by Amy Zellmer, Editor-in-chief
The past few months have been a roller coaster of emotions for many of us.
The United States began to shut down on my birthday while I was still vacationing in South Carolina. My drive home was surreal, to say the least.
As we began to understand that self-isolation was about to have a whole new meaning, we turned to technology to help us stay connected.
Just as we were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and restrictions were starting to slowly lift, we were plunged down the roller coaster hill yet again, this time by the death of a black man named George Floyd.
This one hit me hard. Minneapolis is my home — born and raised.
Systemic racism is affecting all of us, whether we realize it or not. I see it in the brain injury community — people of color are less likely to be listened to and get treatment for their injuries.
Minorities under the age of 65 and 25 are dying at 2x and 5x the rate of similar aged white folks, respectively.
Dr. Mark Heisig wrote in an Instagram post, “With overwhelming margins like that, it cannot be blamed on choice, behaviors, or factors within individual control. In America, your culture and environment are largely handed to you by birth. Same country, different skin color, different world.”
The moral of the story: We need to do better. We need to acknowledge this glaring gap in the healthcare of our fellow people of color. We need to lift each other up, and help one another get the resources and care they deserve. The color of our skin should not have any bearing on the treatment we receive from the healthcare system. #blacklivesmatter
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In 2017, Arizona was 56.4% White, 31% Hispanic/Latino, 4.7% Black/African American, 4.2% American Indian/Alaska Native, and 3.6% Asian/Pacific Islander. Roughly 58% of Arizona's population under the age of 25yo is "minority," while about 81% (8 of 10 people) older than 65yo are white. . . [Pictures 2-3] When looking at healthcare trends between white people and minority populations, there are vast differences in healthcare scores and outcomes. Approximately 6.6% of the minority population in Arizona never sees the age of 25, while this death rate is only 1.3% in our white population. Approximately 37.8% of minorities in Arizona never see the age of 65, while this death rate is only 19.6% in our white population. Is that just chance? . . [Pictures 4-9] Let's look at "health scores" of the AZ white population compared to minority populations. Us white folks tend to have 60% of the "better" factors and only 20% of the "worse" factors. Black and African Americans in Arizona have 9% of the "better" factors and a whopping 80% of the "worse" factors. . . With overwhelming margins like that – it cannot be blamed on choice, behaviors, or factors within individual control. Choices and behaviors are largely influenced by opportunity supplied by the culture and environment. In America, your culture and environment are largely handed to you by birth. Same country, same state – different skin color? Different world. . . These are margins that quite blatantly wave flags that say, "Hey! Something is not right for these minority populations. There must be a systemic error! Light-skinned Asians and non-Hispanic Whites are doing fine while darker-skinned minorities are not – what the f*** gives?!" . . While the last two paragraphs are not unarguable statistics, the carousel above contains hard facts. These numbers are not opinions. These are numbers are Arizona public health data. We need to do better. We need to listen better. We need to vote better. We need to embody the American vision of "liberty and justice for all." . . Black lives matter ♥️