Planned Parenthood: Do we have another choice?

February 21, 2011 by Jessica Acee · Comments Off
Filed under: American Identity, Health, Politics 

The House-passed funding cuts to Planned Parenthood are bad for American women. But the real tragedy is that, without Planned Parenthood, we have little else.

On Friday the Republican led House voted to cut all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.  While the organization most notably provides abortions (which cannot be federally funded), they also offer men and women’s general and sexual health care on a sliding scale.

Most women I know, myself included, have relied on Planned Parenthood as their sole health care provider at one point in their lives.  For many women Planned Parenthood is the only health care they’ll ever receive. In fact, one in five American women have received services at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Read more

Cross-post: America’s Food Sweatshops and the Workers of Color Who Feed Us

February 19, 2011 by Imagine 2050 Editors · Comments Off
Filed under: Food Justice, Health, Politics 

Gratefully shared from and originally published by Colorlines.

by Yvonne Yen Liu, Thursday, February 17 2011.

juan_baten_021611.jpgJuan Baten came to this country from Guatemala seven years ago in search of a better life. A bus in Cabral, Guatemala, hit his father so Baten left home at the age of 15, to make the journey north. He made his way to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he found work in a tortilla factory in an industrial corridor along the Brooklyn-Queens border. He worked six days a week, nine hours a day, from five in the evening until two in the morning, operating the machines that churned out tortillas. The $7.25 per hour he earned was sent back to his family in Guatemala, supporting his four brothers.

Baten also found love. Seven months ago, his common law wife Rosario Ramirez gave birth to daughter, Daisy Stefanie. They dreamed of a day when they could move their family back to Guatemala.

However, one Sunday, Baten’s arm got stuck in the blades of a dough-mixing machine and he was crushed to death. Read more

Audio Blog: All sides of abortion debate fail to address needs of women

January 24, 2011 by Jessica Acee · Comments Off
Filed under: Health, Politics 

Press play below to listen:

In this edition of Imagine2050′s audio blog we take a look at reproductive justice.  The debate about abortion has effectively masked the utter lack of accessible and quality health care for all women, but especially for women of color.  With connections to racist groups on both sides of the issue, we’ll talk about real solutions where women have control over their bodies and their futures. Read more

Audio Blog: Arizona Favors Racial Profiling Over Healthcare

December 10, 2010 by Jessica Acee · Comments Off
Filed under: Health, Immigration, Politics 

Press play below to listen:

Not only has the state of Arizona passed a punitive, racist law called SB1070, but they’ve just cut state funding for residents who need transplants but can’t afford them.  Gov. Jan Brewer believes it’s the right thing to do, but the state has lost a lot of funding and it’s low income Arizonans who have to pay. Read more

World AIDS Day brings awareness to prevention, stigma

December 1, 2010 by Amy Spicer · Comments Off
Filed under: Health, International, Politics 

Today, December 1 is World AIDS Day, and in the midst of the holiday rush provides good reason to pause and reflect.

This year’s theme is “Universal Access and Human Rights” as part of the Light for Rights campaign. Created primarily to cut infection rates and stigmas associated with the disease, World AIDS Day was also established to shed light on past and present victims of this disease. An adversary for 30 years now, AIDS has claimed millions of lives and it is estimated there are close to 33 million people worldwide currently living with the HIV.

Although significant progress has been made in HIV prevention, treatment and care, the focus this year is to make human rights integral to the response. The 2010 Global Update on the AIDS Epidemic, released by the Joint United Nations Program, shows major gaps in the implementation of human rights commitments at national and regional levels. These are critical in helping to guarantee access to health services, education and work security. Read more

Stress, Working Conditions and Workers Health

October 14, 2010 by Carlos Rich · Comments Off
Filed under: American Identity, Health 

Low paying and high stress jobs take a toll on the human body.   No I am not a doctor, but I spend a lot of time talking to low wage workers in high stress work environments across the Midwest.  I have seen how these factors have contributed to illnesses like hypertension and depression.

According to 2010,

Stress is one of the main reasons for the chronically elevating blood pressure which in turn causes hypertension. Stress also produces large amounts of vasoconstriction hormones that increase blood pressure. Job strain, race, social environment and emotional stress are the leading causes for hypertension.

Let me tell you a story of two men I just met to further explain what I see.   One man is a Mexican American from Texas, he is Chicano.   The other is an African American man from Chicago.   These men have known each other for about 4 years.  They met working in a processing plant in Iowa and share twenty years of experience working in similar fields.  Read more

All Time Low: Center for Immigration Studies Blames Immigrants for Teenage Obesity

September 24, 2010 by MJ Olahafa · Comments Off
Filed under: American Identity, Health, Immigration 

kids playingThe anti-immigrant movement continues to sink lower and lower with attempts made to demonize immigrants, scare people and plant bigotry. With a complete disregard for human decency and common sense, the anti immigrant group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) are now blaming immigrants for every issue no matter how farfetched or downright false it might be. And just when you thought they hit rock bottom, when you tell yourself there is no possible way for them to sink lower, behold, they dig even deeper and blow your mind.

Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) was founded in 1985 as a project directly under the control of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).  CIS is part of a web of controversial anti-immigrant organizations orchestrated by John Tanton, who founded FAIR.  The anti-immigrant movement has attempted to blame immigrants for the financial crisis, for increasing taxes and for the overall collapse of the real estate market. Immigrants have been blamed for the growing number of cars on highways, increased gas prices and even the high illiteracy rate in our schools. To top it off, it was only a few months ago that Philip Cafaro who is a writer for anti-immigrant groups such as the CIS and NumbersUSA attempted to link the BP oil spill with a discussion on immigration. Read more

Anti-immigrant Laws Are Anti-human

September 17, 2010 by MJ Olahafa · Comments Off
Filed under: Health, Immigration, Politics 

Over 60 deaths in U.S. border deserts in July 2010. The number almost rivals that of US troop deaths in Afghanistan for the same month, 66, the deadliest month of a nine-year long war. The number of deaths along the border since 2001, 1,650, has eclipsed the number of US troop deaths in Afghanistan, 1,200, over the same period of time.

These numbers do not pertain to animals, but to humans; mostly migrant workers crossing into the United States from south of the border. So far this year, over 170 bodies have been recovered in Arizona’s Pima County, the deadliest stretch of the US/Mexico border. This is the second highest number on record, after 218 deaths recorded a mere three years ago in the same area. Read more

Hardhat Decals Created by Immigrants and Refugees to Improve Safety

September 13, 2010 by Carlos Rich · Comments Off
Filed under: Food Justice, Health 

safetyfirstLet me tell you a story of a how a simple sticker can be used to send a message that could literally safe lives and limbs. Eight months ago, it was a cold and snowy January weekend in Iowa when a group of immigrants and refugees from around the Midwest gathered to talk about issues of workplace safety and share ideas on how to resolve them. Already, these workers and community leaders had been pressuring meat and poultry plant employers to make their processing plants safer for workers and consumers. However, this had been difficult and conditions had improved little.

The worker leaders are part of health action councils that have been evolving over three years and been meeting regularly with organizers from the Center for New Community. After years of hard work to identify and address these issues, the leaders were ready for change. Read more

Low Wage Workers Fired for Injuries on the Job

August 27, 2010 by Axel Fuentes · Comments Off
Filed under: Food Justice, Health 

Day after day, I converse with workers and hear about issues that affect their health and safety, which include injuries and accidents in the workplace.  There have been several workers, especially immigrants, who have told me their personal stories. Today though, I am only going to focus on one of the issues that plague them.

The well-being of many immigrant workers is largely affected because they are expected to do the most dangerous jobs and are the most disadvantaged when claiming their rights. In most cases of course, fear is present. The fear of reprisals from employers or even fear of the government.  There are several cases I have heard about in which workers are fired after a few days of being injured even though they have worked for the company for several years.  Most of the accidents in the workplace are not being reported to OSHA and other government agencies.  With injuries going unreported, companies proudly show zero accidents for a month in which they probably had several.

I have heard on several occasions about safety team workers or management that pressure workers not to report any information about workplace injuries. Read more

A ‘habitual offender’ unleashes nearly half a billion salmonella-tainted eggs

August 21, 2010 by Imagine 2050 Editors · Comments Off
Filed under: Food Justice, Health 

Originally published on by Tom Philpott - 19 Aug 2010.

As a jaded observer of  the livestock industry, I just sighed when I learned the scale of the current salmonella-tainted egg recall: 380 million eggs, distributed under 10 different brands in 17 different states, all from a single producer — Iowa-based Wright County Farms. Another day, another industrial-ag gaffe imperiling the health of millions.

USA Today reports that as many as 1,300 people have already been sickened by the tainted eggs. According to a recent GAO report, companies recover only about 36 percent of targeted products in a typical recall. That means that literally millions of people stand just an undercooked egg or an unwashed hand away from a nasty case of salmonella. Read more

Food Companies Put Profit First, People Last

July 30, 2010 by Axel Fuentes · Comments Off
Filed under: Food Justice, Health 

The working class is being oppressed by employers that only want to grow wealth regardless of the sacrifices or conditions for their workers. The primary and only goal for this type of employer is to make more money.  Few of these employers care to be fair to employees.

In a recent regional meeting, immigrant and refugee workers gathered again to address health and safety issues in meat processing plants. It was very clear from their discussions that plant owners, the people they work for, are more worried about an increase in profits than the workers’ lives. The high speed of work lines and the lack of attention to dangerous plant conditions are just two of several reasons why workers get hurt on the job. Plant managers continue to increase the speed of work lines while reducing the work force to produce more for less money - putting the workers at a higher risk of injury.

Often when workers are injured the companies just have them fired.  As with other industries, there are too many health issues and injustices being ignored. Read more

NY Doctor Injects Steroids in Fetuses to “Cure” Homosexuality

July 29, 2010 by Cloee Cooper · Comments Off
Filed under: Culture, Health 

Dr. Marie New of Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City is experimenting with steroid injections in fetuses that will “make girls ‘more feminine’ and reduce odds they turn out gay,” according to an article in the Oregonian.

Back in mid-June, Time magazine wrote on article entitled, “A Prenatal Treatment Raises Questions of Medical Ethics,” which focused on Marie New and a controversy concerning “cures” for a condition they refer to as CAH, short for congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The condition has to do with the adrenal gland, but in many cases results in ambiguous genetalia in females.  Apparently 1 in every 16,000 babies is born with this condition.  In many cases doctors in the past have made executive decisions to do reconstructive surgery on babies – most often times resulting in a traditionally “female” baby.

According to research, the medical establishment has long recognized that gay and lesbian people are not inherently diseased. Obviously, Dr. New and her collaborators didn’t get that memo back in 1973. Read more

Birth Control is for Everyone

July 16, 2010 by Jessica Acee · Comments Off
Filed under: Health, Politics 

The government released a list of key preventative services Wednesday, which will be covered at no “out of pocket expense” when the new health care legislation takes effect. From counseling for kids who struggle with their weight, to cancer screenings for their parents, preventive health care will soon be available at no out-of-pocket cost under the new consumer rules.

Conspicuously absent is the promised list of women’s preventative services.  That list won’t come out until August of 2011.   And making sure that birth control is covered on this list is key for the health of all women.

“Avoiding unintended pregnancy is one of the most important medical issues for women,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. Read more

FDA Risks Lives, Votes to Uphold Homophobic “Gay Blood Ban”

June 14, 2010 by Stephen Piggott · Comments Off
Filed under: Health, Politics 

Let’s face it; there is a serious shortage of blood in this country and for that matter around the world. The Red Cross is in dire need of type O Negative blood and is estimating that it will face a critical shortage this summer if more donors are not found. In many donation centers around the United States, blood donations are down, even though springtime is usually the high time of donations. The consequences of this shortage are very serious, with people such as transplant patients not able to get the blood they need for serious operations. With lives on the line, ordinary citizens, medical experts and the US government have all been asking each other the same question, what can we do to increase the blood supply?

The solution comes in the laws created and maintained by the Food and Drug Administration. These draconian laws are out of date and flawed. One of the laws that has been getting a lot of attention lately is referred to as the “gay blood ban.” This regulation bans all men who have had sex with another man at any point since 1977 from donating blood. I found out about it last week, and I was so shocked and appalled that I thought it must be a joke. Read more

A Little Knowledge Yields A Lot Of Power

May 25, 2010 by Carlos Rich · Comments Off
Filed under: Food Justice, Health, Politics 

osha_blogI never expected something so small that it could fit in a back pocket to make such a big difference.  For many in this country, information is readily available via the Internet.  But this is not the always case in rural Iowa, and when useful information comes along it is well-received.

Back in mid-January I was in D.C. for a meeting about better safety laws and regulations for workers in the food industry - like meat processing workers, migrant agricultural workers and restaurant workers. While there, my colleagues and I stopped by the offices of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We met with representatives who heard our concerns about the health and safety hazards immigrant workers and workers of color face every day in the heartland. Read more

Reproductive Justice Free From Bigotry

May 18, 2010 by Cloee Cooper · Comments Off
Filed under: Health, Immigration, Politics 

This month we celebrated the 50th anniversary of an advancement that revolutionized the lives of women: the pill. At the same time, population control advocates have taken center stage with the recent passage of Arizona’s anti-immigrant Senate Bill 1070.

Strangely enough, reproductive health and anti-immigrant advocates have historically found common ground on the issue of population control. Although the reproductive health movement has avoided modern racist and eugenics-related trappings that traditional population control advocates have not, it is worthwhile to examine where intersections lie so that we can identify bigoted agendas within progressive movements. Read more

Great Successes at the Latino Worker Health & Safety Summit

April 23, 2010 by Carlos Rich · Comments Off
Filed under: American Identity, Food Justice, Health 

Last week we took workers to Houston, Texas for what could be a historical event, the National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health & Safety. The worker leaders who joined us on the trip have helped to build the Health Action Councils in Iowa and Missouri, which were created to address the most pressing issues Latino immigrants and other workers of color face in their workplace in regards to health and safety.  Many of the workers attending the conference faced severe consequences. Since many of the workers do not receive fringe benefits or vacations pay, attending this event represented a massive sacrifice because many of them would not be paid for their 3 day absence. Some could risk losing their jobs but the ones who made the trip were lucky, compared to many workers who work in Americans heartland.

There are some who did not make to the summit and more still who didn’t even hear about it. These workers are living under harsh conditions that many of us could not even imagine. They are living under modern slavery, working for dollars a week.  All too often we hear the same injustices that many immigrant, refugees and workers of color face in their workplace. Discrimination, wage theft, or outright abusive treatment from employers or supervisors is commonplace. Many employers do not seem to care about workers conditions, especially in areas such as construction, hotels, mines, oil refineries and meat processing plants. The list goes on and on.

Read more

Bottled Water Can Hurt You, Your Wallet and the Environment

April 11, 2010 by Imagine 2050 Editors · Comment
Filed under: Ecopolitics, Health 

This article was originally posted on AlterNet by Jeff Deasy.

From chemicals in plastic bottles to contaminants found in popular brands, it’s a wonder people consider bottled water a healthier option.

“Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward.” -George Carlin

Millions of Americans have taken to drinking water from plastic bottles in the belief that it is safer than tap water, leading them to pay 1,000 times as much for their drinking water. But evidence from scientific studies shows that bottled water is no less contaminated than tap. Jane Houlihan, Senior Vice President for Research for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends that people worried about water contaminants should drink tap water with a carbon filter. Read more

Haiti Also Needs Psychological First Aid

February 3, 2010 by Chris Bober · 1 Comment
Filed under: Health, International 

The earthquake in Haiti this past month is reportedly the region’s worst in over 200 years. In the immediate aftermath, Haiti’s President René Préval called the devastation “unimaginable” with the quake destroying the country’s infrastructure and claiming hundreds of thousands of lives. An early estimate by the Haitian government puts the death toll at 150,000. Sadly, the number of lives lost may never be known because many Haitians were forced to bury their own family members and some bodies may never be recovered from the rubble.

In disaster relief missions of this magnitude, the first response is to provide immediate relief to the region. This includes medical care, food, water, and shelter. It is important to note that those involved with this effort are doing a heroic job providing these absolute necessities. They help to create stability and safety while reducing the ultimate death toll. However, some in the mental health community are concerned that not enough will be done to take care of the emotional needs of the Haitian people. Many of whom are in acute distress and run the risk of long-term trauma-related illness if adequate crisis care is not provided. Read more

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