REFLECTIONS: 36 years of Strengthening and Uplifting Community

Written by admin   // August 3, 2012   // Comments Off

Putting Neighbor Back into the Hood.” The title was recommended by MCJ Editor, Thomas Mitchell, Jr., last year, and we debated its “slang” connotation. Ultimately we determined the title succinctly stated our goals for 2012, and indeed it has. Neighbors reside, work, play, grow, or fail to grow, within a geographical proximity. We are interdependently linked by our neighborhoods.

The inner city is often referred to as the “hood.” A term of endearment and familiarity, it usually means a shared or common experience. Our outstanding group of 2012 Honorees understand the significance of building people, resources, and employment opportunities. They work, mentor, serve, minister, educate, heal as they sensitively help neighbors, as a part of their missions. These community resources are often under-rated and under-exposed though they consciously work to make a difference, on a daily basis.

Indigenous leaders continue to be at the core of good neighborhoods. Good political leadership supports safe, productive and resourceful neighborhoods, through the utilization of city, county and state services; and we thank Mayor Tom Barrett and Health Commissioner Bevan Baker for joining the salute of these committed Honorees, including Alderwoman Milele Coggs of the Sixth Aldermanic District.

And, the creation and stabilization of businesses that regenerate dollars that increase jobs and employment opportunities remain our neighborhood’s greatest economic strength; and our power to affect immediate change. We support those who build our community and make conscientious efforts to employ from our immediate community.

The physical health of neighborhoods is part of the newspaper’s diatribe. To this end, Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, Epidemiologist, and family physician, is a renowned public health researcher and analyst, whose studies show an over-riding health disparity in urban neighborhoods. These disparities are consistent, regardless of city or state, and negatively impact urban communities around the country.

Her data’s identifiable facts demand equity, change, and acknowledgement of what she describes as “racism” because the color of one’s skin too often dictates geography, services, access and attitudes that dramatically affect health and health outcomes. She explains until equity is accomplished, we shall continue to see radical gaps in infant mortality, HIV/AIDS cases; hypertension and strokes; cancer and heart attacks; obesity and diabetes, as well as over-utilization of hospital emergency rooms rather than urgent care and neighborhood clinics, a burden shouldered by all.

Dr. Jones hopes to begin a serious discussion about racism and how we must value the whole person to bring about the paradigm shift. Her message will inspire and mobilize.

The MCJ staff, our committees and contributors are to be congratulated for their collective support of this event. We take this opportunity to applaud our sponsors, particularly MillerCoors, We Energies and Northwest Funeral Chapel and UWM, who have been major sponsors for six consecutive years. We also extend thanks for tenured sponsors Forest County Potawatomi Foundation, Roundy’s, Quarles and Brady, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Guaranty Bank, US Bank, North Milwaukee State Bank, and Columbia Savings and Loan. Hupy and Abraham, new to the sponsor fold, and Mc Pyle Mc Donald’s and Mueller Communications, all make the support of the Dr. Terence N. Thomas scholars possible. Your generosity buoys us annually. We are “winning” this academic war, as the student accomplishments will attest.

Congratulations to the 2012 graduates, Dr. Christopher Webb, MD, 4th year Residency completion in Anesthesiology; Courtney Jones, Masters Degree in Sociology; and Justin Lester, Masters Degree in Psychology. Outstanding academicians, all, we applaud the sophomores, juniors, seniors, our second year business post-grad, our second year med school and second year pharmacy school students. And, we applaud our grad who is now taking MCATS, with Med school in her immediate future. The Ernestine O’Bee Award creates these sustaining awards. You have watched them grow, graduate and encouraged them to return home!

We temper our illumination of neighborhoods and community-based organizations with the sobering reality that much work remains. We must work collectively to stem the violence, to strengthen education and to tackle the health disparities that plague us. We must partner to inspire our youth, treasure our seniors and strengthen the foundations that propel our community forward.

MCJ will be providing a forum for Grandmothers and Grandfathers who will mentor, share the stories, and espouse the messages of hope, survival and inspiration.. And, we begin our self-empowerment campaign by encouraging healthy lifestyles, including “old school” walks and jump rope competitions, right in the neighborhood.

Jump ropes donated by Northwest Funeral Home should encourage the children to jump, single ropes and double dutch for fun, exercise and competitions. The Festivals, parks, school programs are outlets to show how good these clubs have become.

And, MCJ has pedometers available to track the number of steps taken, daily. This could lead to neighborhood walking clubs. Take one…count your steps! Encourage your neighbor to walk with you. We’ll show some ‘Before and After’ successes, in the newspaper and on the website. Watch for the MCJ photographer who will be highlighting block walking teams as they gear up for the numerous community walks and runs. Let’s get started. We have a full agenda but the first step begins with YOU, our readers, advertisers and supporters! The power lies within US…all neighbors in the hood!




Patricia Pattillo


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