Author: lafocus

Black Employees Say Racism is Rife at Cal Air Resources Board

Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media 

Mary Nichols, an influential California attorney known and respected in environmental policy circles across the United States, is finding herself at the center of racial storm brewing at home.  

Black employees say racism is widespread at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the organization Nichols chairs.  

In September, African American employees hit CARB with a 13-page letter alleging that they have been experiencing racism – widespread, routine and systemic, they point out – at the air-pollution and climate agency.  

The “Concerned Black Employees at CARB (CBE CARB),” the Black group that submitted the letter, says its members have been the target of cynical comments at the organization and that they have been excluded from promotions, and have had to face other atrocities because of the color of their skin. 

The letter details discriminatory hiring practices, incidents of intimidation, low representation of Black employees, and a general lack of support. CARB, the letter alleges, has a total of 1627 employees and only 73 of them are Black. Only one African American has held an executive position with the organization.  

“You will find a compilation of Black stories about our experiences at CARB along with messages we received from those experiences,” CBE CARB stated in the introduction of the document. Although these stories are first person accounts of experiences, we believe that most of them apply (or have applied) to all Black employees at some point and time at CARB.” 

The state of California charges CARB with protecting the public from the harmful effects of air pollution and developing programs and actions to fight climate change. Founded in 1967, the Sacramento-based organization also sets air quality standards, oversee automakers’ emissions compliance, conducts research on air pollution, measures reductions of air pollutants and promotes public health, among other functions.  

In July, Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Sacramento), who is African American, called out Nichols online after she posted a message that drew parallels between the lack of clean air the death of George Floyd.

“How dare you use a dying man’s plea for help as a way to discuss your agenda. Have you no shame?” Cooper reacted to Nichols’ tweet.  

Floyd died when a Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee on the unarmed Black man’s neck for nearly nine minutes in late May. The shocking incident caught on video a bystander caught was shared millions of time, sparking anti-Black racism protests across the globe.  

On June 1, Nichols posted, “‘I can’t breathe’ speaks to police violence, but it also applies to the struggle for clean air. Environmental racism is just one form of racism. It’s all toxic. Government needs to clean it up in word and deed.” 

Nichols later issued an apology via Twitter, stating “I apologize for speaking at the wrong time about the wrong topic. Racism comes in many forms and I believe we must fight every instance of it in our society.” 

Nichols has served on the CARB Board under Gov. Jerry Brown (1975–82 and 2010–18), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (2007–2010), and Gov. Gavin Newsom (2019–present).  

She also served as California’s Secretary for Natural Resources (1999–2003), appointed by Gov. Gray Davis. Her term under Newsom ends Dec. 31. There is speculation in Sacramento political circles that Nichols, 75, could be in line for a job as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency should Joe Biden win the presidency. 

Published reports say CARB’s Executive Director Richard Corey forwarded CBE CARB’s letter to the air CARB’s staff about a week after he obtained it. The 13-page document is dated Sept. 4. 

CARB’s board, which the governor appoints and the Senate confirms, consists of 14 voting members with two lawmakers in non-voting roles. The board does not have any Asian American or African American members.  

“There is no doubt the letter eloquently describes a history of poor treatment, lost potential, and deep-seated pain,” Corey wrote in a memo to his staff, according to Politico. “But, when I consider the courage it took to write and submit the letter, I have a sense of optimism as I know that change begins with the ability to openly acknowledge and discuss issues.” 

CBE CARB also stated that its only intent is to “shine a light on areas where CARB can improve” and asked the air pollution and climate agency to move forward and be “part of the solution.”  

“Our intent in sharing this Letter and Action Plan is not to shame or belittle CARB, or to assign blame. We enjoy the work we do at CARB and want to do all we can to improve CARB for the future, and our future careers with the agency,” CBE CARB stated in conclusion of the letter.  

For the First Time in a General Election, You Can Vote Anywhere in the County

The 2020 presidential election ends on November 3rd. Americans from across the country are already voting and millions have submitted their ballots. Due to COVID-19, Counties and states from across the country have been working hard to ensure a safe and efficient voting system that would allow every voter to make their voice count. Now more than ever, voting by mail and utilizing LA County registrar early voting systems is more important and safer than ever before.

AltaMed, one of the nation’s largest community health networks has partnered with the Los Angeles County Registrar to host 15 vote centers at their health centers. These vote centers are spread throughout East Los Angeles and South East Los Angeles. Any Los Angeles County resident can vote at any of the vote centers throughout the county.

Vote centers are just one of the many convenient options for voting early in the election. The pandemic created a need for early voting centers for people that prefer to vote in person. The Los Angeles County Registrar has partnered with public locations to offer these options. Voters will be able to visit one of the centers if they need extra assistance to cast their ballot.

With infection rates on the rise throughout the country, it is necessary to create additional options for all communities to avoid further risk of COVID-19. These vote centers allow our communities to avoid further risk of infection. They must adhere to public health guidelines to ensure a safe voting experience for all.

Over 100 vote centers have opened across Los Angeles County since October 24th, including schools, stadiums, and community centers.

Voter Resources: Vote Centers will remain open every day from 10 AM to 7 PM.

Additional Vote Centers will be open beginning October 30.

What is a flex vote center?

LA County flex vote centers are sites that offer voting at a scheduled time and can accommodate voters who may need extra assistance. You do not need to be an AltaMed patient or employee to vote in person or drop off your ballot. Below are just some of the centers you can visit locally. To find more centers near you, visit locator.lavote.net.

DATE: Friday, October 30 –– 8:00am – 5:00pm

LOCATIONS:

AltaMed PACE — South Los Angeles (1776 E. Century Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90002)

AltaMed PACE — Covina (535 S. 2nd Ave. Covina, CA 91723)

AltaMed PACE — East Los Angeles (5425 E. Pomona Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90022)

DATE: Monday, November 2  –– 8:00am – 5:00pm

LOCATIONS:

AltaMed PACE — Downey (12130 Paramount Blvd. Downey, CA 90242)

AltaMed PACE — Lynwood (3820 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Lynwood, CA 90262)

AltaMed PACE — El Monte (10418 Valley Blvd. El Monte, CA 9173)

Op-Ed: Prop 21 Threatens African American Generational Wealth

Diane Robertson, attorney and small property owner 

The primary path to the middle class for American families is through property ownership. However, for many African Americans, Latinos and other minorities, the opportunity has been out of reach because of discriminatory housing laws and economic inequality.

It’s alarming that a measure on the November ballot would make this lack of access worse, and simultaneously threaten relatively recent gains made by others in these groups. Proposition 21 would make it more difficult to build the affordable housing we need, and make it harder to enter the middle class through home ownership — the central pillar of the American Dream.

As we come to grips with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, those of us who have spent years saving and sacrificing to purchase a house or condo find our investment and financial security in jeopardy. The failure of our leaders to pass protections for small landlords like me endangers our livelihoods, and puts our tenants at risk.

Proposition 21 would exacerbate the already dire situation facing mom and pop property owners, and could hasten foreclosure and short sales of our properties. Like the last housing crisis, this economic upheaval will lead to large corporate landlords and hedge funds swooping in to purchase these properties at distressed prices, devastating small landlords and forcing tenants out of their homes.

Fewer rental properties on the market and more corporate ownership of California housing will not only hurt independent property owners, it will hurt tenants as well. According to the group Tenants Together, approximately 200,000 tenants were displaced from their homes in California during the housing crash that began in 2008.

We must protect small property owners who, in contrast to corporate landlords, often are natural affordable housing providers, operate on small margins, give applicants a chance if they don’t meet all of the rental qualifications, and help maintain the integrity of a community. 

As the COVID-19 crisis hit, a neighbor and I talked about the impact it could have on landlords and tenants. We reached out to a handful of other independent landlords of color to share information and ideas. From there, the Coalition of Small Rental Property Owners was born and has been growing ever since. Our goal is to ensure that our voice is not drowned out in the fight between tenants’ groups and large property owners.

Small landlords are an integral part of communities like mine in South Los Angeles.  I have been fortunate enough to save and invest in a duplex and fourplex here. I have made it a point to be flexible with my tenants when needed. I have a personal relationship with my tenants. I understand that having stable tenants is good for my bottom line and my community.

I want to see our community thrive, and the door to property ownership open up for African American and Latino families who desire it, but for whom this dream remains deferred because of bad public policy like Proposition 21. California’s housing market was in crisis before COVID-19, due in large part to a failure to build enough supply to meet demand, and how costly and difficult it is to build new housing in our state.  These factors have caused prices to soar, making it that much harder for the average family to buy property.

We cannot slam the door to the middle class on those who are working to get ahead. Proposition 21 will diminish opportunities to own property for people who look like me, and will worsen our problems of racial and economic inequality.

The state of California is facing a new economic challenge, and families across our state are struggling. What we need most is new investment in our housing market, not an extreme measure like Proposition 21 that will further destabilize it.

Board of Supervisors Developing Plan to Impeach Sheriff Villanueva

Christal Mims, Staff

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is in the midst of developing a plan to oust Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Spearheaded by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the proposal, and co-author Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the plan reportedly consists of rounding up the board’s lawyers, inspector general, civilian oversight commissioners and acting CEO to consider options for removing or impeaching the sheriff.

“We stand firm in terms of the issue of transparency and accountability and I think it’s reasonable for the board to have the opportunity to look at this matter,” Ridley-Thomas said.

The motion, titled, “Report Regarding Options for Removing the Sheriff” expresses a lack of faith in Villanueva.

“Under the current sheriff, hard-fought vital progress is being undone, and community trust is rapidly eroding,” the motion states. “While the board has been able to navigate challenging times with previous sheriffs, this sheriff’s actions demonstrate the dire need to explore options for removing a sheriff who refuses oversight or, at a minimum, mitigating damages caused by unacceptable behavior.”

This motion comes after the civilian oversight commission called for Villanueva’s resignation earlier this month. The sheriff disregarded the call and accused the group of punishing him for investigating potential corruption.

Sheriff Villanueva has been criticized in recent months for his handling of the LASD budget, deputy-involved shootings of unarmed Black and brown residents and the unearthed information regarding deputy gangs.

“Given the recent but persistent refusal to provide the transparency and accountability that the community rightly demands, the County should consider whether the status of the Sheriff’s office should be reexamined in order to better serve the more than 10 million residents of the County,” the motion continues. “The need for mechanisms to hold an elected Sheriff accountable is painfully obvious today, at a time when communities across the County are reeling from violence – including much-too-frequent deputy involved shootings.”

The board’s motion also calls for an amendment that would allow the L.A. County sheriff to be appointed rather than elected.

“With an elected sheriff, the county has had to maneuver different ways to create checks and balances on the sheriff,” the motion states.

County officials postponed a vote to consider impeaching Villanueva that was supposed to take place on Tuesday to Nov. 10.

Villanueva responded to the motion by suggesting that the board has been reluctant to provide him with an adequate budget or the resources to do better, but that he is willing to sit down and hash things out.

“I’m reaching out. I’m reaching out across the aisle and tell them let’s sit down, let’s resolve our differences, let’s work out a memorandum of agreement with the inspector general and my office in terms of sharing information,” Villanueva said.

America on Edge: Officials Prep for Possible Post Election Civil Unrest

Staff

Ballot boxes being burned. Americans loading up on guns. Government and police agencies preparing for riots and the FBI investigating threatening emails to Democratic voters instructing them to cast their ballots to Trump “or else”.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Xavier Becerra petitioned the Sacramento Superior Court to order the Republican party to provide details about the location of private ballot boxes it set up, and the voters who left ballots in them. Some boxes were placed at gun stores, churches, and GOP party offices.

“Our work to ensure that all voters have confidence that their vote will count moves forward,” Becerra said in a statement. “To the extent that unauthorized ballot drop boxes are redeployed, our investigation is ongoing, and we will act where necessary.”

All just a snapshot of the confusion and heightened anxiety surrounding the November 3ed election as Americans line up in droves to cast their ballot early and ensure their votes are counted and their voices heard. To say that America is on edge pending the outcome of the November 3 election is an understatement. Gun stores have reported all-time spikes in sales. The demand for tactical apparel is also up and gas masks have experienced a 20-fold jump in sales.

Fifty-six percent of voters (as published in Breitbart) say they expect to see “an increase in violence as a result of the election”. Another poll found that 61 percent of Americans are concerned that the nation was on the verge of another civil war.

The heightened tensions surrounding the election are expected to come to a boiling point in the days following the election, though fearing an uptick in disputes between voters at the polls–and or voter intimidation, some local election authorities will be adding armed security, particularly as President Trump –in an unprecedented move– urged supporters to go to the polls and watch very carefully for voter fraud. Thus, setting up a recipe for possible outbreaks of violence.

And as the campaigns of President Trump and Joe Biden are prepping for legal challenges to election results and the counting of ballots which is sure to further inflame tensions, pro and anti-Trump groups around the country are already making plans to protest.

Police departments around the country are taking extra precautions. The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. purchased more than $100,000 worth of less lethal weapons, including tear gas canisters in preparation for protests and potentially violent demonstrations after the election. The New York Police Department has told its officers to prepare for the possibility of protests that could last into 2021. The Justice Department is planning to station officials in a command center at FBI headquarters to coordinate a federal response to any disturbances that may arise around the nation.

Federal authorities have reportedly thwarted several right-wing terrorist plots across the country in recent months – from an alleged conspiracy in June to firebomb buildings and Black Lives Matter protests in Las Vegas by members of the “boogaloo” movement, to the arrest of 14 men linked to two anti-government groups that allegedly conspired to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer.

In the months leading up to the election, People’s Rights– a paramilitary group founded by an anti-government activist with chapters in at least 15 states and a professed membership upwards of 37,000 who, angered by COVID-19 restrictions, have staged rallies– and are telling their members to prepare to stock up for scenarios that may include chaos, riots and looting and that may lead to basic shortages of food and goods, power outages and supply chain interruptions.

In fact, across the country, Americans are stocking up to hunker down for a possible wave of sustained election-related unrest and according to one analyst, the violence will occur no matter who wins.

“If Biden wins, it will be an excuse to try to delegitimize the results and to go after perceived enemies on the left, and of course, that means labeling pretty much anyone that you disagree as Antifa. If Trump wins, this will be a signal to these far-right groups that have supported him, extremist groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, that they will see this as open season to go after people that have been opponents of Trump.”

Given how Trump has already framed the election as being rigged, officials also fear a possible threat in a loose coalition of vigilantes and other armed extremists who think that their election is going to–or has been – taken away.

Should Trump hesitate to accept the election outcome, the Protect the Results coalition has already set in motion over 200 non-violent rallies in cities across the United States slated to begin a 5:00 pm on Wednesday, November 4. Many of the groups have been planning “war game simulations” of how to prepare for various election scenarios.

Under one such simulation of a narrow Biden win that Trump contested; the Transition Integrity Project war game saw more than 4 million Americans take to the streets for the Democratic nominee.

Stephanie Owens, the NAACP’s national grassroots election protection project manager, says the challenges of COVID-19 and the racial protests following Floyd’s death have heightened the organization’s normal concerns about violence. In some cases, the NAACP has been talking to voters about removing their yard signs and bumper stickers to avoid post-election violence.

“The symbolism of who you’re supporting is a very large component of our election tradition. But there is almost nothing traditional about this election,” says Owens. “People are already being targeted based on the candidates they are supporting.”

The NAACP’s Detroit chapter announced that its members and area attorneys will monitor polls across the city and state on Election Day for instances of voter intimidation or voter suppression.

“We’re not police officers, but we have eyes and we have ears,” said Chui Karega, a lawyer and general counsel for the Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “We will stand tall and we will be present to assist in the enforcing of the law.”

The NAACP has also trained thousands of volunteers in de-escalation tactics, hoping to reduce violence before it even starts.

Political insiders believe that a close race would make for the worst scenario for civil unrest and a landslide win for Biden would be the best scenario. Even then experts say there is no playbook for what will happen on November 3rd and in the weeks following the election. The Bush/Gore Florida debacle that had poll workers counting chads lasted 36 days.

Here in California, Secretary of State Alex Padilla is projecting a safe election while conceding that counties need to be ready for potential trouble, including any efforts to threaten or harass voters.

LAPD Police Chief Michael Moore is assuring Angelenos that they will be safe, given that armed militia groups are not as predominant in Los Angeles as they are in other areas of the country. He has, reportedly, asked officers to reschedule any vacations or time off around election day in the event of any unrest.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas Invests $335 Million in New Behavioral Health Center

Staff

The original Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital building is now the Mark Ridley-Thomas Behavioral Health Center, a new and innovative healthcare facility. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in collaboration with county partners to celebrate the state’s first ever licensed Behavioral Health Center (BHC) that will provide “fully-integrated inpatient, outpatient, and supportive services for some of Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable populations.”

“Over the last decade, we have transformed the MLK Medical Campus into a center of excellence that provides holistic care for our community,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “With the opening of the Behavioral Health Center, we are bringing to life our intent to establish a cutting-edge continuum of care that promotes mental health, recovery, trauma prevention, rehabilitation, and many other essential wrap-around services that foster long-term wellness for our patients and the community at large. I am tremendously proud of this milestone.”

The Mark Ridley-Thomas Behavioral Center is part of more than one billion dollars invested into the medical campus to transform and support the wellness of surrounding communities. 

Attendees of the ceremony were able to explore the 500,000-square-foot building that includes a new peer resource center, upgraded conference rooms, innovative examination rooms, a new canopy extension, exterior site improvements and more.

“With the County’s $300M plus investment, the BHC will serve the residents of LA County for many years to come with a range of services not found elsewhere. The decision to transform rather than demolish this building has proven to be a very efficient investment of County resources,” said Fesia Davenport, Los Angeles County Acting Chief Executive Officer. 

The center will house more than a half dozen County departments and partners, including clinical and behavioral staff from the Departments of Mental Health, Public Health, Public Works and Health Services. The Departments of Probation and Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services, along with the Office of Diversion and Reentry, will sponsor rehabilitative, vocational and training opportunities to equip those in need with the tools necessary to reintegrate into society. 

“The Department of Health Services is excited to collaborate with our mental health partners along with other departments to innovate delivery of care. The BHC will provide care for the body and mind, and it is our goal that when someone walks into those doors, they know they are on their way to healing and restoration,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

The new center is set to officially open in 2021.

Trump’s Latest Executive Orders Seen as Attempts to Sabotage a Biden Administration and Eliminate Diversity and Inclusion Programs

Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

With record early voting numbers heavily pointing to a potential landslide by Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden, President Donald Trump is working behind the scenes to undermine a new administration and further divide the country.

The President this week quietly signed an executive order that strips civil service protections from a large number of career federal workers if Trump determines that they are in “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions.”

He also was called out by members of Congress for another executive order that removes diversity and inclusion programs both at the federal and private sector levels.

As first reported by the U.K. Independent, the most recent executive order creates a new category “Schedule F” for such federal positions that do not turn over from administration to administration and reclassifying them.

The Office of Personnel Management — essentially the executive branch’s human resources department — has been charged with implementing the order by publishing a “preliminary” list of positions to be moved into a new category on what could be President Donald Trump’s last full day in office: January 19, 2021.

The range of workers who could be stripped of protections and placed in a new category is vast, experts told the Independent.

The list could include most non-partisan experts — scientists, doctors, lawyers, economists — whose work to advise and inform policymakers is supposed to be fact-driven and devoid of politics.

For instance, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would be among those terminated by Trump.

In a nutshell, the Independent reported that the executive order could give Trump the power to “mount a scorched-earth campaign which would cripple a future Biden administration.”

“In the event the incumbent president loses his re-election bid, this order could give him largely unfettered authority to fire experts … while leaving behind a corps of embedded loyalists to undermine his successor, according to federal employment law experts,” the newspaper noted.

Creating the new category — known as “Schedule F” — and moving current civil servants into it “could allow a lame-duck President Trump to cripple his successor’s administration by firing any career federal employees who’ve been included on the list,” Journalist Andrew Feinberg wrote for the Independent.

“It also could allow Trump administration officials to skirt prohibitions against “burrowing in” — the heavily restricted practice of converting political appointees (known as “Schedule C” employees) into career civil servants — by hiring them under the new category for positions which would not end with Trump’s term.

“Another provision orders agencies to take steps to prohibit removing “Schedule F” appointees from their jobs on the grounds of “political affiliation,” which could potentially prevent a future administration from firing unqualified appointees because of their association with President Trump.”

Spokespeople for both the President and Biden did not return emails to Black Press USA.

“Yes, if Biden wins, he will undo all of these Executive Orders,” tweeted Beth Noveck, the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative under President Barack Obama.

“However, if they fire people on their way out the door, it will wreak considerable havoc. And if he doesn’t win, then this disaster is another one of many but a serious one for democracy and the rule of law.”

Noveck added:

“It’s unclear whether this becomes… a blunt instrument…to do some surgical removal of people they don’t like, or whether they’re going to actually attempt some sort of bloodletting or purge.”

Charlie Reeves, who describes himself as an anti-Trump moderate, said the implications of the executive order is far-reaching.

“I understand as an executive order it can be reversed, but you can do a lot of damage in two months and make for a big mess for Biden to clean up early,” Reeves tweeted.

“Clear effort for petty revenge and to hinder a smooth transition.”

The President’s latest act marked another in a string of recent controversial executive orders.

Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Chair of the House Financial Services Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, recently introduced a bill (H.R. 8595) to invalidate Executive Order 13950 and preserve diversity and inclusion training programs at federal departments and agencies as well as in the private sector.

Beatty’s bill, which has the backing of 23 members of Congress, noted that Trump’s order rolls back diversity and inclusion training programs within all federal departments and agencies, the U.S. uniformed services, federal contractors, subcontractors, and specific federal grant recipients.

The order also established a hotline within the Department of Labor for the investigation of complaints.

It required the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to craft a request for seeking information from federal contractors, subcontractors, and their employees regarding the training, workshops, or similar programming provided to employees, under the threat of termination of any existing contract and preclusion of future contracting opportunities.

“As the first-ever Chair of the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, I have focused our bipartisan work on highlighting the tremendous impact of a more inclusive U.S. economy and workforce,” Beatty said.

“In hearings throughout the 116th Congress, the Subcommittee has received testimony from industry leaders and experts acknowledging the correlation between diversity performance and the bottom line. Diverse organizations are more profitable, pose less regulatory risk, and strengthen our economy.”

She added:

“That is why I strongly oppose Trump’s divisive attempt to cement racism as the practice and policy of the federal government and call on all Americans to join me in this effort because this Executive Order is antithetical to the values we hold so dear as a nation.”

A Single Dose of Remdesivir Costs Uninsured Two Months of Income

Sunita Sohrabji, Ethnic Media Studies

Essential workers, who must continue to work even as COVID rates spike and shelter in place orders are reissued, largely lack health insurance coverage despite the Affordable Care Act, and thus would not be able to access treatment if they become ill from an infection.

David Hayes-Bautista, Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at UCLA Health released a study a day earlier which highlighted that just a single $3,120 dose of Remdesivir, a therapeutic approved earlier this month for treatment of hospitalized COVID patients, would amount to two months of a farmworker’s salary.

“To pay for just that one item, you would basically have to forgo all food, all housing, all clothing, and all transportation for two months,” he said.

Patients using the drug must receive daily infusions for 10 days for a total cost of more than $31,000.

Simply getting a COVID test can cost upwards of $100 to $2,000 if you’re uninsured, he said, adding that for a family, testing costs can add up pretty quickly.

At the briefing, the scholar said President Donald Trump’s fourday sojourn at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital after he tested positive for COVID cost the nation $320,000.

Federally Qualified Health Centers — FQHCs — do offer health care to low-income people, regardless of immigration status, but Hayes-Bautista said this was an imperfect solution to the crisis of access to health care, as such facilities are chronically underfunded and often overwhelmed by large numbers of patients.

A conservative Supreme Court could well do away with the Affordable Care Act, which offers subsidized health coverage to 22 million people. If it is repealed, 55 million people in the U.S. would lack any form of health coverage. “In the midst of a pandemic, this is a recipe for absolute disaster,” said Hayes-Bautista.

Denise Octavia-Smith, Executive Director of the National Association of Community Health Workers (CHW), said that health workers are providing services such as contact tracing, testing and education in under-served communities, but largely without financial help from federal or state resources.

CHWs are overwhelmingly women of color and the most underpaid among frontline health care workers. Many of them live in homes without basic facilities, Smith said. In the first wave of the pandemic, many were furloughed, even though they were badly needed in their communities, because of a lack of funding.

“It is my hope that some of the tens of millions or even billions of dollars coming through the federal government will be invested in community health workers’ centers and lead organizations so that we can come through and out of this pandemic with enhanced capacity, not reduced capacity,” stated Octavia Smith.

When a vaccine becomes available, Octavia Smith said CHWs, who are trusted messengers within a community, can help to dispel myths and fears about getting vaccinated, ensuring that more people of color and low-income people are inoculated against COVID.

Taraji P. Henson Will Host Mental Health Talk Show on Facebook

Staff

Actress Taraji P. Henson is set to host a new talk show centered around mental health. The series, “Peace of Mind with Taraji,” is scheduled to go into production later this year and will be on Facebook Watch. Henson will host the show along with her best friend Tracie Jade Watkins.

“I’ve long been a mental health advocate for the Black community and created the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 that has provided resources to thousands of people who are struggling,” said Henson. “I’m looking forward to bringing this new talk series to Facebook Watch, where I can continue to create conversation around an issue that is near and dear to my heart.”

Henson and Watkins will interview celebrities, experts and everyday people about mental-health issues, highlighting those in the Black community. The show will attempt to erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Henson’s Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is named after her late father, who dealt with mental health challenges as a result of his tour of duty in the Vietnam War.

“The work Taraji has done in the mental health space is inspiring, and we’re thrilled to have her come to our platform to educate and entertain around this  incredibly important topic,” said Mina Lefevre, Head of Development & Programing for Facebook Watch. “One of our strengths at Facebook Watch is building community and conversation around topics people care about, and we’re looking forward to taking this journey together.”

The new show will be a part of Facebook’s mental health initiative that will also include a resource center on the Facebook app called, Emotional Health that will contain tips and information from experts and new mental wellbeing guides on Instagram. 

Executives are reportedly hoping that Henson’s show will find the same success that Jada Pinkett-Smith’s, “Red Table Talk” has – a series that hosts an official Facebook group with over 2.8 million members.

Taraji P. Henson Will Host Mental Health Talk Show on Facebook

Staff

Actress Taraji P. Henson is set to host a new talk show centered around mental health. The series, “Peace of Mind with Taraji,” is scheduled to go into production later this year and will be on Facebook Watch. Henson will host the show along with her best friend Tracie Jade Watkins.

“I’ve long been a mental health advocate for the Black community and created the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 that has provided resources to thousands of people who are struggling,” said Henson. “I’m looking forward to bringing this new talk series to Facebook Watch, where I can continue to create conversation around an issue that is near and dear to my heart.”

Henson and Watkins will interview celebrities, experts and everyday people about mental-health issues, highlighting those in the Black community. The show will attempt to erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Henson’s Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is named after her late father, who dealt with mental health challenges as a result of his tour of duty in the Vietnam War.

“The work Taraji has done in the mental health space is inspiring, and we’re thrilled to have her come to our platform to educate and entertain around this  incredibly important topic,” said Mina Lefevre, Head of Development & Programing for Facebook Watch. “One of our strengths at Facebook Watch is building community and conversation around topics people care about, and we’re looking forward to taking this journey together.”

The new show will be a part of Facebook’s mental health initiative that will also include a resource center on the Facebook app called, Emotional Health that will contain tips and information from experts and new mental wellbeing guides on Instagram. 

Executives are reportedly hoping that Henson’s show will find the same success that Jada Pinkett-Smith’s, “Red Table Talk” has – a series that hosts an official Facebook group with over 2.8 million members.


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