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MLK Weekend Packed with Activities

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The largest MLK March in the nation is just a few weeks away, and there are hundreds of events connected to DreamWeek to enlighten you and your family or just have fun.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the events happening on Sunday, Jan. 20, just one day before the largest march in the country.

Sunday, Jan. 20

9 am – MLK 5K at MLK Park: Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” The Young Men’s Leadership Academy 5K Run is a fundraising event presented by the school to help raise funds for the academy, as well as a demonstration of their support for Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of resilience and equality. Young Men’s Leadership Academy is the first all-boys public school in San Antonio. If you are unable, or do not wish to run, please donate!

2 pm – Wreath-Laying Ceremony: The San Antonio Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission invites the community to the Commission’s annual Wreath-Laying Ceremony honoring the life, struggles and accomplishments of Dr. King. Businesses, city officials, and organizations will lay wreaths at the MLK, Jr. statue in commemoration at 2 pm at E. Houston and N. New Braunfels streets. The Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers Association will present the colors.

2 pm – Technology and Play at BiblioTech East: Learn about how technology is changing the way kids play today. Screen time recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics for cell phones, television, and other digital devices will be discussed, as well as, hear about new trending apps and alerts parents need to know.  This event is free and open to the public.

2:30 pm – “As Ones” presented by Alamo City Opera at the Buena Vista Theater at UTSA Downtown: The Texas Premier, this new, 75-minute chamber opera depicts the experiences of its sole transgender protagonist, Hannah, as she endeavors to resolve the discord between herself and the outside world. Inspired in part by the life experiences of acclaimed filmmaker Kimberly Reed, “As Ones” rich libretto and evocative melodies and harmonies make it an unforgettable work. Pricing varies between $15-$50 depending on seat choices.

4 pm – Annual Day Party hosted by The Alamo Alphas in San Antonio at Lush Rooftop: Music by DJ E-Phlat will go until 8pm. The event is free.

4 pm – “The Rachel Divide”: This documentary spotlights Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who was famously found to be lying about being African-American while serving as an Africana studies professor and NAACP branch president in Spokane, Washington. Filmmaker Laura Brownson followed Dolezal and her sons for two years to explore her choice to continue to identify as a “transracial” African-American and how that’s affected her family. The Rachel Divide shows what happened to Dolezal after the initial furor died down. Filmmaker Laura Brownson says, “There [was] collateral damage and fallout that [was] very big and very hard to recover from. This event is free, but guests should RSVP to attend at the Alamo Drafthouse Park North.

5:30-6:30 pm Vigil: The P.E.A.C.E. Initiative presents a vigil and blessing for the people of the MLK March, symbolizing movement from a place of violence to a place of peace at the East Side Boys and Girls Club at 3503 Martin Luther King Drive.

Monday, Jan. 21

8 am Worship: The community is invited to enjoy a positive and uplifting experience during the Early Morning Worship Program. Presented by the San Antonio Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, the event features contemporary and traditional musical artists, inspirational and motivational dances and spoken word performances. Free and open to the public. This event will include Food Bank donation bins. Please bring nonperishable food products to donate.

10 am – MLK March starting at MLK Academy at 3501 Martin Luther King Drive: The annual march, organized and presented by the San Antonio MLK Jr. Commission and the City of San Antonio, begins at the MLK, Jr. Academy and ends at Pittman-Sullivan Park, 1101 Iowa. The nearly 3-mile route down Martin Luther King Drive takes participants through San Antonio’s historic Eastside in remembrance of Dr. King. In 2018, approximately 300,000 people participated in the march as part of an unforgettable experience that has become one of San Antonio’s signature events.

To see the full list of events for the days prior to the Monday, Jan. 21 march, go here.

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Beyond Unacceptable

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Another Dead Black Man Too Many: The Family of George Floyd Speak Out.

From the Today Show – Delivered by Black Video News

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Black People & PTSD

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Black People, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the Risk of Death From Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Nationwide —Here are some facts: Black people have been found to be more likely to die from COVID-19 infection than white people, both in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Black people also have a higher rate of PTSD diagnosis than white people. PTSD can result in suppression of the immune system. Immunosuppression is associated with a higher risk of death from COVID-19. It is thus not unreasonable to question whether PTSD-induced immunosuppression is contributing to the elevated risk of dying from COVID-19 amongst black people.

Data reveals that Black people are more than four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white people in England and Wales and that even after adjusting for age, socioeconomic conditions and prior health, the figures show that Black people remain twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white people in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics.1 Some suggest sickle cell disease is the explanation, however this is unlikely, being already in a shielded group they are likely to have little or no ongoing expo-sure to COVID-19. Other contributary factors which have been highlighted are obesity, over-crowding and frontline working, however these are likely to be already adjusted for within socioeconomic status.

This article proposes that PTSD-induced immunosuppression contributes to raised mortality from COVID-19. PTSD is a condition which occurs after a traumatic experience where symptoms persist of reliving the distressing event and there is hypervigilance, numbing, mood changes including negativity about the self, the world and the future. There is avoidance of people and situations that act as reminders of the event and sleep and concentration disturbance. Physical symptoms including Neurological, Respiratory and Cardiovascular symptoms also occur in PTSD.2

What is the evidence that Black people have higher rates of PTSD?

The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey: Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, England, 2014 found doubling of the rate of PTSD amongst black adults at 8.3 per compared to white adults at 4.2 though assumed that the differences could not be relied on because of the small sizes involved.3

One study found that when PTSD affects US race/ethnic minorities, it is usually untreated and likely to become chronic and persistent and suggested that the large disparities in treatment indicate a need for investment in accessible and culturally sensitive treatment options.4 A separate two year follow up study found that African Americans with PTSD experience high number of traumas and most do not receive treatment.5

Findings from large-scale national studies suggest African Americans have a 9.1% prevalence rate for PTSD.6 This suggests that almost one in ten Black people becomes traumatized. This is an underestimate due to known under-diagnosis of PTSD in black people.7 Studies of racial discrimination and race-related stress have shown that when an individual reports psychological distress from racism, trauma was often not considered.8

Why would Black people be at increased risk of PTSD?

In addition to traumatic experiences that a person of any race or ethnicity might face, race-specific traumas include micro-aggressions and the erosion of a fundamental requirement for human beings – a sense of belonging. A striking example of that undermining of belonging was witnessed by the Windrush generation in the UK. Black people face challenges to a sense of belonging to desirable social, housing, occupational groups and on a wider scale there are challenges to the black person’s right to belong in a country such as the UK, a crude example being the ‘go back to where you came from’ statement. A sense of belonging is an intrinsic human need. The psychologist Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs defined self-actualization and self-esteem as requiring the secure foundations created by a sense of belonging.

Another often overlooked contributory factor to the large prevalence of traumas affecting Black people is Intergenerational transmission of trauma. Parent-child attachment patterns are known to replicate through generations within families. Going back to slavery and post-slavery eras, forced black familial disruption was part of the mechanism that enabled forced labour and enrichment of slave owners and others and this involved brutal disregard for the integrity of the black family unit by white oppressors. Yet another overlooked factor is vicarious trauma and witnessing shootings of unarmed black people can give rise to a sense of threat to the black viewer’s sense of their own safety.

What is the evidence that PTSD suppresses the immune system?

A study of 1,550 male workers with a previous history of PTSD concluded that PTSD produces immunosuppression and has long-term implications for health.9 This finding is now widely accepted amongst mental health professionals and a questionnaire commonly used as a tool to diagnose PTSD is the IES-r.10 A cut-off point of 37 and above in the IES-r is commonly accepted by mental health workers as associated with immunosuppression.

Treatment of PTSD

PTSD in Black people is treatable with a growing number of psychotherapies including prolonged exposure therapy, EMDR, cognitive processing therapy, somatic experiencing, if delivered by psychotherapists with training and knowledge of diversity matters. Medication is sometimes but not always required.

Conclusion

There now exists evidence for higher death rates of Black people from COVID-19 compared to White people as well as evidence that Black people have a higher rate of PTSD diagnosis than White people and furthermore that PTSD is associated with immunosuppression and we know that immunosuppression is associated with a higher risk of death from COVID-19. The proposed association described here between PTSD-induced immunosuppression and increased risk of death from COVID-19 needs to be explored further and in addition, high PTSD rates in black people need to be recognised and treated as both a mental and physical health priority.

References

1. Office of National Statistics. Release date: 7 May 2020. Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by ethnic group, England and Wales: 2 March 2020 to 10 April 2020 obtained on 12 May 2020

2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Publishing

3. Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. (2014) retrieved on 11 May 2020 from https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/health/mental-health/adults-with-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-in-the-month-prior-to-survey/latest

4. Roberts, A.L., Gilman, S.E., Breslau, J.N., Breslau, N., & Koenen, K.C. (2011). Race/ethnic differences in exposure to traumatic events, development of post-traumatic stress disorder, and treatment-seeking for post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States. Psychol Med.

5. Pérez Benítez, C., Sibrava, N., Kohn-Wood, L., Bjornsson, A., Zlotnick, C., Weisberg, R. & Keller, M. (2014). Posttraumatic stress disorder in African Americans: A two year follow-up study. Psychiatry Research-neuroimaging Volume: 220, Issue: 1, pp 376-383

6. Himle, J.A., Baser, R.E., Taylor, R.J., Campbell, R. D. & Jackson J.S. (2009). Anxiety disorders among African Americans, blacks of Caribbean descent, and non-Hispanic whites in the United States, Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23(5): 578-590.

7. Williams M., Malcoun E. & Bahojb Nouri L. (2015) Assessment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder with African Americans. In: Benuto L., Leany B. (eds) Guide to Psychological Assessment with African Americans. Springer, New York, NY

8. Carter, R. (2007). Racism and Psychological and Emotional Injury: Recognizing and Assessing Race-Based Traumatic Stress. The counselling psychologist Volume: 35 issue: 1, page(s): 13-105

9. Noriyuki Kawamura, Yoshiharu Kim & Nozomu Asukai (2001) Suppression of Cellular Immunity in Men with a past history of Posttraumatic stress disorder. Retrieved on 11 May 2020 from https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.158.3.484

10. Weiss, D.S., & Marmar, C.R. (1997). The Impact of Event Scale-Revised. In J.P. Wilson, & T.M. Keane (Eds.), Assessing Psychological Trauma and PTSD: A Practitioner’s Handbook (pp. 399-411). New York: Guilford Press

Source: Anne Coker

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Celebrating 107 Years

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On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, family members, friends, and members of her beloved Sorority (Alpha Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated) honored their sister Ms. Gertha Murphy as she celebrated 107 years of life. A parade with of over 100 cars including the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department and a Fire Truck from the San Antonio Fire Department caravanned through her neighborhood to let her know that she was well loved and not forgotten on her birthday.

https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2020/05/21/san-antonio-woman-turns-107-community-celebrates-with-car-parade/?fbclid=IwAR2m6z5CbhvHMEbyS5ysgbzqb5os0UYstt3V8O3iNwdxrHROvbNTnn-xmKI

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