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Nurse Tierra Norman Helps Keep Pandemic Frontline Strong

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Tierra Norman spent her teens in Inglewood and attended George Hale Middle School and El Camino Real High School. She furthered her education at El Camino Community College and received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Western Governors University. She shared how the nursing profession has always been an influence, as it runs in the family.

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Tierra Norman, BSN, RN at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Courtesy of Kaiser West Los Angeles

By Brian W. Carter, Contributing Writer, Los Angeles Sentinel

COVID-19 may have changed the landscape of how we move about our daily lives, but for many medical professionals, it’s a chance to put their expertise into action. Tierra Norman is a registered nurse and department administrator over the Critical Care Unit at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles. She spoke with the Sentinel about how she chose nursing as a profession, her daily routine and life after COVID-19.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Norman spent her teens in Inglewood and attended George Hale Middle School and El Camino Real High School. She furthered her education at El Camino Community College and received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Western Governors University. She shared how the nursing profession has always been an influence, as it runs in the family.

“My mom’s a nurse, so it’s in my blood, in my veins,” said Norman.

“I remember everything about nursing; that was all I was around. My grandmother, even though she wasn’t a nurse, she was a psychiatric tech; so there’s always been someone in the healthcare field that I’ve been around.”

Nurses work long hours and have multiple tasks to perform throughout any given day. Norman shares what makes nursing worthwhile and what she likes most about her job.

“I really enjoy seeing people get better,” said Norman. “It’s really sad that sickness is something that we’re going to always have around, but to be a part of someone getting better, that gives an inner satisfaction.

“It gives you a sense of purpose when you’re able to participate in someone getting better especially seeing them at their worse state.”

She said, “when the patients don’t get better,” is the challenging part about her job. She shared that nurses hope for the best and to do the best of their ability, but sometimes the outcome isn’t positive.

“Sometimes it causes you to doubt—especially when you see young or old [patients]; the family is affected by that, you wonder if you’ve done enough.”

Norman is sure that by working together, we will all come through the COVID-19 tunnel. Courtesy of Kaiser West Los Angeles

Norman is sure that by working together, we will all come through the COVID-19 tunnel. Courtesy of Kaiser West Los Angeles

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on medical professionals around the world. Nurses, who are the backbone of hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities, are essential. Norman shares her schedule before and after COVID-19.

“I come in, I huddle with my staff, day-and-night shift; we talk about the operation of the unit, any positives, any updates—the normal stuff.

She continued, “In between, we’re addressing the patient concerns that may come up, any employee concerns and of course, the meetings, scheduling, things of that sort—that was pre COVID-19.”

She shared that COVID-19 didn’t alter her daily schedule, but added more to it. Now, Norman must make sure she is applying day-to-day updates on procedure and protocol concerning the virus and make sure staff is aware.

“It’s all those things plus more,” said Norman.

“We’re making sure we’re implementing processes that are not only keeping the patients safe, [but] the family [and] staff safe. We want to make sure that any process that we’ve implemented are being followed through.

Norman continued, “Making sure I have more presence in the unit because, even though they’re a lot of processes we have in place, we also have to be concerned about the mental and emotional state of our staff, because this is hard for them too.

“They’re not only dealing with patients in the hospital, but they’re also dealing with their personal fears and anxieties that they’re trying to keep leveled out and also stay present for the patients they’re taking care of and their families.”

As nursing manager, Norman makes sure her staff and patients stay safe. Courtesy of Kaiser West Los Angeles

As nursing manager, Norman makes sure her staff and patients stay safe. Courtesy of Kaiser West Los Angeles

Norman said it’s “all-hands-on-deck” and making sure on a daily basis that she is working closely with infection prevention at Kaiser West L.A., the CDC and that staff are up-to-date on the latest information.

Recently, multiple states started to ease quarantine restrictions and many have begun to go back to work and play. Most of L.A. County is still under “shelter-at-home” even though some are foregoing the suggestion and even, rebuking, social distancing in some instances. Norman shared what people can do to remain safe if they choose to return to business as usual.

“If you’re not feeling well, you need to stay indoors, stay home, take care of yourself, take care of your family and cardinal rule of nursing: washing your hands—you can never do enough hand washing.”

She added,” Educating yourself [and] staying up-to-date with information, so even if the guidelines, the shelter-in orders are lifted, we still want to wear our masks, if that’s still the direction from the CDC, you still want to do those basic things—covering your mouth when you cough,  cover your nose and mouth when you’re sneezing, things like that.”

Norman and countless nurses around the world are working hard to keep people alive, safe and healthy during this pandemic. Thank you is almost an understatement for the sacrifices they’re making, but it’s part of the job and Norman has chosen that responsibility. She wanted to share some advice with the community during this unsettling time.

“We’ll all get through this together,” said Norman. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a pandemic of this kind, but I think that as long as we stay abreast of the situation, as long as we are following guidelines and caring enough about each other as a community to contribute to not spreading [COVID-19], I think we’ll definitely get through this together.”

The post Nurse Tierra Norman Helps Keep Pandemic Frontline Strong appeared first on Los Angeles Sentinel.

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Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Amari is one of these artists and Ghofrane is an activist. Exploring how racism has shaped her life in all aspects including her early school days, her romantic life and everyday activities, Amari’s film showcases how Ghofrane uses her experiences as impetus to work to bring change to her country for all people. A compassionate and hopeful exploration of the life and aspirations of Ghofrane, She Had A Dream sheds light on women’s roles in Tunisia’s changing society and one woman’s battle to create change for her community.
The post Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Entertainment and Culture Editor

The documentary She Had A Dream by Tunisian filmmaker Raja Amari premieres on AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange series tonight at 8 p.m. EST on WORLD CHANNEL. Season 14 of the acclaimed documentary series captures Black artists and activists shaping and reclaiming culture, advocating for change and mobilizing for brighter futures. She Had A Dream offers an intimate portrayal of one young Black Tunisian woman’s quest for political office and her fight against racism and oppression in a society that often seeks to overlook both.

The documentary follows Ghofrane, a 20-something Black woman from Tunisia as she walks the path of self-discovery of young adulthood while running for political office in a homeland where many still view her as an outsider.

Watch the trailer below:

A dedicated, charismatic activist and a modern, free-speaking woman, Ghofrane in many ways is the embodiment of contemporary Tunisian political hopes still alive years after the Arab Spring. She Had A Dream follows Ghofrane as she works to conquer her own self-doubts while attempting to persuade close friends and complete strangers to vote for her. As audiences follow her campaign, they also follow the dichotomies of her life as a woman striving for a role in politics in the Arab world and as a Black person in a country where racism is prevalent, yet often denied.

“The 14th season of AfroPoP shines a light on the collective power, strength and resilience of Black people and movements around the world,” said Leslie Fields-Cruz, AfroPoP executive producer. “Viewers will see artists use their platforms to push for progress and human rights and see ‘ordinary’ people do the remarkable in the interest of justice.”

Amari is one of these artists and Ghofrane is an activist. Exploring how racism has shaped her life in all aspects including her early school days, her romantic life and everyday activities, Amari’s film showcases how Ghofrane uses her experiences as impetus to work to bring change to her country for all people. A compassionate and hopeful exploration of the life and aspirations of Ghofrane, She Had A Dream sheds light on women’s roles in Tunisia’s changing society and one woman’s battle to create change for her community.

She Had A Dream airs on AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange Monday, April 11 at 8 p.m. ET on WORLD Channel and begins streaming on worldchannel.org at the same time.

AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is presented by Black Public Media and WORLD Channel. For more information, visit worldchannel.org or blackpublicmedia.org.

This article was written by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.

The post Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Sextortion” refers to sex being used as currency instead of money for services or products — in this case water. According to the Water Integrity Network (WIN), the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, which are some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector i.e. sextortion. Sex for water is not a new phenomena.
The post Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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BBC Africa is reporting Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is facing a water shortage because of changing weather patterns and aging water facilities. The article reports, “Residents in informal communities like Kibra pay private vendors for water, meaning they now control the supply and access to water in the community.” The privatization of water access has led to an increase in the exploitation of women and girls in exchange for water.

“Sextortion” refers to sex being used as currency instead of money for services or products — in this case water. According to the Water Integrity Network (WIN), the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, which are some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector i.e. sextortion. Sex for water is not a new phenomena. Check out the 2018 ANEW documentary short below:

The water crisis and the sexual exploitation of girls and women as a result of the water crisis shows no signs of slowing down.

To read more about this crisis, visit BBC Africa‘s series of articles and videos on Kenya’s water crisis and the Water Integrity Network’s (WIN) study on sextortion.

This news brief was curated by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.

The post Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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#WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright

THE AFRO — Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black youths ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. The same report found Black high school-aged girls were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers. And, by June 2020, the CDC saw the rate of Black respondents who reported having “seriously considered suicide” was significantly higher.
The post #WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Maya Pottiger, Word in Black

It’s no surprise that we’re living through difficult times. After two years, we’re still in a global pandemic, which has predominantly impacted people of color. In addition, Book bans, attacks on critical race theory, and partisan political fights target everything from Black youths’ sexuality, to history, to health.

And we’re seeing the effects.

Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black youths ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. The same report found Black high school-aged girls were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers. And, by June 2020, the CDC saw the rate of Black respondents who reported having “seriously considered suicide” was significantly higher.

For a variety of reasons — ongoing stigma, lack of insurance, most accessible — Black students often rely on the mental health services offered at school.Outside of a mental health-specific practice, Black students were nearly 600 times as likely to get mental health help in an academic setting compared to other options, according to 2020 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In fact, mental health services in schools have been steadily gaining popularity among students since 2009, before dropping slightly in 2020 when the school year was interrupted, according to the SAMHSA report. As a result, the rate of students receiving mental health care through school decreased by 14 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

So how are schools changing the way they address and prioritize mental health — and the specific needs of Black students — since 2020?

The Renewed Focus on Mental Health

For school-aged people, the majority of their time is spent in a school building — about eight hours per day, 10 months out of the year. To help address mental health during academic hours, schools are trying to focus on social-emotional learning: self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills. This includes teaching kids how to be in touch with their emotions and protect against adverse mental health outcomes.

But it’s been difficult.

Though there’s been more conversation, the implementation is challenging, says Dr. Kizzy Albritton, an associate professor of school psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. There was already a shortage of school-based mental health professionals before the pandemic, which has now been exacerbated, as have mental health issues. In addition, though schools clearly recognize the importance of mental health, they aren’t always provided adequate resources.

“Unless there are more resources funneled into the school system, we’re going to see a continued catch-up issue across the board,” Albritton says. “And, unfortunately, our Black students are going to continue to suffer the most.”

In a survey of high school principals and students, Education Week Research Center found discrepancies in how principals and students viewed a school’s mental health services. While 86 percent of the principals said their schools provided services, only about 66 percent of students agreed. The survey did point out it’s possible the school offers these services and students aren’t aware. The survey also found Black and Latinx students were less likely than their peers to say their schools offered services.

Dr. Celeste Malone, the president-elect of the National Association for School Psychologists and a Howard University associate professor, says she hasn’t previously seen this degree of attention to mental health in schools.

“I see that a lot in my role for a school psychology graduate program: the outreach and people contacting me with openings where they didn’t exist previously,” Malone says. “With this increased push in funding to hire more, that’s definitely a very, very positive movement.”

Mental Health Is Not One Size Fits All

Just like with many aspects of health, Black youths need different mental health support from their peers of other races. They need a counselor who understands their lived experiences, like microaggressions and other forms of discrimination or racism, without the student having to explain.

For example, in order to best address the specific mental health needs of Black students, districts need to provide information breaking down mental health stigmas; focus on hiring Black counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals; and fund anti-racist and trauma-informed mental health practices, according to the Center for American Progress.

While she hears a lot of talk, Albritton says she isn’t seeing widespread evidence of these solutions in practice.

“There needs to be a willingness, first of all, to understand that our Black students, their needs look a lot different,” Albritton says. School officials need to understand where Black students are coming from — that their families and households experience systemic and structural racism, which are known to trigger anxiety and depression. The effects of the racial wealth gap also play a role, from the neighborhood kids are living in, to the schools they can attend to the impacts on their health. Students might be bringing worries about these challenges to school, which could be reflected in their behavior. This is why, Albritton says, it’s crucial to also work with students’ families.

The post #WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright appeared first on AFRO American Newspapers .

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