Since Natureman had a friend or two coming to visit him last Saturday I took the opportunity to go into town for the second public presentation sponsored by the Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community Organization. It’s the group with which I have been helping on their digital team for the past months.The first presentation was on Unconscious Bias: Can We See Our Own Blindspots?

Unfortunately for both that presentation and the facilitator training for their public interactive presentations fell on weekends we were out of town attending our children’s weddings but Saturday I was able to attend the public presentation How Did We Get Here? the Hidden Impacts of Racial Disparities given by Reggie Jackson (now Director of Milwaukee’s Black Holocaust Museum) and Dr Fran Kaplan both of Nurturing Diversity Partners.

Some 200 + community members were in attendance for the two hour morning program of which half would stay for the afternoon Deep Dive Retreat during which small discussion groups would be held led by 2 facilitators, a person of color and a member of the privileged community.

Below is information shared from Mr. Jackson and Dr. Kaplan…

Starting with a description of ‘Racism’ emphasizing the fact it is a social construct.

The morning presentation spoke of these disparities both in the state of Wisconsin and our very own city of La Crosse. Problems discussed included home ownership and its resulting wealth, economics re: employment and income, equal justice under law, children’s well being and schooling, health and healthcare and perceptions of discrimination; all of which should be viewed as a public health issue and be treated as such.

Historically as mentioned in previous blogs La Crosse was a Sundown Town.

And also written about was the national policy of a “deliberate mandated choice for segregation ” called redlining as to where/if folks could purchase homes. “

Dependent on towns, cities/ states the makeup of our state and communities’s populations vary.

Included in the statistics mentioned but not limited to Wisconsin having the 2nd worst unemployment ratio in the country with white at 3.9% and Blacks at 13.5%. Since the official rate is usually half of real rate double these numbers. Here are the numbers comparing La Crosse to Wisconsin’s percentages in 2017.

Who owns the businesses in our community? Of the 2016 figures of 37oo+ businesses- 95% are owned by whites and 5% by people of color.

La Crosse’s poverty status from 2013-2017 /year looked like this…

In Healthcare there is unequal treatment in access, quality and care. People of Color still face high rates of uninsurance compared to white Americans and even with the ACA communities of color face barriers due to economics, geographic, cultural and linguistic barriers and tend to receive a lower quality of care. An alarming fact is the maternal mortality rate due not to poverty but to racial stress…

Regarding education in our area we have a huge disparity in test scores.

The institution of White privilege affects all arenas of our communities and it is up to us to right the institutional injustices by educating all of us. Better now than never. We will all be better for it…