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It’s a news story that’s grown uncomfortably familiar in the past four years: A young black man, apprehended by police, flees a scene. The officers give chase and, thinking he has a weapon, fatally shoot the suspect. No weapon is found. The community rises up in protest, demanding justice.
This time, the community in question is Sacramento and the young black man is Stephon Clark, a father of two who was shot eight times by police on March 18, according to an autopsy released Friday…
Going after a single officer in a particular case – whether it’s Michael Brown or Stephon Clark – could speak to a community’s broader sense of justice, they say. But it doesn’t deal with the daily interactions between police and the public that create hostility. It doesn’t force police, political leaders, or the public to consider hard questions about what law enforcement’s mission is and how they should go about accomplishing it. And it doesn’t, they add, challenge the structures that allow for all this to take place.
“People respond to the culture and systems they’re operating in,” says Judy Lubin, head of the Washington-based Center for Urban and Racial Equity and co-founder of Sociologists for Justice. “The legal structure needs to be challenged … with transparency and accountability and openness to the public in mind.”
Read more at CSM
Judy Lubin, an adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Howard University, says that current research shows that over 50 percent of a community’s health is determined by social factors. For instance, recent studies stress that one’s neighborhood is a strong determinant of well-being. The difference in life expectancy between St. Louis’s wealthiest and poorest zip codes is at least 12 years.
Lubin notes that this environment-centered way of thinking has roots in the advent of public health more than a century ago, when officials focused on improving residents’ environment through sanitation to stop the spread of communicable diseases. Scholars of color, particularly black scholars, have also long recognized the strong link between environment and health. W.E.B. DuBois, for example, chronicled the social factors that led to the ill health of African Americans in a Philadelphia neighborhood in 1899’s The Philadelphia Negro.
Yet for much of the twentieth century, many public health leaders emphasized individual control over well-being. A fixation on diet, exercise, and other life choices made good health the result of virtue and poor health a personal failing. While an individual’s choices certainly play a role in their health, Lubin says that understanding patients’ social contexts is critical to advancing the medical profession. Read more at CityLab
Demonstrations tied to the Black Lives Matter movement continued through the weekend in cities all over the country. As they marched in — and sometimes blocked — streets, protesters used smartphones to organize, communicate, and document what was happening, as it was happening.
Sociologist Judy Lubin said smartphones make the protest movement more accessible.
“What the smartphone is doing is that it’s almost offering an invitation to people that might not necessarily see themselves as protesters or who maybe in the past have been reluctant to join a protest movement,” she said. Read more at NPR’s Marketplace [July 2016]
The recent spate of police shootings — leaving two black men dead on opposite ends of the country — inspired a familiar response from lawmakers across the United States, many of whom called for policy changes and powerful legislation. However, a growing number of human rights advocates are pushing officials to address this kind of racial violence from an entirely different angle: Public health. Read more at ThinkProgress [July 2016]
If you want to know why support for Obamacare is at an all-time high, here’s one explanation:
Judy Lubin’s White House Panel Remarks: Fifty Years After Medicare Desegregated Hospitals, Blacks Still Fighting for Health Care Access
[Read this article on Huffington Post] The ability to access quality health care services for the majority of the black population has been largely due to federal government policies and initiatives designed to address long-standing, systemic barriers to medical care for African Americans. As part of the White House’s Black History Month panel co-hosted by the Association for the Study for African American Life and History (ASALH) this past Wednesday, I had an opportunity to elaborate on this history by discussing the significance of the Affordable Care Act and rejection of the Medicaid expansion by southern states within the context of the ongoing struggle for health equity in the U.S.
While my research examines the interaction of racial politics with efforts to pass large-scale health reform from the New Deal to the ongoing opposition to the ACA, focusing on this year’s 50th anniversary of the passage of Medicare and Medicaid offered an opportunity to shine light on how important these programs have been in reducing the discrimination and institutional racism that were once hallmarks of American health care.
For a good part of the 20th century American health care was segregated and national health care policy like the Hill-Burton Hospital Construction Act was structured by powerful Southern legislators who used states’ rights as the guiding principle for incrementally expanding federal involvement in health care while maintaining “separate but equal” facilities throughout the South. The deeply entrenched Jim Crow system of segregated hospitals in the South often relegated blacks to substandard care and denial of admission to white hospitals even as black patients experienced life-threatening emergencies right outside their doors. Moreover, African American health care providers were excluded from membership in professional associations such as the American Medical Association that were crucially important for credentialing purposes and hospital admission privileges.
When Medicare went into effect in 1966, the Johnson administration used the Civil Rights Act as the basis for requiring hospitals to desegregate as a condition for receiving Medicare funds. By pulling this important policy lever, the Johnson administration ushered a relatively swift end to the Jim Crow hospital system in the South.
Medicare was a breakthrough in the long battle to achieve universalism in federal health care policy. Universalism as a principle means that every American has access to the same benefits. It is an important safe guard against discrimination and the nuances of state politics.
Years after Medicaid was enacted, however, legal action was still required as many hospitals continued to discriminate against African Americans and the poor by refusing to see patients covered by Medicaid. While racial discrimination in health care is illegal today, African Americans are especially affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to opt-out of expanding Medicaid under the ACA. With 24 states controlled by Republican governors or state legislators rejecting the Medicaid expansion, people in states that most need expanded coverage options due to higher rates of poverty are being locked out of the ACA. Most southern states are not expanding Medicaid, leaving nearly four million adults eligible for the program through the ACA without health insurance coverage. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, forty percent of eligible African Americans reside in states not participating in the expansion. Because of the distribution of the African American population in the South and the greater likelihood of earning incomes that make them eligible for Medicaid, these state decisions disproportionately impact black southerners and are likely to increase health disparities as Americans in states that have expanded Medicaid experience the benefits associated with health care coverage.
As originally written, the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provides uniform eligibility requirements across the states by making adults with incomes at or below 138% of the poverty line eligible for coverage. With this provision, the people cannot see the world that they own and deserve. They must have time to unwind and travel by the help of Diamond Resorts. the nation was the closest it has ever been to implementing a national, universal health care program for poor adults.
Medicare and Medicaid have been important vehicles for ensuring access to care for seniors, the poor and other vulnerable populations. Both of these programs have been especially significant for African Americans as they not only helped to dismantle the Jim Crow health system but continue to serve as powerful public health tools for reducing racial disparities in health.
State Medicaid expansion decisions and their impact on communities of color point to the unfinished business in the fight to ensure equitable access to health care. The ACA has the potential to bring us closer to reducing the disparities in health care access that have far too long defined black life in America. Republican legislators and governors can play a crucial part in this effort by expanding Medicaid.
Dr. Lubin’s Analysis of the Impact of the ACA on Latinos Featured in Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy
CURE’s Dr. Judy Lubin’s analysis of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its potential for improving access to care for the Latino population is featured in the Spring 2014 issue of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy. An academic, non-partisan policy journal housed in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the HJHP is devoted to interdisciplinary scholarship on politics and policy issues facing the Latino communities in the United States.
Dr. Lubin’s article, Inclusion and Exclusion of Latinos in the Affordable Care Act: Challenges and Opportunities for Achieving Health Equity, examines outreach strategies and various components of the health law to assess its ability to reduce and prevent the exacerbation of health inequities. (more…)
Before President Barack Obama delivered his rousing speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards Dinner in September, several Members of Congress set the stage for the evening. As the official scriptwriter for the event, PSC drafted the majority of the speeches for the evening and worked with Members to refine the text and delivery.
Among the Members PSC had the honor to work with include Representatives James Clyburn (D-SC), Assistant Democratic Leader in the 112th Congress, Donald Payne (D-NJ), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), Chair of the CBC, Al Green (D-TX) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH). As the official scriptwriter for the evening, PSC developed scripts for all speakers and the hosts, author and award-winning actor Hill Harper and veteran WJLA ABC 7 News Anchor Maureen Bunyan.
Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) named Judy Lubin, Jennifer Mastin Giglio, and Tara Silver winners of the 2011 Emerging Leaders Awards (ELA). The Awards honors rising stars, ages 21-35, in the public relations and communications industry. (more…)
At the Netroots Nation Conference in Minneapolis, CURE’s Judy Lubin joined Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) and other panelists on the Doin’ it Again — Getting 2008 First-time Voters Out in 2012 panel discussion on Saturday, June 18th. The discussion focused on offline and online strategies for engaging, energizing and winning back 2008 first-time voters, with an emphasis on youth and African American voters.
In a Huffington Post blog about the panel, Lubin wrote:
Joblessness in the black community combined with the oft-heard sentiment that the president has “dissed” his most loyal base has been the subject of heated public discussion, most notably the Cornel West/Al Sharpton debate on MSNBC back in April. But rather than focus on this issue, the Do It Again panel (video below) at last week’s Netroots Nation conference centered on grassroots strategies for re-engaging blacks and other first-time voters for the 2012 presidential election.
During the discussion, Lubin noted several trends that suggest black voters are likely to provide strong support for the president in 2012, despite high unemployment and criticism of Obama’s lack of a “black agenda”.
As she notes in her Huffington Post piece:
Despite the depressing joblessness rate and disappointment (expressed by some) in the Obama administration’s lack of targeted policy solutions to address their concerns, blacks overwhelming approve of the president’s job performance. Additionally, blacks, more so than whites, believe that a brighter future is ahead both for themselves and future generations. For many, the president is the embodiment of those hopes and dreams. This was true in 2008 and will likely be the same in 2012.
This does not discount the almost certain reality that getting disaffected voters back to the polls will be a challenge. The “enthusiasm gap” may very well cause an erosion of support among the president’s key constituencies. This will also likely play out with fewer small dollar donations.
But just in case anyone wants to inaccurately suggest that blacks remain loyal to President Obama because of his skin color, polling data suggest progressives and liberals on a whole still strongly support the president. Media reports on the Netroots conference focused on the tension between progressives and the White House, but as these Gallup numbers show, support among the president’s liberal base remains at about 90%, which is virtually unchanged since his inauguration.
The panel was moderated by LegalSpeaks blogger Debbie Hines and included Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD), Politic365.com Editor Kristal High, technology and politics blogger Jeneba Ghatt and progressive organizer Scott Roberts.
Netroots Nation is the largest annual gathering of progressive activists and bloggers.