African immigrants in the U.S. are too often invisible -- not only do their exceptional contributions go unrecognized, although they are the most educated group of Americans, but Black immigrants in the U.S. continue to suffer tremendous Health disparities.
In June 2011, the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released their National Prevention Strategy on the 30th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS. Over the years, considerable outreach has been done in the Black community, yet it remains at high risk of HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diseases. However, often overlooked is the assumption that the Black community is monolithic, and as such, national, state and local messages do not get into some pockets of this community, especially the African-born and their first or second generation offsprings.
In order to truly address this issue, it behooves the the HHS, the White House, State Governors, City and all Health officials to make a deliberate, targeted and culturally appropriate effort in implementing the National Prevention Strategy, the provisions of the Healthcare Reform and other national initiatives, for a reduction in these disparities.
Mayors, Governors and the White House should start by:
1) Making a proclamation during the month of September (African Heritage Month) describing the issue of African Immigrants contributions and health disparities, which should be publicly accessible on the White House, HHS, State and City Health Departments' websites. Teams across the 50 states are being assembled to collect all proclamations. Please join us by calling or e-mailing us.
2) Educating staff on how to customize the HHS guidelines and outreach to African immigrants and the Black immigrant community, especially as they relate to HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure prevention and treament.
It's time to stand up and remind America that African immigrants exist and count!
Please sign the petition to top Health and Government officials, asking them to recognize African and Black immigrants' unique contributions to the USA -- and these dangerous Health disparities -- during September, which is National African Heritage Month.