotel, the Royal Palm Crowne Plaza.

“It was important that we had a communication outlet to get our message out,” said H.T. Smith, a prominent Miami attorney who spearheaded the boycott. “The mainstream media would not give us any coverage. The Miami Times was essential to the boycott’s success. The boycott would not have been successful without The Miami Times. And our friendship grew as a result of this partnership.”

Former Miami Times executive editor Mohamad Hamaludin, who worked for 15 years at the newspaper, said, “Reeves was a fine gentleman. By the time I got to The Miami Times, he and the staff had already established it as a voice for people who didn’t have a voice.”

Reeves was the first Black to serve on the boards of the Miami-Dade College, Barry University, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way of Dade County. He also served as organizing chairman of the board for National Industrial Bank, which was the first integrated bank in the State of Florida.

While serving on many of these boards, Reeves pushed them to hire more Blacks when they were reluctant to do so. As a board member of Miami-Dade College, Reeves threatened to lead a vote to stop doing business with the school’s law firm because it resisted his calls to hire Black attorneys in its offices.

Reeves assisted Crusader Publisher Dorothy R. Leavell in bringing the NNPA Annual Convention to Gary in 1983 after Black political power gained a foothold in the Steel City.

“He believed in the Black Press very deeply,” said Leavell who first met Reeves in 1962. “Whatever he did, he was always on the right side of the battle. He remained a forward thinker to the very end. He was truly one of the last of the great Black publishers from the old school in the Black Press.”

Today, The Miami Times is the oldest and largest Black newspaper in the Southeast. For the past two years it has been named Best Black Newspaper by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), which represents over 200 Black newspapers across the country. In 2011, NNPA named Reeves Publisher of the Year. In 2017, Reeves was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame.

In 2017, Miami recognized Reeves with an honorary street sign at 6 Street and NW 2 Avenue near the Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida where he was a board member.

Reeves was a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and a founding member of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Miami, Florida.

He was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Miami, Barry University and Florida Memorial University.

For years, Reeves had provided scholarships to aspiring journalism students at his high school alma mater, Booker T. Washington.

Reeves served for 10 years as president of the Amalgamated Publishers Inc. in New York City, which represented over one hundred African American-owned newspapers throughout the United States. He was also elected to serve two terms as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

He retired in 1994 and assumed the role of publisher emeritus but Reeves remained active as a prominent leader in the Black community.

Reeves outlived both of his children. In 1982, Reeves’ son, Garth C. Reeves, Jr., died of colon cancer when just 30 years old. This past September, Reeves’ daughter, Rachel died at 68. His grandson, Garth Basil Reeves now heads the family newspaper dynasty at just 29.

This article originally appeared in The Chicago Crusader.

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How to help a caregiver during National Family Caregivers Month 

CHICAGO CRUSADER — According to a recent Alzheimer’s Association survey, people overwhelmingly agree (91 percent) that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia should be a group effort among family or close friends, yet one out of three caregivers are not engaging others in caregiving tasks. More than four in five caregivers would have liked more support in providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, especially from their family. With 15 million Alzheimer’s caregivers across the country, that leaves a lot of people in need of support.

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November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. The Alzheimer’s Association is recognizing and honoring the more than 15 million people across the U.S. who are currently caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s, including the 588,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers here in Illinois.

According to a recent Alzheimer’s Association survey, people overwhelmingly agree (91 percent) that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia should be a group effort among family or close friends, yet one out of three caregivers are not engaging others in caregiving tasks. More than four in five caregivers would have liked more support in providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, especially from their family. With 15 million Alzheimer’s caregivers across the country, that leaves a lot of people in need of support.

This November during National Family Caregivers Month, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging people to lend a hand to caregivers with these tips:

Learn: Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease – its symptoms, its progression and the common challenges facing caregivers. The more you know, the easier it will be to find ways to help. The Alzheimer’s Association has a vast amount of resources and information available at www.alz.org.

Build a Team: The Alzheimer’s Association Care Team Calendar is a free, personalized online tool to organize family and friends who want to help with caregiving. This service makes it easy to share activities and information within the person’s care team. Helpers can sign up for specific tasks, such as preparing meals, providing rides or running errands. Users can post items for which assistance is needed.

Give a Break: Make a standing appointment to give the caregiver a break. Spend time with the person with dementia and allow the caregiver a chance to run errands, go to their own doctor’s appointment, participate in a support group or engage in an activity that helps them recharge. Even one hour could make a big difference in providing the caregiver some relief.

Check-In: Almost two out of every three caregivers said that feeling isolated or alone was a significant challenge in providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. What’s more, half of all caregivers felt like they couldn’t talk to anyone in social settings or work about what they were going through.

So start the conversation: a phone call to check-in, sending a note, or stopping by for a visit can make a big difference in a caregiver’s day and help them feel supported.

Tackle the To-Do List: Ask for a list of errands that need to be run, pick up groceries, dry cleaning or even offer to shuttle kids to and from activities. It can be hard for a caregiver to find time to complete these simple tasks outside of the home that we often take for granted.

Be Specific and Be Flexible: Open ended offers of support (“call me if you need anything” or “let me know if I can help”) may be well-intended but are often dismissed. Try making your offer of help or support more specific (“I’m going to the store, what do you need?” or “I have free time this weekend, let me stop over for a couple of hours so you can do what you need to do.”) Don’t get frustrated if your offer of support is not immediately accepted. The family may need time to assess its needs. Continue to let the caregiver know that you are there and ready to help.

Help for the Holidays: Holiday celebrations are often joyous occasions, but they can be challenging and stressful for families living with Alzheimer’s. Help around the holidays by offering to help with cooking, cleaning or gift shopping. If a caregiver has traditionally hosted family celebrations, offer your home instead.

Join the Fight: Honor a person living with the disease and their caregiver by joining the fight against Alzheimer’s. Visit Alzheimers awareness.com for more information.

This article originally appeared in The Chicago Crusader.

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