Page 6 - The Fayetteville Press Newspaper July 2021 Edition
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Page 6                                                                                 The Fayetteville Press June/July 2021 Edition



                               Commentary












                                                                    Member of The NC Black Publisher Assocation & NNPA





                                 Communities of Color and Other Buyers,



                         Beware of Bold Promises from Health Insurers







               The COVID-19 pandemic has brought issues                                                                       who seem primarily interested in flipping com-
           of healthcare equity to the forefront of discussions                                                               panies for a profit.
           of racial justice. Even when controlling for factors                                                                    Even more concerning, Oscar has been ex-
           like age and income, communities of color have                                                                     panding into the Medicare Advantage program,
           been  much  more  severely  impacted  that  white                                                                  where they can leverage taxpayer money to pro-
           Americans.                                                                                                         vide health coverage to our seniors. That means

                                                                                                                              one of our most vulnerable communities could
               A recent report by the Kaiser Family Founda-                                                                   be  opting  into  a  company  that  has  questions
           tion found that “older Black, Hispanic, and Ameri-                                                                 hanging over it.
           can Indian/Alaska Native adults were nearly twice
           as  likely  to  die  of  COVID-19  as  older  White                                                                     African Americans clearly need better health
           adults,”  and  “cases  among  Black  and  Hispanic                                                                 insurance. But we can’t get lured in by compa-
           Medicare beneficiaries were 1.6 times higher than                                                                  nies that are more interested in taking money
           the rate observed among White beneficiaries.”                                                                      than providing real healthcare benefits.
               Access to healthcare and health insurance is a
           vital issue for African Americans. And it’s impor-                   By Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.                     So, before you make a decision about health
           tant to be on the lookout for healthcare companies                                                                 insurance, please get more than one opinion or
           that make big promises but fail to deliver.                                                                        option.  There are healthcare insurance compa-
                                                                         number of doctors in its network by more             nies that are considerably more equitable and

               In  this  context,  let’s  take  a  look  at  Oscar       than half.                                           beneficial. Healthcare for all is both a funda-
           Health, an insurance company that tries to appeal                  The company also has connections to             mental civil and human right.
           to consumers by positioning itself as a tech com-             former Trump Administration  officials.  It               Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is President and
           pany. But its track record is questionable at best.           was  founded  by  Jared  Kushner’s  brother          CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers As-
                                                                         Josh, and its parent company, Thrive Capi-           sociation (NNPA) and Executive Producer and

               The company has been investigated and fined               tal, was partly owned by Kushner until he            Host of The Chavis Chronicles (TCC) broad-
           by the NY State Department of Financial Services.             took a job at the White House. And the com-          cast weekly on PBS TV stations throughout the
           During its expansion in New York, Oscar cut the               pany is run by serial Wall Street investors          United States.




               HIS STORY                                                                                                              It is not others responsibility to teach our children about their tree. The
               In North America, July is a selective historical month which robustly celebrates                               resources are readily available: 1) You, 2) Family, 3) Technology, 4) Travel, 5)
                                             th
           ‘freedom’! This year’s celebration marks the 245  official acknowledgement of Inde-                                Museums, and my favorite 6) Books. Your story is richer and more truthful than
           pendence Day. Our official colors for our America are red, white, and blue. “From                                  ‘his story’. Make history and delve into your own history. We may identify as
           1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American indepen-                            African Americans; we can still be proud of that. I interpret it to be as the Jamai-
           dence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual                                cans’ motto, “Out of Many, One People”. Everyone on this planet is multi-faceted
           family gatherings and barbecues. This year, the Fourth of July 2021 was on Sunday;                                 if you delve deep enough into the history; you will find that everyone and every
           the federal holiday was observed on Monday, July 5, 2021” (A&E, 2021). We also                                     animal on this planet has had to fight for freedom.
           celebrated Juneteenth! “Juneteenth is short for “June Nineteenth” and marks the day                                        Freedom exists in many forms: identity, religion, education, money, speech,
           when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state                               even our daily cultural lives…but we all know that there is a cost. Freedom ain’t
           and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a                            free. It retains a fee of patience, understanding, quality time, and sometimes being
           half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the                               uncomfortable about what you may learn. Freedom requires one to step outside
           end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African                                  your comfort zone to understand others while knowing or learning oneself. Free-
           American holiday” (History.com, 2021). While shopping with my grands, I saw                                        dom is filled with eras and errors; it is a never-ending process.
           Juneteenth t-shirts priced for $19.99…I quickly told them we could make those at                                           Before the halls of academia re-open during fall 2021, not only should we
           home as an art project. Independence Day shirts were $5.00…                                                        free our children with historical knowledge but also free our bodies of possible
                  Regardless, there is nothing more beautiful and symbolic to me than to see                                  disease. Vaccinating has been proven to be a free safety shield that may save many
           our flag (wider than an average building, waving in the air) as my plane lands or my car                           lives of the young and old so that the history can continue to be told. “It is not the
           is at a traffic light; the flag is waving so bravely at dealership parking lots, just waving  By Dr. Mary J. Ferguson, Assistant Professor  healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Mark 2:17).
           glorious freedom! I love our country; I believe it is the best on the planet earth. In
           retrospect, I shudder to think if President Abraham Lincoln had not held true to the  City’s Eldorado (suburb), looking for a shopping fix and speaking broken  His Story
           Emancipation Proclamation (1863), where would we be today? I have traveled a few  Spanish. One of the clerks told me in so many words that I looked Pana-
           places and was glad to touch the grounds of the United States of America; it just feels  manian, but did not walk or speak as they do. They laughed and had an air  When you look into the mirror,
           right. You would never imagine the ground zero chaos while airborne. It always re-  of confidence that sent me on my way back to where I felt safe…on base.  Tell me, what do you see?
           minds me of Bette Midler’s song ‘From A Distance’(1990)…”God is watching us,  True lessons learned: 1) Stop judging people’s exterior, 2) Respect other’s  I see history looking back all over me.
           from a distance”. The earth appears so peaceful the further away we are from the  freedoms, and 3) Do your homework before you try to blend in… Ironi-  When you dance and sway your hips,
           actual ground. It makes total sense to me that we are internationally amicable in  cally, we seem to get into a place of negativity and remain there because it  You speak and smile using your lips;
           NASA’s Space Stations. But, we as any other people have social justice problems;  is easy to blame someone else for our concerns or unresolved issues. For  I feel proudly empowered to know that it is me.
           people period…have problems.                                  example: I am proud, sad and amazed at the attention given to ‘Black Wall  When I see the blue ocean and the strong waves in motion,
                  With all enduring respect for our country, lessons were taught to me at a  Street’, ‘Hidden Figures’ and yes, ‘Mr. George Floyd’. All of this history  I think of bondage and four hundred plus years of slavery devotion.
           very early age by my parents at home, school, and at church the importance of prayer,  which has been repeated but not integrated into our daily lives until social  When you see a brother cuffed,
           honor, freedom, and happiness. It was not always pretty conversations; sometimes it  media made it apparent. We lived through the era of comedians making  Do you think it was really fair?
           even required consistent prayer for we were learning this during the height of the Civil  jokes of these situations. Remember Rodney King’s “Can’t we all just get  Well, I think sometimes brothers are right and sometimes brothers
           Rights Movement (1965). During the twentieth century, there was a division in the  alone?” I imagined that some laughed, some shook our heads; but many of   dare.
           knowledge-base of the rural and the educated. Often formally uneducated people knew  us had advanced and were economically, professionally, and educationally,  When you go to church online;
           cultural facts and lessons learned that formally educated people could never under-  moving up in the world, away from our enslaved history. Many times, I  Does it feel like old times?
           stand. You could ironically say that there was a line drawn in the sand. Overall, respect  have told my children, ‘Don’t allow someone to entertain you while look-  Not exactly, but I like the spirit of feeling spiritually divine!
           for educators and leaders was expected and acknowledged even if their positions were  ing left when you should be looking right’. I believe that is what happened.  When you buy a car or house,
           not agreed upon. Prayer and allegiance were primary at home and in school. Social  But timing is everything. History has resurfaced in a millennial era and  Did you research what was the cost;
           justice was at an all-time high throughout early and mid-twentieth century. Social  alarmed generations who may not have been taught and their parents may  Or did you give in and fail to exercise your right to equal cost and
           media…an all-time low (not even cablevision). Our primary sources were rumored,  not have been taught.                   lost?
           newspapers, ABC, NBC, and CBS antennae networks. One thing remained, voting  Who do we hold responsible? I strongly believe it should be…  Did you teach your children tradition;
           rights were important then and they are important now. We relied then on media for an  ‘ourselves’. During 2020, families across America have been held account-  Or they learned others acts of admission?
           update and rely on those same sources now.                    able for their children’s educational daily culture of learning like never  Did you bother to continue to learn;
                  Often when we hear a rumor or trust the ‘messenger’, we more often believe  before. There was no choice; before it was called ‘home schooling’. Did we  Is your hand out for a free return?
           the source and are most receptive of the negative. Shame on human nature for allowing  all answer the call? More did than did not. This is the same action that we  Did you watch the latest news;
           this to exist because many times the information transferred is simply not true or  should move forward with when educating our children about Black His-  Are you content to be negatively amused?
           slightly fabricated. This is deemed immature and reminds me of innocent childish  tory, culture, and social justice. There is a program I use to facilitate  Most of all, there is no shame and none of it excused….
           behavior. During my fourth-grade experience, our teacher would play a game on rainy  entitled: Socially Responsive Teaching. Now would be a prime time to  Did you pray for better days?
           days. Everyone would border around the classroom; the teacher would whisper some-  launch Socially Responsive Parenting or Socially Responsive Mentorship.  Are you going to change your ways?
           thing in the student’s ear to the left of her. By the time the information reached the  Socialb Media is only one source but reliable oral tradition is a more  I think we can start by tossing blame,
           student to the right of her, it would be so hilarious! The message would be totally  powerful source. This type of teaching ancestrally began with listening to  Because we will not continue to be shamed.
           irrelevant to the initial message she sent around the room. Now, we are openly claiming  your elders. This generation should allow ‘grown folk’ to inform them on  My story, not his story…
           having been misinformed about Black History; a sore spot (if you will), within the  daily life incidents, spiritual incidents, and ancestral stories that have long  His Glory is my shield.
           social justice agenda. It would be a blessed era to see African Americans come together  been pushed aside. Why? It is important that our story be told, not to be  His Word is my will…
           and take ownership of our past. A lesson we should have learned is that our ancestors  confused with ‘his story’. There is no shame in ‘not knowing’. There is  Now is the time to tell of the rights, the wrongs, the earthly hells;
           had no choice in their direction but are now in a position to redirect our outcome. I  shame in continuing to ‘not know’.  It runs deeper than any wailing well.
           believe that we still and will continue to have an important role in America.  Textbook information is limited due to choices of publishers,   Tell the struggles of all people;
                  Representation is not just a visual (seeing is not always believing) truth.  authors, and institutions. No law is broken if your story is a cultural  So, the human race can be positively and knowledgeably deeper.
           Sometimes you have to hear and see for a complete understanding. My lesson in this  family act. When writing my autobiography (Parts I and II), my nieces and  So, remember, there is his story and there is your story;
           awakening was profound two times with one being during 1979 at the Talleywood  nephews canonized their appreciation for me literally introducing people  But we can surely learn from both stories,
           Shopping Center in  Belks Department Store. I was teaching public school and work-  into their lives that they will never physically meet. They felt a sense of  About rights gone wrong; singing gut wrenching songs,
           ing part time at Belk. An Air Force spouse was on the sales floor with me and I began  identity, intelligence, or ownership which answered many questions about  That tell the pain and true glory of His Story and your story,
           talking to her about our hours and she excitedly answered in a strong feminine and  themselves; how they looked, their talents, their blessings, and maybe  Which will inevitably reduce the blame, shame, pain, and much worry.
           sharp British accent. The second time was in 1996 when I bravely drove into Panama  stopped some generational curses and added sense to senseless habits.  -  Mary J. Ferguson (2021)
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