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First of all, let me say that this tweet represents me and not the role I carry as the head of higher education in KY. But clearly education matters to what I am saying. I am in the “at-risk” category for Covid-19 based on health factors and race-at twice the risk to die.
I was born “at-risk” in the Appalachian hills to Black family in poverty without access to a hospital and follow-up healthcare for my mother and me. A non-licensed mid-wife assisted delivering me at home. Black babies are at twice the risk for infant mortality.
I was “at-risk” educationally. Parents had little or no education and I was in the demographic that was part of desegregation of the schools. The gaps were huge for Blacks getting through high school and getting an equitable education. Those gaps are still there.
I was of that generation that came to college in the 1970’s after the Civil Rights Movement. We were clearly “at-risk”. We were fighting for an equitable college education. I’m proud that we are closing some gaps in KY higher ed but we have a long way to go.
African Americans are “at-risk” in education, income, wealth, health, living conditions, and just plain living. There is no excuse that can be given for the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arberry and countless other senseless deaths.
I am a Sociologist that has dedicated his professional career to stop inequities and inequalities. I work with healthcare, teachers, corporations and for over three decades with police officers training them in human relations, cultural competence, leadership, etc.
I ask myself if my work and my struggle have been in vein. The answer is NO! I matter! You matter! No more excuses. We have to get better and we all have to do our part to make it happen. We cannot do this through violence or sitting back and doing nothing.
The solutions lie in the reasons we are “at-risk”. We have to have better education and equitable education, better trained police officers, better living conditions, better healthcare, and realize that having any one of us “at-risk” effects all of us!
I’m tired and many are tired of being “at-risk”. Racism doesn’t have a place in a civilized society. Your job and my job is to make a civilized society more civil!
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