The Insight Center is excited to announce the launch of “Stories,” first-hand accounts and experiences focused on exposing the root causes of economic exclusion and racial inequity to challenge current inequitable power structures so that everyone can fully participate in the economy, and have the freedom to bring their full selves to our diverse nation.
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In the coming months, we’ll publish more stories of race, poverty, and segregation that expose hidden truths about economic exclusion and racial inequity in America.
Alicia Walters is the co-founder of Echoing Ida, a national program of Forward Together, that helps amplify the voices of Black women and non-binary people. Inspired by the work of civil rights activist and journalist Ida B. Wells, Walters began Echoing Ida in 2012 to position Black women in media as the experts they are. “In many ways, Black women were at the bottom of the heap – when it came to health, when it came to wealth,” said Walters as she described how the project came about. “And when you turned on the TV or listened to the radio we weren’t being called upon as experts in our own lives.”
Echoing Ida teaches Black women how to hone in on their lived experiences and expertise to become change makers and go-to thought leaders. Echoing Ida writers, or Idas, draw on their distinctive perspectives to provide effective and trusted analysis on issues impacting their communities. Read more…
David Pate, an Associate Professor at the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, is an expert on low-income Black men, fatherhood, and child support debt. David researches the challenges Black men face in the social welfare system and how they make ends meet.
Most recently, Pate is examining the impact of “toxic stress” on Black men. This stress results from early traumatic experiences or life changing events that have a lasting, negative impact throughout adulthood. “You’re walking around with your past childhood experiences that never got attended to as an adult,” explains Pate.
As part of his research, Pate interviewed 200 Black men and examined their physical and mental health, access to health care, adverse childhood experiences, and other factors. After the interviews were conducted, he analyzed their profiles in respect to ten conventional components of adverse childhood experiences that contribute to toxic stress; five components relate to issues of child abuse and neglect and five pertain to family dysfunction. Read more…
Jahmil Lacey, a public health researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, is working to address health disparities among African American men in underserved locations around the Bay Area. A team of physicians, researchers, public health advocates, and community organizations have all come together to launch a new health initiative that cares for people, not profits.
Lacey’s effort is called TrapMedicine, which leverages the cultural capital of barbershops as an upstream strategy for addressing disparities in chronic disease and mental health among African American men and boys. “Culture and trust are the two pillars of this initiative and what we need to focus on to achieve equity,” says Lacey. From his previous experiences managing school-based health centers and running high school youth programs, he has learned that in order to see sustainable improvements the community must have trust in your understanding of their culture and, most importantly, in you. Read more…
Shanya Hayes is going places. While many students her age spend their summer vacations doing anything but school work, this bright young scholar has been staking out her future.
And as her ambition leads her toward new understandings, she’s learning more about what her journey might entail as a young Black woman growing up in a society still deeply marked by bias and its profound but not always visible effects.
A junior at Charles E. Jordan High School in Durham, North Carolina, Shanya is a participant in the Scholars to College program at the Emily K Center. As part of its mission to develop student leaders and break the cycle of poverty, this nonprofit organization provides college readiness programming and other services to academically-focused students with financial need.
Through this holistic college-readiness program, Shanya enjoys weekly small-group instruction and one-on-one guidance during the school year, and she is engaged in academic, leadership, and career-related enrichment activities over the summer. Read more…
Elinam “Eli” Dellor comes from a family of strong, Black women who pushed through social and geographic boundaries to accomplish the extraordinary. Her grandmother, Irene Akosua Dei, overcame significant adversity as a young orphan in Ghana, where she survived through subsistence work and taught herself how to read and write before going on to successfully raise eight children of her own, including Eli’s mother, Pat.
Pat continued Irene’s legacy by becoming one of the first in her family to attend college and practice sports medicine in Ghana – a field where women were scarce. Facing limits to what she could accomplish in Ghana, she made the difficult choice to move her family to the U.S. in search of greater opportunity and a better life for her children. “My parents are immigrants and they came here for a very specific reason – to ensure that we don’t struggle as much as they had to struggle,” Eli explains.
Today, Eli stands on the shoulders of her mother and grandmother as a bright and ambitious Black woman and first-generation immigrant who has a Ph.D. in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Read more…