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Archive for the ‘Personal Empowerment’ Category

DiCarlo Shy upon Recognition, Relentless in Her Mission – Wanderer

Posted: July 8, 2020 at 2:46 pm


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Elizabeth Liz DiCarlo has been advocating for people on multiple fronts for more than 40 years. That statement of fact recently put DiCarlo in a special category of women from Massachusetts she was named as a Commonwealth Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

Her name was advanced by State Representative Antonio Cabral of the 13thBristol District.

Noted in DiCarlos biography posted on Mass.gov, Cabral gave a long list of her service achievements such as working with populations from Central America, HIV/AIDS education for at-risk people, affordable-housing issues, and efforts to mitigate discrimination faced by LGBTQ people. She is without a doubt the ultimate people-person.

WhenThe Wanderercaught up with DiCarlo, she softly said of all the recognition she has been receiving, its a little embarrassing. Yet DiCarlo speaks strongly and very clearly when it comes to the issues she believes in fighting for, namely helping those who may be the last to receive services. And while she claims to be retired, it was quite clear her work is far from over.

Im working with the Democratic Town Committee, she said of her ongoing work on voter registration so that, people can vote for those who represent them and their interests.

After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 1970s, DiCarlo became a nurse working as a public health sector. She is originally from Newton but moved to the New Bedford area after graduating. Her family built a home in Mattapoisett around 1975. I was very happy about that! she said.

New Bedford became her base from which she began work organizing labor-union groups and immersing herself in multi-cultural neighborhoods. I love the richness, the diversity of cultures, she said. New Bedford has people from Cape Verde, the Caribbean, Latin America, Ireland, France there have been waves of immigration through the centuries. She said her work over the years has focused on identifying where need exists and then finding the ways and means to serve the people.

One need that DiCarlo identified as growing in urgency is affordable housing. The next generation cant afford to live in Mattapoisett, she stated and explained that the rising cost of owning or even renting properties is impacting young and old alike. Our seniors want to downsize and live in Mattapoisett, but where?

DiCarlo said it is time to think about different types of housing stock and shared her hope that Mattapoisetts updated Master Plan, currently under review by the Planning Board and other committees with the assistance of SRPEDD, will help in finding new ways to solve old problems keeping a roof over heads. She expressed concern that if Mattapoisett doesnt take a proactive approach to affordable housing, Someone will come in and do it.

Systems, process analysis, data collection, and assessment are some of the cornerstones of public nursing, and DiCarlo has thrown her talents to all of those through the years.

On Cape Cod, DiCarlo was hired as a consultant to bring together a network of agencies and community centers for a needs assessment of the 15 towns that comprise the peninsula. There are growing Latino, Caribbean, and Brazilian communities on the Cape, she said, the goal being to understand how well the people can access healthcare services. To her surprise, 1,000 households participated, not hesitating to share their data. She had deployed 200 volunteers in the effort. There were four languages to take into consideration, she said, The response was fabulous. The data from the surveys pointed to the need for culturally competent care and interpretation services.

With pride, DiCarlo said that this project inspired the development of dental services for immigrant populations throughout the Cape. We found that there was a major issue for these people in accessing dental care. The development of dental operatories, locations and services made available to those without insurance or the means to pay for services, bloomed. We developed partnerships with Cape Cod Regional Vocational High School in Harwich and Cape Cod Community College to provide oral health services. That program reached out across Buzzards Bay to Marthas Vineyard as well.

More recently, DiCarlos work has focused on getting out the vote. We want people to come out and vote their values. From a regional standpoint, she said a strong effort had been made in networking for social justice including LGBTQ platforms, but that it is important to increase the dialogue and understanding that voting matters. Having an up-to-date voter registration is critical.

DiCarlo has been involved in school-based, voter-registration drives and placing visual reminders around New Bedford and the surrounding area that display dates of elections. We need people to think about what is important to them; in the larger cities, you have to find ways of reaching people But this isnt new stuff, she added with a chuckle. Weve been doing this since the Rainbow Coalition, personal empowerment, and political empowerment.

HIV/AIDS, health education, and the role of public health nursing are also part of DiCarlos early work. We engaged with communities to assess their assets and identify their limitations to come up with opportunities, she said. We had candid discussions about how to be safe; its not just giving out information but in having those explicit conversations about sexual practices and drugs. She said providing health care was also part of the program, so people could get the care that they needed.

Given the current pandemic, DiCarlo believes, Its not enough to give education, systems have to be in place to help the victims. She said the Southcoast region has done a good job reaching businesses to ensure that distancing and face coverings are used in the workplace.

While talking about workers her thoughts turned to their homelives. Lots of family members may live in a small apartment. We need to educate the children, make sure food resources are readily available, and think about how they will care for one another to prevent the spread of COVID, she said. Half of New Bedford is Latino. They live in dense situations. If we are looking at the data, we need to make sure educational opportunities are there.

That whole-systems approach is the hallmark of a public health professional or, as DiCarlo framed it, All things are possible with honest collaboration, dignity and respect.

By Marilou Newell

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DiCarlo Shy upon Recognition, Relentless in Her Mission - Wanderer

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July 8th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Pureology, #1 Professional Color Care Brand*, Pioneer In Vegan Haircare, To Unveil New Look And Formulas – PRNewswire

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NEW YORK, July 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Pureology is proud to launch a completely renovated product lineup this summer with a new look and select formula improvements. "Color care without compromise" is the Pureology promise to professional stylists and at-home users who wish to align their beauty product choices with their personal values: sustainable practices, aesthetic performance and emotional empowerment. The new Pureology was introduced in June on Pureology.com and at SalonCentric, and will befullyavailable in August at ULTA and Amazon.com.

In recent years, the rise of beauty products that are ecologically-friendly has grown considerably.Like many brands at the forefront of sustainability, Pureology was created in California. The very first products were sulfate-free and 100% vegan. As the brand enters its 20th year, that eco-commitment has grown to encompass even more sustainable benevolence: The new Pureology boasts a reduction in carbon footprint during sourcing of ingredients and raw materials, increased water conservation through concentrated formulas, and95% post-consumer recycled plastic packaging that is 100% recyclable. Further, Pureology formulas are paraben- and mineral oil- free.

Professional stylists and their followings know that Pureology's environmentally-friendly assortment does not sacrifice product performance. In fact, the high-performance, high-lather formulas, and experiential fragrances are what have set Pureology's Sulfate-Free line apart. The new Pureology consists of more than 30 SKUs - including shampoos, conditioners, treatments and styling products - organized by desired benefit: hydration, strength, smoothing, toning, volume, and texture + hold.

To ensure professional-grade results, Pureology products are madeWITH:

All Pureology products are madeWITHOUT:

"The moment where women feel the most beautiful and confident is in the salon chair after a fresh salon service.That's the power of a professional stylist service," said Candy Gebhart, General Manager, Pureology."It's that moment of feeling undeniably beautiful and confident that Pureology aims to preserve from the inside out, from salon visit to salon visit."

ThePureologymodernization has been in planning stages for over a year, however, distribution was temporarily paused in solidarity with themedicaland racial pandemics currently affecting the global population. While progress on each respective front continues to evolve, stylists and salon-goers can expect that once beauty businesses open up again, the new Pureology will be available to offersocially-conscious products that are committed to people, the planet and causes that advance thebenevolenceof both.

*Based on dollar sales reported in Kline's Kline PRO: Salon Retail Products and Services Database for the year ending December 31, 2019.

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Pureology, #1 Professional Color Care Brand*, Pioneer In Vegan Haircare, To Unveil New Look And Formulas - PRNewswire

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July 8th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

‘Gamificaiton’ of educational content offers a peek into the future of classrooms – StepFeed

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Video games have never ceased to gain popularity among all age groups, except when it's time for work or assignments. So when companies like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo decided to disrupt old school curriculums to extend the fun, they developed exciting and challenging games that double as educational tools.

Minecraft, the Microsoft-owned game since 2014, is known for its user-driven content, creative use of blocks, and nocturnal creatures. Putting that aside, the prominent video game has also been at the frontline of mainstream games that offer educational content ever since its $2.5-billion acquisition.A version of the game, titled "Minecraft: Education Edition," promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive digital environment that tackles different subjects.

According to the game's website, 115 countries are currently using this edition across their curriculum. Students learn how body organs, chemical reactions, and important mechanisms work as well as how to formulate algorithms and program them in a visual environment. Meanwhile, teachers can direct the game and watch how materials are perceived.

"When we were studying the work of body organs, I asked the children to divide into teams, choose a body organ and create a 3D model of it in Minecraft. To accomplish this task, they had to read all about the work of the organ, and they no longer saw this as something boring because it looked like an interesting challenge," Peter Pallo, a biology teacher, said in a testimony to Microsoft.

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'Gamificaiton' of educational content offers a peek into the future of classrooms - StepFeed

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July 8th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Vermont Dance Alliance and Black Freedom Fund Partner to Empower – Seven Days

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Everyone needs to experience joy, perhaps especially as the country navigates a pandemic, political divisiveness and the tumultuous struggle for racial justice. Through dance and philanthropy, the Vermont Dance Alliance and the Black Freedom Fund are working to help people nurture their joy and support racial equality in the Green Mountain State and beyond.

In late June the alliance, a statewide nonprofit that supports dance artists, released the video "TRACES 2020 Virtual Performance." It's the pandemic-era version of the group's annual one-day event. Since 2017, TRACES performers have danced outside in Burlington on sidewalks, alongside public sculptures, on the waterfront where audiences encountered them by design or by chance.

This year, the 11.5-minute video, produced by South Burlington's Extensity Creative, features 31 dancers of all ages performing 30- to 60-second pieces in backyards and woods, on picnic benches and industrial stairs. The pieces are elegantly interwoven and set to music by local musicians. It's the most intriguing and satisfying dance video this viewer has seen in a long time. Clever, energetic and filled with surprises, the video exudes joy and captures normally ephemeral live dance as a forever-accessible gem.

"People need this outlet of movement and connection to community," said Burlington's Hanna Satterlee, founder and executive director of the Vermont Dance Alliance. The group hasn't sponsored in-person events since the pandemic began and won't for a long time, she said. Hungry for interaction, participants enjoyed Zoom rehearsals and collaborating on the video; the alliance is sponsoring more dance video projects as a result. For example, on Monday it launched Dancing Digitally, a five-week interactive series on five local choreographers' new works.

"TRACES 2020" also came at a time when alliance board members "wanted to give back immediately to an organization working for racial and social justice," Satterlee said. After considering numerous national groups, they discovered the Vermont-based Black Freedom Fund, which perfectly fits the alliance's mission of empowerment. Just before the credits at the end of the video, viewers are invited to donate.

Christal Brown is an artist, educator, entrepreneur and chair of the dance program at Middlebury College. In early June, she launched the Black Freedom Fund to support Black artists, families and entrepreneurs who are under-resourced due to COVID-19 or other challenges. Through it, she said, she aims not only to provide monetary gifts but also to help create the conditions that support joy.

"Most of the things that we relish in this country that are African American made are from the outgrowth of joy, not pain," Brown said. "The publicity of the pain overshadows the joy of the music, the dancing, the love. It overshadows a lot of the work we've done to be able to be joyful people."

Brown appreciates using "TRACES 2020" as a vehicle to raise funds because the video exemplifies the complexity of bridging different life experiences. Just as performers must understand each person's part, so must we "recognize what goes into each person's reality" to change systems of racism and oppression, Brown said. The collaboration of the alliance and the Black Freedom Fund is "a way of leveraging our realities."

In the Middlebury area, where Brown and her young son are among the few Black residents, her neighbors and allies recently began asking for advice on how to support racial justice.

One day she responded, "'I can do this. I can make something for you. Hold on. Give me a minute,'" she recalled. Almost that quickly, Brown created the Black Freedom Fund under the auspices of her nonprofit company INSPIRIT.

"There's a pain point that's happening right now, and there's a lot of confusion," she said. "When change happens, it has to happen person to person ... in a meaningful way. I wanted to stand in the gap between different communities" by making it easier to give.

In less than a month, the Black Freedom Fund's crowdsourcing campaign surpassed its $10,000 goal and the gifts keep coming. As of Tuesday, 184 people had made donations of $20 to $1,000, totaling $14,457; some businesses had also donated, bringing the total even higher.

Brown put $10,000 in an investment fund and is using the overage to make a gift of about $500 each month. Through professional and personal networks, she identifies recipients around the country for whom that amount would be significant. To date, there's enough to last about 14 months; after that she'll begin drawing from the investment's accruing interest.

A recent gift went to a man with whom Brown grew up in Kinston, S.C. Initially, he got caught up in crime, but after seeing many of his friends die or be drawn into "the prison pipeline of a small town where there's no opportunity," Brown said, "he totally flipped his life around." He's now married, has a son and is a generous force in his community, serving meals to the homeless, doing fund drives and cooking for neighbors, according to Brown. The man recently underwent a leg amputation and cannot work while waiting for the prosthetic. The Black Freedom Fund covered his July rent.

"Black joy is a reservoir," Brown said, that allows people to persevere despite loss, pain and misfortune. Sometimes a gift can help refill it.

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Vermont Dance Alliance and Black Freedom Fund Partner to Empower - Seven Days

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July 8th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Danai Gurira on Empowering Fitness and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice – Women’s Health

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As you would expect, Women's Health August cover star, Danai Gurira, is something of a real-life superwoman. The playwright, actress and activistwho is best known for her roles in Black Panther, Avengers and The Walking Deadalso fights the good fight off-screen.

Indeed, as well as opening up about how she views fitness as a form of empowerment, the 42-year-old Hollywood star tells us in a new interview how she's pushing for lasting change against racism. 'Concerning the fight for racial justice, a fight that so many have devoted their lives to over so many years, a fight that has stubbornly refused to be won, Im daring to hope,' she says, shortly after George Floyd's death sparked mass global protests. 'This is a moment that could bring about some real change and honour the labour of those who have come before. I desire to help that change come to pass in any way I can. Thats what inspires me to keep going.'

Speaking about what that progress should look like, Danaiwho is currently working on adapting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies bestselling novel Americanah into a ten-part series adds: 'We need sustainable reforms. Id like to see anti-racism popularised in our culture, our society, language, commonality and ultimately throughout the system. That would allow for true justice to be the norm and not the exception.

WH's cover star also lets us in on the secrets of her sculpted physique. In addition to following a nutritious pesca-vegan eating regime, she exercises up to four times a week with personal trainer AJ Fisher, focusing on evening out muscle imbalances while improving strength, mobility and cardiovascular function. Their intense sessions include circuit training and moves inspired by Pilates, in which she alternates high-intensity intervals and active rest.

While her workouts might primarily be for moments in front of the camera, they leave her feeling seriously good. [Women] arent encouraged to understand how powerful their bodies can be, Danai explains. I love it when women find their power. I love it when I find a different ability in my body that I didnt know I could find or I could learn I always encourage any young women I speak to to explore that part of yourselfFind the thing you enjoy and it might be lifting weights, it might be boxing. Of course, all the astounding martial arts there are to learn. Its an exciting kind of playground to play in and to find another part of yourself.

Read the full interview with Danai Gurira in the August 2020 issue of Womens Health on sale now. Pick up an issue OR why not get Women's Health delivered directly to your door. SUBSCRIBE NOW

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July 8th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

So You Want to Leave it All and Create a Community? – Resilience

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If you want to leave it all and start a community, you should focus on inner work first. If you focus only on action, you risk building yourself another prison. You might just change one form of unhealthy lifestyle and toxic relations for another as a result.

Living in less and less livable cities to attain an unhealthy lifestyle with a toxic job situation makes many wonder, what if they started a community? You may have talked about it with people around you. Congratulations! Seeing what you do not want is the first step out of helplessness and stagnation. Youre so much further than many who just endure unbearable situations. They keep going in the wrong direction by numbing and relativizing. However, the fantasies of moving to a farm and living in a community need to be considered carefully. Boldness is good. It drives potential for change. However, an action needs vision. Otherwise, it may end up as a nightmare as a Japanese proverb warns us.

I am sharing with you some reflections that came into my mind when talking with people who want to create a community and be self-sufficient. One might argue that I have no expertise because I have not done it myself. I have not even tried. The reason why I have not undertaken such a project is not that it is a bad idea. To the contrary, I have met many people who lead a fulfilled life in egalitarian communities. And it has been beneficial for their health. Personally, I prefer to neither live in a community and strive for collective autonomy nor fit the mainstream employment system. This decision is based on knowing my limits and predispositions. I believe that a life that is an expression of ones unique set of gifts when creatively combined brings fulfillment. I have conducted dozens of interviews in communities in Germany and the US. Furthermore, I have met many people who want to leave their mainstream lives and create a community.

First, I would invest in self inquiry before moving anywhere. If you are escaping from something rather than pursuing a project, you may end up reproducing old dissatisfaction. Once you find yourself in a new situation you may start daydreaming about another life as an escape from the discomforts and challenges. So much empowerment comes from knowing your purpose and your capacities. If you have a dream, it is a better investment to put hundred percent into it in order to verify whether it is really what you want instead of moving to a community as an escape from temporary frustration and stagnation.

Second, it is worth spending some time in at least one community. Both egalitarian communities where I have conducted interviews welcome interns and visitors.Twin Oakscommunity has an orientation program, which can give you an overview of things to consider.Paxus Caltaoffers personal coaching to help you find your place in communal world. This can be vacation well spent with a lot of self-knowledge as a result no matter whether you want to join one of the communities or not. By seeing what you like and dislike about the experience you will be better equipped to define your own vision. Living in such settings can give you an idea about things to consider and prepare for in case you still want to create a community. We go to school to be adapted to the system. Similarly, spending some time in a communal setting may be a necessary preparation for unlearning what may prevent flourishing in a group.

After all this time spent on personnel inquiry and experiential learning, you are ready for the third step. This is probably the most difficult one because it goes against all the conditioning that has been skillfully put into our system. If you want to leave the system, you need to start with the inner work of questioning. Replacing the old with a new setting may actually turn out even worse. Imagine you wanted to escape the nonsense of being employed. If you reproduce a similar atmosphere and problems as you experienced in a job you hated, you risk to be in a similar situation and ask yourself what had been all this effort for. Not only this, you may not be able to numb and use the salary to compensate for your suffering.

If we want to live a radically different life, we need to touch upon the beliefs and automatisms that serve the status quo. We need to address the core of who we are. Since we have been inculcated into our beliefs and rationality at the age of unconscious learning, you may find yourself in a group of people who want to live a different life but are emotionally attached to the vices, habits, and influences that are powerful in preventing any success in creating an alternative. There are two questions that you need to ask yourself and deconstruct your conditioning.

What are my true needs?

There are many ways to analyze how you perceive what you really need. For example, you can experiment living in different conditions as I did for myself. You can look at your habits, addictions, rewards that you think you cannot live without understanding deeply their function in your life. What meaning does the system attribute to them? How do they help you cope and prevent you from facing head on potential discomfort?

I once met a man who wanted to start a community. He also seemed to have problem with alcohol. Whatever he was escaping from, I doubt a community would fulfill his needs because he has not addressed the underlying causes of addiction. It is also worth considering the additional work needed to respond to this craving instead of doing the work to heal from it.

It is important to understand what you really cannot live without. There are things that make us flourish. And things that we got used to even though they do not serve our best selves. Whether you do it alone or in a group, it is a great preparation for setting the priorities for your community. Obviously, you dont want to live in a setting that feels like a compromise and deprivation. However, our perception of deprivation may be shaped by the commercial interests. For example, shampoo has been used since 1930s but many of us cannot imagine not using it.

How do I meet my needs?

This second question is about rationality behind the organization of production. We have been imbued with images and stories about efficiency and productivity. They are well adjusted to maintaining the current system. However, if you want a change, you cannot apply the same set of beliefs. Take farming. I was surprised seeing that in many alternative projects, people follow relatively conventional methods of organic farming imposing working in the sun and unnecessary labor. I have heard of cases of burnout, injuries, and exhaustion because of farming. This is quite ironic that people who want to escape the constraints of the capitalist system put themselves in a situation of the type of labor predominating in a system where human life is not valued. Instead of doing farming in a strenuous way, it is worth investing time in understanding how to work with rather than against nature. There are many publications and movies that describe approached to farming with minimal human labor, energy use and tools. The most famous isFukuokas philosophical bookbut there are more practically orientedbooks.

What is the gain of trading a boss who does not care about your wellbeing for the self-exploitation resulting from ignorance and beliefs inculcated by the system that does not want you to be autonomous?

Studying alternative forms of production and meeting basic needs is essential if you want to liberate from the constraints of the system. It requires giving yourself space for creativity and experimenting. The problem with pursuing the beaten yet labor-intensive path is that you may create a lot of sunk costs and emotional investment in the methods that undermine your community in the long run. And then you follow the problems of mainstream institutions and organizations, which you so much disliked. I have heard of a project producing farming tools as a form of liberation. A true liberation would be not to need to rely on tractors and other machinery while bringing satisfying results and making work an enjoyable pastime.

(Help Katarzyna bring her book Imagine a Sane Society to the world and available for free by donating to thecrowdfunding campaign. You are also supporting Cambia and Twin Oaks this way.)

Teaser photo credit: Twin Oaks Community Facebook page.

Katarzyna Gajewska, PhD, is an author and educator. You can contribute to her crowdfunding campaigns to help publishing the feminine utopia Imagine a Sane Society or other forthcoming Creative Commons books. She has brought out many articles on egalitarian communities based on in-depth interviews. For updates onmypublications:Katarzyna Gajewska Independent Scholar My publication list (selection):...

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So You Want to Leave it All and Create a Community? - Resilience

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July 8th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Blackout Day is July 7, calls for boycott of non-Black-owned business – Business Insider – Business Insider

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On Tuesday, July 7, in an economic protest dubbed Blackout Day, Black shoppers, people of color, and allies are being encouraged not to spend any money, and if they must purchase something, to buy only from Black-owned businesses.

The goal is to highlight the economic power of Black Americans. According to Nielsen, Black buying power reached $1.3 trillion in 2018, up from $320 billion in 1990.

Activist Calvin Martyr, creator of The Blackout Coalition, posted a video calling for Blackout Day back on May 8.

"Although this movement is exclusively targeted at empowering and uplifting black people all over the world, we welcome ALL people of color to stand with us in solidarity," a blurb on the informational website for Blackout Day reads.

"Black people alone account for an estimated 1.2 trillion dollars or more of spending in the economy annually. Together we have 3.9 trillion dollars in economic spending power. While we welcome allies who choose to stand with us, we make absolutely no apology for the fact this movement is FOR US & BY US."

Cisco tweeted that it would be postponing a planned security summit to Wednesday in order to support the Blackout Day cause. Soap and personal care brand Dr. Bronner's tweeted in support of the economic protest and said it would shut down its website, though the site was still functional as of Tuesday morning.

"This is only the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of economic empowerment as a reality for ALL BLACK PEOPLE," The Blackout Day site continued.

"United, we are an unstoppable force. We are a nation of people within this nation that at any time can demand our liberation by withholding our dollars. If we can do it for a day, we can do it for a week, a month, a quarter, a year and one day we will look up and it will be a way of life."

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July 8th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

To Leave Racist Roots Behind, Child Welfare Needs a Great Reimagining – LA Progressive

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The plight of Black children in the child welfare system is one plagued with failure after failure from those who have been put in place to protect them.

As activist, sociologist and historian, W.E.B. DuBois, so accurately stated, A system cannot fail those it was never designed to protect.

Our foster care system was not designed to protect our Black children, but rather mirrors the oppression, discrimination and harassment Black people experience in this country daily. Our foster care system unfortunately reflects the history of slavery and the deterioration of the family.

It is the remnants of Black fathers being stripped from their families, in many cases unjustly, to fill prisons that were designed to control and suppress Black people through the intentional dismantling of Black families.

Our foster care system is the reminder of mothers left to cope with inadequate support, being torn from their children and succumbing to the shame and defeat of a race they were never positioned to run in, let alone win.

Our foster care system is the reminder of mothers left to cope with inadequate support, being torn from their children and succumbing to the shame and defeat of a race they were never positioned to run in, let alone win.

This is theworld Black foster youth live in. They not only deal with personal trauma and the soul-crushing experience of generational oppression that has bred many of the conditions that force them into the foster care system, but must also deal with the psychological trauma of systematic racism that runs rampant within the foster care system, the school system and society as a whole.

The Los Angeles Countys foster care system, which is the largest locally-adminstered child welfare system in the nation, is one filled with bureaucracy, red tape and the warehousing, recycling and dismissal of youth. Its leadership has historically placed more attention on appearances and optics than it does on safe, healthy outcomes for the children they are supposed to protect.

This is by design. And while it is not the fault of the Department of Children and Family Services current director, Bobby Cagle the disease of racism, discrimination and bias runs in the very fabric of decades of profiting off of the bodies of little Black and Brown children it is perpetuated by the current administration and those in charge by continuing to put a Band-Aid on a wound thats hemorrhaging.

Our first failure lies in assuming that a government system can actually respond to the needs of children and families who are experiencing neglect and abuse. There is an African proverb that says, It takes a village to raise a child, meaning that in order to heal, restore, protect and reunify children and families, we must rely on a community of people to ensure those children have healthy experiences and grow up in safe and healthy environments. This community must reflect the faces of the children and families it is seeking to restore, must be led by those who have lived experience, and must not profit off of their deterioration.

Our current system does not restore, it does not heal, it does not protect. Rather, it takes a child out of a bad (or allegedly bad) circumstance and places her in another one then another one then another. If the child is lucky and learns how to control their trauma, anger and frustration, they might have the great fortune of living consistently in a home with a family that truly cares about them and their outcomes. Too often, that is not the outcome. If we want a better future for our children, we must act now to create it.

Across history, weve seen that real progress often follows great adversity, when addressed with intention and urgency. In this time, and during what I see as aGreat Re-Imagining, we must seize this moment, apply it to our foster care system, and create a new future.

For almost two decades now, I have been dreaming of a village where displaced youth can live and thrive, be treated with respect and kindness, where their potential is honored and nourished. There is a model for this, a community calledYemin Orde in Israel, that has for the past 30 years built an educational village that is centered around hope, restoration, positive outcomes and empowerment for our valuable, most vulnerable children.

I am proud to say that for the past nine months, I have been working on such a village that will hopefully be the model to transform our foster care system in Los Angeles and transform the playing field for foster youth from one of neglect and abandonment, to one of nurturing and support.

Simply put, the system we have in place today unjustly tears Black families apart and perpetuates the cycle of trauma, poverty, homelessness and incarceration inflicted on Black communities. Millions of dollars are poured into research and studies that prove that our current system does more harm than good, which is evident in the poor outcomes of our foster youth. What we need now is a reckoning of these facts and a safe haven that will replace our institution, and to ensure that children who genuinely need to be removed are welcomed by their village.

Charity Chandler-Cole The Chronicle of Social Change

Charity Chandler-Coleis CEO ofTransformative Management Solutions LLC, and serves on theLos Angeles County Commission for Children and Families.

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To Leave Racist Roots Behind, Child Welfare Needs a Great Reimagining - LA Progressive

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July 8th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Health and Social Welfare Systems Strengthening Consultant, ACHIEVE/Tanzania – ReliefWeb

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At the heart of Pact is the promise of a better tomorrow. A nonprofit international development organization founded in 1971, Pact works on the ground in nearly 40 countries to improve the lives of those who are challenged by poverty and marginalization. We serve these communities because we envision a world where everyone owns their future. To do this, we build systemic solutions in partnership with local organizations, businesses, and governments that create sustainable and resilient communities where those we serve are heard, capable, and vibrant. Pact is a recognized global leader in international development. Our staff have a range of expertise in areas including public health, capacity development, governance and civil society, natural resource management, poverty, fragile states, monitoring and evaluation, small-scale and artisanal mining, microfinance and more. This expertise is combined in Pacts unique integrated approach, which focuses on systemic changes needed to improve peoples lives.

Department

Program Delivery (PDEL) - Pact exists to help create a world where those who are poor and marginalized exercise their voice, build their own solutions, and take ownership of their future. The Program Delivery Team, contributes to realizing this purpose by: Forging smart partnerships and treating all people with dignity and respect; Applying organizational policies and regulatory compliance appropriately and consistently; Facilitating team spirit among colleagues and promoting the organization through communications; Influencing decision makers through focused, relevant communications; Continually striving to learn and share knowledge and find small ways to make the workplace more enjoyable for all; Cultivating and harvesting innovation; Contributing to the organizations ability to think and act strategically at all times; Inspiring and spreading our desired organizational culture across the global enterprise.

Position Overview

Adolescents and Children HIV Incidence Reduction, Empowerment, and Virus Elimination (ACHIEVE) is a five-year, USAID-funded global cooperative agreement, which helps priority PEPFAR countries achieve and maintain HIV epidemic control among pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, children, and youth. The two objectives of the project are to: i) attain and sustain HIV epidemic control among at-risk and hard to reach pregnant and breastfeeding (PBF) women, infants, children, and youth, as well as to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS and prevent HIV transmission among these populations; and ii) support the transition of prime funding and implementation to capable local partners in order to meet the PEPFAR goal of 70% of funding to local partners.

ACHIEVE is seeking a consultant to assist the ACHIEVE global team in researching and designing a new USAID/PEPFAR-funded community health and social welfare systems strengthening project focusing on orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Tanzania. The period of performance will begin on or around July 1, 2020, for a period of up to six weeks.

ACHIEVE will receive funding to improve national- and community-level social welfare systems, with a particular focus on supporting a skilled social welfare workforce at community and district levels to ensure quality service delivery for OVC, at-risk adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), and persons living with HIV (PLHIV). This activity will build on the progress made and best practices of the Community Health and Social Welfare Systems Strengthening Program (CHSSP).

Through remote and/or in-person meetings, key informant interviews and focus group discussions, and documents review, the consultant will gather information on the following items and incorporate findings into a set of recommendations and plans responding to USAIDs priorities for the ACHIEVE Tanzania project. The consultants information gathering will focus as needed at all levels of the social welfare system, including national, regional, council, ward and community (and will include government, non-governmental organizations, projects, networks, community workers, etc.). In-person meetings will be conducted with due respect for coronavirus safety precautions.

The current status of CHSSP, including progress and gaps in strengthening the community-level social welfare workforce, strengthening community-level committees, and strengthening CBOs, as well as progress and gaps in rolling out the NICMS, the Comprehensive Council Social Welfare Operational Planning and Budgeting Guide, and other above-site initiatives;

Areas of focus of other stakeholders engaged in work relevant to the ACHIEVE project, such as PS3, D4D, Tanzania Technical Support Services Project, Kizazi Kipya, and UNICEF;

Government priorities relevant to the ACHIEVE project, including PO-RALG, MOHCDGEC (specifically, Department of Social Welfare), and National AIDS Control Program; and

The new Community Health Worker (CHW) policy and guidelines and other contextual issues or initiatives with a direct influence on the ACHIEVE project, including matters related to national and program-specific vulnerable children information systems.

Depending on the ability of ACHIEVE global staff to resume international travel, additional tasks may be assigned and period of performance extended.

Key Responsibilities

Key tasks under the ACHIEVE project will include:

Building the capacity and core competencies of the social welfare workforce in select councils, wards and villages/mtaa to enable the delivery of health/HIV, social, and protection services;

Collaborating with Presidents Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) to ensure upgrading of the system, capacity building and accelerating the roll out the National Integrated Case Management System (NICMS) at council, ward and village/mtaa levels;

Collaborating with PO-RALG and Ministry of Health to support the effective transition of CCWs into the community-based health program, in line with GoT guidelines;

Collaborating with PO-RALG and Ministry of Health Community Development Gender and Children (MOHCDGEC) to develop the national OVC service delivery coordination and monitoring framework;

Strengthening social welfare planning and budgeting at the community level to foster evidence-based community engagement and resource allocation using the Comprehensive Council Social Welfare Operational Planning and Budgeting Guide.

Major activities to be undertaken by the consultant, timelines, and deliverables are as shown in the table below. The final output is a report with key findings, recommendations, and technical inputs which ACHIEVE will use to draft its annual work plan and budget to be submitted to USAID on or before August 31, 2020.

Activity

Due (weeks after signing consultant agreement)

Deliverables

Update ACHIEVEs initial key informant list

1

Final initial list of key informants

Review key resource documentation provided by ACHIEVE, supplement with other relevant resources

1

Key background and resource documents identified and reviewed

Develop key informant interview (KII) and/or Focus Group Discussion (FGD) guides for each of the identified stakeholders/ informants

1

KII/FGD guides drafted, including key information needs

Draft schedule of initial round of KII / FGD meetings, all levels (national, regional, council, ward, community)

1

KII/FGD schedule, identified as remote/in-person depending on availability/ location of team members and key respondents

Conduct initial round of KII/FGD

3

Interview notes/reports

Identify, schedule, and conduct additional KII/FGD and/or documents review and data collection as needed

4

Completion of interview notes/reports

Participate in regular calls with ACHIEVE global team to provide updates

Weekly

Draft initial consultancy report, to include findings, recommendations, and technical inputs for ACHIEVE FY21 work plan

6

Draft report

Provide recommendations on operational considerations (staffing, office, budget, etc.) to optimize technical and program design recommendations

6

Operational recommendations (can be included in Draft report)

Finalize report based on feedback from ACHIEVE, Pact Tanzania, and/or USAID

1 week after receiving feedback

Final report

Basic Requirements

Pact is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in its selection and employment practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, citizenship status, genetic information, matriculation, family responsibilities, personal appearance, credit information, tobacco use (except in the workplace), membership in an employee organization, or other protected classifications or non-merit factors.

See the rest here:
Health and Social Welfare Systems Strengthening Consultant, ACHIEVE/Tanzania - ReliefWeb

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July 8th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Heralding a new health data regime in India – Observer Research Foundation

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The Covid-19 pandemic has upended several datafication approaches to healthcare, whether it is digital dashboards at the state-level to track and trace Covid-19 hotspots or a myriad of contact tracing apps that allow citizens to determine their exposure levels to the virus in a geographic span.

There have been manifold applications over the last few months, whether it is telemedicine practice by doctors, or the Delhi governments real-time information tracking application on hospital beds. In the context of the pandemic, AI based techniques are being used on a myriad on datasets right from cough patterns to lung X-rays to aid in early detection.

While India is still in its nascent stages in the evolution of its health data ecosystem and does battle larger capacity constraints in healthcare, it is important to diagnose some of the early challenges in the health data systems design. This article outlines them here from a regulatory standpoint along with looking at a few fixes that can herald a sound federated health data protection architecture.

Healthcare data in India is fairly fragmented and scattered, given the interaction of citizens ranges across multiple diagnostic centres, hospitals, medical practitioners and pharmacies. There are also several distinct parts in delivery chain, whether its insurance agents, third-party administrators (TPAs) or intermediaries such as ASHA workers. The issues of fragmentation are acknowledged by the Health Ministry, in its electronic health record (EHR) standards document of 2016 that look at this digitisation of workflows in healthcare systems. The development of IT systems without a modicum of interoperability (i.e., the-ability of a hospital system of X to communicate with system Y in a different location) has led to redundancies with static silos of data repositories that have sprung up.

Developing such enterprise architecture systems in healthcare has been a challenge, even in developed nations, as seen with the National Health Service (NHS) Connecting for Health efforts in UK that were abandoned after seven years of existence. The key reason for the failure of the British system was attributed to its highly top-down nature and lack of any ground-up apparatus.

A digital public infrastructure-industry complex in India can be associated with the non-profit tech organisation, iSPIRT as its been closely involved in the development of digital public platforms around India Stack (a set of APIs that helped build a cashless economy) and the Bharat Health Stack, dubbed to be the UPI of healthcare with a planned system incorporating open APIs for EHRs. Commendably, iSPIRT has been organising a series of virtual open house discussions over the last few weeks to provide a transparent account of the underpinnings behind this health stack.

There are several design features that we see in common between the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and the early patchwork of the health stack.Open APIs, distinct consent and data layers (dubbed as a data empowerment and protection architecture) and sandbox testing environments are some features that can be seen in both the system designs. The National Health Stack strategy document put out by Niti Aayog draws references to the past successes of federated digital initiatives such as UPI and the GSTN as an inspiration to building a platform approach on health records. However, several NGOs do bat for open source to co-exist along with open standards and open APIs as necessary design choices for the development of open digital ecosystems.

What are some first principles that we must keep in mind for governing health systems that are linked to public welfare? Do patients have agency over the access and use of health records by third parties? Would an algorithmic basis for EHR see individuals credit scores integrated on it as well? These are fundamental questions to consider if we are to futureproof the development of the Digital Health policy blueprint.

While the health stack has stressed the importance of data ownership by patients, the absence of a rights-based framework governing healthcare data (as a class of sensitive personal data) does warrant us to interrogate the role of ownership. This is especially important given the context of a prevalent data divides and digital literacy challenges. In this regard, a Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) study tells us that for about 90% of Indias population, digital literacy is almost non-existent.

Where such data awareness paradigms are scarcely socialised, data capture gets legitimised with the emergence of consent manager models, where fiduciaries manage consent on the data subjects behalf. As EHR adoption in India is still at nascent levels, the implementation of an ethical datafication model is critical, especially amid underserved communities.

Whilst we are still amidst a process to get a personal data protection law passed, there have been some initial efforts into building a privacy framework for the healthcare sector. The Health Ministry had proposed a Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act in 2018 that would enforce privacy and security standards for EHRs. This bill has been now subsumed into a more sector-agnostic framework driven by MeitY with the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill that looks at what constitutes personal health records, decision making powers on health data and penalties for breach of consent.

The Bill doesnt speak of the right to be forgotten of a patient or clarity on how a health stack built with a biometric authentication (Aadhaar) layer would solve for concerns around anonymity, esp. as health data is categorised as sensitive personal data. Consent in healthcare is associated with a higher threshold level (esp., on data sharing with third parties) as seen with how clinical trials are governed world over.

As the adoption of EHRs becomes imperative amid a glut of information challenges (both, the ones linked to the Covid-19 and those preceding it), there are three fundamental fixes we should prescribe for a plan-centric health governance design.

Firstly, improving interoperability by better data integration and harmonisation, such as the synthesis of twenty odd ISO standards into a more context-laden open standard that incorporates local clinical terminologies. Data portability is critical as there are healthcare institutions split between using different standards (such as SNOMED CT and ICT 10) or in some cases, no specific standards at all. While the Ministry of Health has veered towards adopting SNOMED CT in the National Digital Health Blueprint, it must ensure seamless data portability to allow interaction mechanisms with institutions that may still use ICT 10. The NHS Connecting for Health experience also forebodes the need for India to de-risk by avoiding the development of a singular central registry and focus rather on a multi-level hierarchy of EHRs.

Second, the building blocks of the digital ecosystem around the Bharat Health Stack must be inclusive in accommodating patient rights organisations such as the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan.The need to involve patient rights groups is imperative at this juncture, as patient data is at the heart of digital health databases. Data rights should be defined bearing in mind the patient, not the hospital as the key focus. Moreover, health data fiduciaries should bear greater responsibility in improving readability and accessibility of consent forms by allowing for these mechanisms to be available in vernacular languages. The onus should squarely lay on these fiduciaries to provide notices in multiple languages and empower citizens to better understand what they consent to.

Finally, how we build lean datafication approaches in healthcare lies in our ability to find the right balance on privacy, transparency and development. Justice B.N. Srikrishna, who chaired the data protection committee rightly notes, each data collection exercise should provide a clear purpose description and lay out a methodology for procuring the data. The Personal Data Protection Bill of 2019 currently under consideration does place the burden of proof for consent on the data fiduciary. However, the recently notified Telemedicine Practice Guidelines 2020 doesnt provide adequate clarity on preserving consent records. Anonymity is essential for data that is going to be classified as sensitive personal data as is safeguards around strict purpose limitation and allowing data processing in a fair and transparent manner. Several of these principles are echoed in the Data Access and Sharing Protocol of the contact tracing app, Aarogya Setu that came out in May 2020.

This balance between the protection of personal privacy, providing transparency and accountability for the institutions that govern this data (whether consent managers or data exchanges whilst ensuring the empowerment of the individual is at the heart of setting a prudent appropriate federated rights-based design for healthcare data protection.

See the rest here:
Heralding a new health data regime in India - Observer Research Foundation

Written by admin

July 8th, 2020 at 2:46 pm


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