Connect with us

Commentary

COMMENTARY: Meharry’s Juul grant is good news

FLORIDA COURIER — Should Meharry Medical College, a Historically Black College (HBCU) established in 1876 in Nashville, have accepted $7.5 million from Juul Labs, the controversial e-cigarette company that provides an alternative to smoking tobacco? Meharry says it will use the grant, the second-largest it has ever received, to study public health issues and African Americans, including the health effects of tobacco products. They will establish a Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health and according to its president, Dr. James Hildreth, “begin conducting fully-independent research into the health conditions and issues related to tobacco and nicotine-delivery products.”

Published

on

Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Should Meharry Medical College, a Historically Black College (HBCU) established in 1876 in Nashville, have accepted $7.5 million from Juul Labs, the controversial e-cigarette company that provides an alternative to smoking tobacco?

Meharry says it will use the grant, the second-largest it has ever received, to study public health issues and African Americans, including the health effects of tobacco products. They will establish a Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health and according to its president, Dr. James Hildreth, “begin conducting fully-independent research into the health conditions and issues related to tobacco and nicotine-delivery products.”

Should have passed?

Critics say that Meharry has made a deal with the devil since African American people smoke more and have a higher death rate from tobacco-related illnesses than other racial and ethnic groups. They think Meharry should have passed on the Juul donation because they don’t believe that the historically Black Meharry can’t take Juul’s money and continue to make a difference in Black lives.

I say nonsense! Juul will not be dictating the topics or terms of research with Meharry. Dr. Hildreth, who has been determined to increase the amount of research that Meharry students are doing, says the college approached Juul, not the other way around – and they did it with their eyes wide open.

He says he is confident that the new research center Meharry will establish will be independent of Juul. They won’t have input to the research topics that Meharry tackles, nor will they determine the course or direction of research.

A pause

Most medical colleges, including Meharry, turn down contributions from tobacco companies. As Meharry and Juul were exploring the possibility of the donation, Altria, a tobacco company, acquired 35 percent of Juul. Should that have killed the deal?

It caused Meharry to pause. But eventually, they decided to accept the money because they believe they can use it for the greater good. I agree.

President Hildreth has been a biomedical researcher for more than 36 years. In a letter to the Meharry community, he reminded them that “The bodies of Black Americans have historically been the subject of scientific experimentation with no control on our part. If it takes an unorthodox partnership to change that dynamic, then let the research begin.”

Government approval

I can’t read that part of Hildreth’s letter without thinking of the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, where the federal government-funded research on the effects of untreated syphilis on Black men. Medicine to cure syphilis was withheld from the men in the experiment. The federal government did this!

The commercial use of Black bodies included the harvesting (and reproduction) of the cells of Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman whose DNA is still being used today for medical research. And, when we think of experiments on Black bodies, one must think of the odious J. Marion Sims, who was called the “father of modern gynecology.” He earned his fame by conducting painful experiments on enslaved women. Thank goodness New York City removed his statue from Central Park!

Meharry doesn’t aim to hurt the six million African Americans who are smokers or to profit from them. They aim to have a seat at the research table, a place from which Black researchers, and Black research institutions, have often been excluded.

Juul’s contribution allows Meharry to pull up a chair to the research table and participate in the scientific inquiry about the health effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products – critical investigation given the fact that African Americans are more likely to die from tobacco-related illnesses than others.

Some questions

Dr. Hildreth’s letter to the Meharry community outlines several research questions. What is the long-term impact of e-cigarettes? Does vaping cause developmental health issues? Are vaping devices effective as smoking reduction or cessation devices?

Will laws prohibiting tobacco sales for those under 21 improve health outcomes? San Francisco recently passed legislation outlawing the sale of vaping devices. How effective are such laws? These are questions worth answering through research.

From where I sit, Meharry should have negotiated for a much more substantial contribution from Juul, and perhaps they will. After all, according to Dr. Hildreth, the tobacco industry “has taken our money and delivered sickness and death in return.

“We at Meharry intend to advance the fight for better health and longer life by turning that insidious relationship on its head.”

The right thing

Bravo, Dr. Hildreth. If Meharry’s research can help us learn more about addiction, and if the research can be used for tobacco use prevention, then Meharry is doing the right thing. I don’t see others lining up to fund Meharry’s research, and fundraising for HBCUs is extremely challenging.

I look forward to the work that the Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health will produce.


Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. Her latest book, “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy,” is available at www.juliannemalveaux.com. Click on this commentary at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.

This article originally appeared in the Florida Courier.

Commentary

COMMENTARY: Can You Name the Chief Justice of California’s Supreme Court? Get to Know Tani Cantil-Sakauye Before She Steps Down

If a judge’s job is to stay above it all and concentrate on the work at hand, then the fact that the chief justice of California’s State Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, is not exactly a household name testifies to her ability to have done her job exceedingly well — impartially. With hardly an objection. Without making the news.

Published

on

Chief justice of California’s State Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye. (Photo: California Courts Newsroom)
Chief justice of California’s State Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye. (Photo: California Courts Newsroom)

By Emil Guillermo

For the last 12 years, the chief justice of California’s State Supreme Court has been Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a history-making Filipino American, the first person of color and the second female ever to hold the position.

Of course, you can say her name, but just in case, here’s a pronouncer: Con-TEEL-Saw-ka-OO-yay.)

If a judge’s job is to stay above it all and concentrate on the work at hand, then the fact that Cantil-Sakauye is not exactly a household name testifies to her ability to have done her job exceedingly well — impartially. With hardly an objection. Without making the news.

That’s why I was shocked to hear Cantil-Sakauye’s announced her retirement on July 27 at age 62.

Cantil-Sakauye described the reaction from colleagues about news of her departure as “moans and groans and exclamations of concern and dismay and congratulations.”

But just marvel at what she’s left us. A state judicial environment where consensus is enabled in the pursuit of fairness under the rule of law.

Instead of a fragmented court constantly drawn into issues of rancor and division, California’s high court has been collegial and focused on its job. It’s a court that in Cantil-Sakauye’s words is now “solid and sustainable.” And perhaps that is the reason she has set a retirement date of January 1.

Appointed by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, Cantil-Sakauye took her oath in 2011.

She’s guided the court system as its top administrator through budget cuts to budget surpluses, through COVID-19 shutdowns to ideological stagnation.

Once seen as a stodgy conservative bunch, with Cantil-Sakauye at the helm the high court has evolved into an institution shaped by Governor Newsom and his predecessor Jerry Brown, both Democrats.

People forget that Cantil-Sakauye was a Republican who worked her way up in her hometown of Sacramento, from a county prosecutor to cabinet positions under Republican Gov. George Deukmejian. She was a state appellate judge before her appointment to the state’s high court.

She garnered national attention in 2017 when she criticized federal agents for arresting immigrants in California’s state courthouses. Cantil-Sakauye saw it as eroding trust in the state courts and called it “stalking.”

Later in December 2018, she left the Republican Party after watching the Senate hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh and registered as an independent.

It’s hard to imagine Cantil-Sakauye is done in January when she’ll be just 63.

Biden and Feinstein think that 63 is the infancy of a career in elected politics.

But politics would be a natural thing for Cantil-Sakauye, whose inspiring origin story has voter appeal.

Consider how her Filipino-Portuguese father, Clarence Cantil, worked the pineapple plantations before coming to California. Her mother, Mary Gorre, a Filipina, was a migrant worker who followed the crops. Cantil-Sakauye grew up humbly and has said publicly that she remembers her mother’s savings guiding her principles about hard work being rewarded and providing the opportunities in the American Dream.

More dominant were phrases like, “There for the grace of God go you,” and “You listen to everyone because everyone has something to say,” the latter she admits has helped her in her work to this day. And perhaps that explains her conservative, but empathic nature.

After two years at junior college, Cantil-Sakauye went to UC Davis for her B.A. She also got her law degree from Davis, all while working as a waitress and blackjack dealer in Lake Tahoe.

At age 35, and already moving up the conservative ranks, she was Ms. Cantil-Gorre until she married Mark Sakauye, a retired Sacramento police lieutenant.

Her hyphenated name merges some major Asian American histories. The Hawaii plantations, the California fields, and her husband’s story, the son of farmworkers who became farmers and then were incarcerated in concentration camps. Cantil-Sakauye said the stories of her in-law’s struggles made her more of an immigrant rights advocate.

Could that be a hint of the future?

For now, we have four more months to notice and appreciate Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye as she winds down the historic nature of her tenure.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. See his work at www.amok.com

Continue Reading

Activism

Marin County Offers Booklet to Parents to Prevent Preteen Substance Abuse

Each middle school teen is different and there is no single right way to address their changes, experiences, and their transition to middle school. But the book endeavors to help parents more objectively understand and support their children.

Published

on

Top: Mother and daughter talking (From care.com). Bottom: English and Spanish covers of the booklet “Let’s Start Talking.” Go to letstalkmarin.org for more information, downloadable digital booklets, and video recordings of recent “Let’s Talk” community discussions.
Top: Mother and daughter talking (From care.com). Bottom: English and Spanish covers of the booklet “Let’s Start Talking.” Go to letstalkmarin.org for more information, downloadable digital booklets, and video recordings of recent “Let’s Talk” community discussions.

By Godfrey Lee

Marin County District Attorney Lori E. Frugoli recently distributed an informational booklet “Let’s Start Talking – A Parent’s Toolkit for Understanding Substance Use in Marin County Through the Middle School Years” at the San Rafael Elks Lodge 1108 on Tuesday, July 19.

The toolkit booklet was created with support from the Marin Prevention Network and the Marin County Office of Education. The booklet was also translated and published in Spanish under the title “Hablemos.”

The booklet begins by saying that although drug usage among 7th graders remains low, their substance abuse can increase as they grow older. Parents and caregivers can still lay the foundations to support preteens/teens as they grow and help prevent negative consequence from substances use. This involves knowing the facts, communicate openly, and focus on relationships and resilience.

Each middle school teen is different and there is no single right way to address their changes, experiences, and their transition to middle school. But the book endeavors to help parents more objectively understand and support their children.

The major life experience for middle schoolers is the start of puberty, where their bodies, brains, and social environments rapidly and dramatically change, along with their hormones levels and emotions. The booklet says, don’t joke about or dismiss the child’s puberty process as being unimportant.

Parents are still in charge and should also teach and model healthy coping skills. Accept the child even while they are investigating their own identities and their attraction to the other or their own sex.

Their adolescent brain is not fully developed until about the age 25, and they are still growing in its management of reasoning, decision-making, planning, and impulse control. Their peers become more important, their circle of friends may change, and need to become more independent from their parents.

All teens face a lot of risks. Social media gives a lot of unfiltered information that can be disturbing. Other risk factors include mental health issues, attention deficit disorders, trauma, bullying, family substance and drugs abuse, the family rejection of their same-sex identity and thoughts of suicide.

Teens can still be protected with parental monitoring and involvement, a positive self-image, community and school norms and behavioral expectations, positive coping and self-regulation skills, positive and healthy peer relationships, school and community connections, and a sense of belonging to a healthy group.

Peer pressure and social norms are powerful during the middle school age, and the child’s social relationships can tip the scale toward risk or protection. Parents or caretakers can still meet and know the child’s friends and their parents, and also ask questions concerning the safety of their children. Parents can also spend time with their teens to stretch their minds and find opportunities for their teens to meet and work together with other youths with similar interest in groups and clubs.

Continue Reading

Activism

Domestic Violence Group Honors Community Advocates from Around the State

The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), a coalition representing over 1,000 survivors, advocates, organizations, and allied individuals, was one of the organizations whose proposal for funding was omitted from the budget. Nonetheless, they remain dedicated to seeking recognition for individuals and organizations that are creating safe havens and providing services for individuals affected by domestic violence, the group’s leadership says.

Published

on

The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), is a coalition representing over 1,000 survivors, advocates, organizations, and allied individuals.
The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), is a coalition representing over 1,000 survivors, advocates, organizations, and allied individuals.

By Edward Henderson, California Black Media

As the ink dries on the California state budget recently signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, many special interest organizations are deep into planning for how they could use funds allocated towards their respective causes. While some have been left frustrated by the omission of their initiatives from the state spending plan, their important work in California communities continues.

The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), a coalition representing over 1,000 survivors, advocates, organizations, and allied individuals, was one of the organizations whose proposal for funding was omitted from the budget. Nonetheless, they remain dedicated to seeking recognition for individuals and organizations that are creating safe havens and providing services for individuals affected by domestic violence, the group’s leadership says.

At their annual membership meeting, they presented the ‘2022 Partnership Awards’, a ceremony honoring seven women who have challenged root causes of domestic violence and infused equity into how they’ve engaged survivors and communities.

LaRae Cantley (recipient of the Bravery Award) advises the nation’s largest U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD Continuum of Care,

LaRae Cantley (recipient of the Bravery Award) advises the nation’s largest U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD Continuum of Care,

LaRae Cantley (recipient of the Bravery Award) advises the nation’s largest U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD Continuum of Care, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), on the creation of their lived experience boards. With deep roots in Los Angeles, Cantley’s voice has been heard across the state and nationwide in her systems change work.

“I’m living proof of how the truth will bring a change about you,” Cantley reflected upon hearing the news of her award. “The organization I’m working with, the Full Frame Initiative, continues to pursue brave efforts as we partner to build a world where everyone has a fair shot at wellbeing.”

Dr. Amber Gray (recipient of the Equity Award) of Lake Elsinore started the Volunteer Services Unit at Gray's Trauma-Informed Care Services Corp

Dr. Amber Gray (recipient of the Equity Award) of Lake Elsinore started the Volunteer Services Unit at Gray’s Trauma-Informed Care Services Corp

Dr. Amber Gray (recipient of the Equity Award) of Lake Elsinore started the Volunteer Services Unit at Gray’s Trauma-Informed Care Services Corp, allowing individuals to earn volunteer hours while resourcing domestic violence agencies with the needed staffing. Her organization focuses on educating providers on the latest evidence-based trauma-informed care research. She has worked in violence prevention and intervention for 26 years.

Cat Brooks (recipient of the Partnership Award) of Oakland leads the Anti Police-Terror Project and Justice Teams Network

Cat Brooks (recipient of the Partnership Award) of Oakland leads the Anti Police-Terror Project and Justice Teams Network

Cat Brooks (recipient of the Partnership Award) of Oakland leads the Anti Police-Terror Project and Justice Teams Network, providing survivor-centered interventions designed to decrease criminalization and end violence cycles.

Colsaria Henderson (recipient of the Karen Cooper Beloved Community Award) of Newark is a leader in local, statewide, and national anti-violence, anti-poverty, and racial justice advocacy efforts.

Colsaria Henderson (recipient of the Karen Cooper Beloved Community Award) of Newark is a leader in local, statewide, and national anti-violence, anti-poverty, and racial justice advocacy efforts.

Colsaria Henderson (recipient of the Karen Cooper Beloved Community Award) of Newark is a leader in local, statewide, and national anti-violence, anti-poverty, and racial justice advocacy efforts. As Board President of CPEDV, she helps ensure that a diverse coalition strategically unites to promote the shared goal of ending domestic violence in California.

Yojo Kim (recipient of the Cultural Responsiveness Award) of San Francisco has provided consistent case management, emotional support, and survivor-centered advocacy for queer and transgender survivors of domestic violence at the Asian Women’s Shelter.

Lidia Salazar (recipient of the Equity Award) co-facilitates organizing work to end criminalization at Community United Against Violence, as well as programming and community-based training in Healing Justice that raises consciousness and allyship across the broader San Francisco Bay Area. Her work as an advocate for survivors of violence began 12 years ago in Los Angeles and includes leading a non-profit organization, managing programs, providing counseling to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and hate violence, facilitating support groups, providing training for community members and service providers, and supporting the leadership of LGBT Black and Latinx survivors of violence.

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (recipient of the Bravery Award) was one of the founders of Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County in 1977. Jackson, who served in the California State Senate from 2012 to 2020, representing the 19th District in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, was a steadfast champion for survivors and a range of issues impacting women and girls while in government.

“I am most honored to receive this award from you today. Thank you so much”. Jackson said as she received her award. “I hope that someday, as a result of the work you’re doing, we can end domestic violence.”

Learn more about The Partnership and the work they are doing in California to fight Domestic Violence.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Digital Issues21 hours ago

Oakland Post: Week of August 10 – August 16, 2022

Rick Callender, California-Hawaii conference president of the NAACP, and Shirley Weber, California Secretary of State.
Activism2 days ago

California-Hawaii NAACP Conference Sues Sec. of State Shirley Weber 

Chief justice of California’s State Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye. (Photo: California Courts Newsroom)
Commentary2 days ago

COMMENTARY: Can You Name the Chief Justice of California’s Supreme Court? Get to Know Tani Cantil-Sakauye Before She Steps Down

As Sheriff, Scardina will lead a department of 311 full time staff and oversee a $77,735,000 operating budget.
Bay Area2 days ago

Jamie Scardina Appointed Marin County Sheriff

Top: Mother and daughter talking (From care.com). Bottom: English and Spanish covers of the booklet “Let’s Start Talking.” Go to letstalkmarin.org for more information, downloadable digital booklets, and video recordings of recent “Let’s Talk” community discussions.
Activism2 days ago

Marin County Offers Booklet to Parents to Prevent Preteen Substance Abuse

The street light revisions are being funded by the remaining budget of the Upgrade the Drake project and the Marin County Street Light Fund. To further offset the cost, DPW will explore resell opportunities for the currently installed street light poles, which are a standard pole design used across California.
Bay Area2 days ago

Sir Francis Drake Boulevard Lighting Update to Begin

The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), is a coalition representing over 1,000 survivors, advocates, organizations, and allied individuals.
Activism2 days ago

Domestic Violence Group Honors Community Advocates from Around the State

Students with the Amos C. Brown Fellowship to Ghana visit the Jubilee House in Accra on Aug. 2, 2022.
Activism2 days ago

Amos C. Brown Fellowship to Ghana Begins

Dr. Wade Nobles says the healing hubs proposed by Oakland Front Line Healers will be a first in addressing specific traumas African Americans experience daily living in a racist environment.
Activism2 days ago

Oakland City Council Approves Funding for African American Healing Hubs

#NNPA BlackPress3 days ago

PRESS ROOM: First Book, an Innovative Leader in Education Equity, Releases Groundbreaking Research Illustrating the Impact of COVID-19 on Emotional Wellness of Students in Underserved Communities

As the first-ranked and highest respected Black sportsman, Bill Russell used his status to lead the nation’s leading Black athletes which included Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others to support Muhammad Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War.
Activism3 days ago

IN MEMORIAM: Oakland’s Own Bill Russell, 88, Greatest Athlete/Civil Rights Activist Ever (Part 1)

#NNPA BlackPress4 days ago

Moore Brown: Maryland Set to Have Two Black Statewide Officials

#NNPA BlackPress4 days ago

DOJ Indicts Four Police Officers Who Allegedly Lied to Secure Search Warrants for Breonna Taylor’s Home

#NNPA BlackPress4 days ago

White House Releases New Policy Goals for Sub-Saharan Africa

#NNPA BlackPress4 days ago

FBI Raids Donald Trump’s Resort in Florida

Trending