Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Voting Is Good for Your Health, Study Finds

Great news, my friends—especially those of you that are health nuts.  Here's something I've intuitively known.  Scientific research shows that voting and civic engagement are good for your health! 


Voting Is Good for Your Health, Study Finds

JANUARY 23, 2018
Voting isn’t just good for the country. A new study reveals that adolescents and young adults who are civically involved also tend to have better health.In the new study, published Tuesday in the journal Child Development, researchers analyzed data from 9,471 adolescents and young adults between ages 11 and 20, who were surveyed in 1994-1995 and followed for nearly 15 years. They found that young people who engaged in any of three activities—volunteering, voting or activism—were more likely to have a higher income and education later in life than those who did not. People who volunteered and voted were also more likely to be in better health.
People who reported volunteering and voting were more likely to eat in a healthy way and have fewer depressive symptoms than their peers who didn’t. But people who were involved in activism, despite also having higher incomes and education attainment later on, were also more likely to engage in risky behaviors like substance abuse.
“Civic engagement is a productive experience for young people,” says study author Parissa Ballard, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine. “The findings on volunteering and voting were uniformly positive.”
The study is one of the first to look at the potential health benefits of voting. Other studies have linked volunteering to better health outcomes like fewer symptoms of depression, better self-reported health and even a lower risk of early death. “Volunteering might affect health by allowing people to feel good about themselves, to feel like they matter, to experience social connection and decreased loneliness, and to feel satisfaction from contributing to others,” the study authors write.
Activism, Ballard says, can be a bit more controversial. The researchers defined activism as being involved in a march or rally, and noted that while volunteering and voting are widely accepted norms, activism is often done in opposition to something or for the promotion of social change, which may be why it wasn’t linked to better health.However, it’s possible to make protesting a more positive experience, Ballard says. “Help young people find meaningful opportunities in their communities and manage expectations about what activism is about, and that the change might take a long time,” she says. “Help people recognize the small wins along the way in order to not get burned out.”
Ballard says she wants to continue researching the health benefits of civic engagement, especially since more people are getting politically and socially involved. “What motivates me is how this has benefits for individuals and the community,” says Ballard. “We can promote adolescent health by getting them involved, and in turn impact their communities.”

Give the gift of voting by Laura Yeager with #TxEdVote

Voting is a right and a responsibility, just like activism and cultivating the skills of civic engagement in a democracy.  

It can also be a gift, as Laura Yeager with Texas Educators Vote, says.

-Angela Valenzuela

Give the gift of voting
                                     December 11, 2019

This time of year, people are searching for the perfect gift for those near and dear to them. Look no further. The gift of civic engagement is easy to share, will reap rewards for years to come, and will bring the giver deep satisfaction as well. Studies show that voting is good for your health, for the health of the community, and it doesn’t cost a thing. In a world that seems out of control, exercising your right to vote is an empowering experience. So, lead by example and show your friends, family, and coworkers how easy it is to be civically engaged. Schedule time together throughout the year to register (or check your voter registration status), research what will be on your ballot when it is close to election time, and then go to the polls and vote together. Plan it now and schedule a series of fun get-togethers. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

To do:
1.     Register to vote.
2.     Invite your friends and family to register to vote.
3.     Like us on Facebook and Twitter for helpful voting articles and info.
4.     Sign up for election text reminders by texting TxEdVote to 40649.
5.     Bookmark the Texas Educators Vote website for all the above info!  

Social Media Posts to share:
“Give the gift of civic engagement. Lead by example!” #txed #txlege #vote #TxEdVote
“Schedule time with loved ones to register, research, and vote.” #txed #txlege #vote #TxEdVote

Thank you,

Laura Yeager
Texas Educators Vote
Attachments area

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Baltimore’s Ongoing Lead Poisoning Crisis & the Link to Violent Crime

This is a crisis for children exposed to lead poisoning in cities like Baltimore, Flint, and Chicago—mostly poor, hyper-segregated children of color.  My best guess is that this is still the tip of the iceberg.  The article below suggests as much.

Where is the urgency?  Where is the leadership?  

And the children suffer...

-Angela Valenzuela

Baltimore’s Ongoing Lead Poisoning Crisis & the Link to Violent Crime

Lawrence Brown

Sep 10, 2018 · 3 min read
Every time there’s a major violent crime by a Black youth from a disinvested, redlined community in Baltimore, one of the first questions I have is — were they lead poisoned? And if they were poisoned by toxic lead, I want to know: what is the blood lead level of their poisoning?
As you can see from the State of Maryland’s data in the table below, Baltimore had 2,254 children poisoned between 5–9.9 µg/dL of lead and 347 children poisoned at 10+ µg/dL lead in their blood. Those kids in 2009 are now 9–14 years old. We never treated many of those. Many others were never tested.

Here’s data from 2003 depicted below. Baltimore had 17,076 children poisoned under 10 µg/dL lead in their blood. We had over 1,000 poisoned over 10 µg/dL. Over 100 were poisoned over 20 µg/dL. Those kids ages 0–5 are now ages 16–21. Our youth and young adults today. Again, many were never tested!

Given that chelation is usually recommended for children who were poisoned ABOVE 40 µg/dL blood lead level, the question is: what treatments and medical care did the children poisoned UNDER 40 µg/dL receive?
Especially children like Freddie Gray (36 µg/dL) or Korryn Gaines (12 or 22 µg/dL).
We didn’t give many of these children poisoned by toxic lead medical treatments, nutritional therapy, or behavioral therapy. We failed them. We allowed them to be poisoned and their brains permanently damaged. And then they grew up.
Then we have the nerve to ask: why are these kids out of control? Why are they committing violent crimes?
That’s what happened. Then, we didn’t do anything to address the damage we allowed.
And that’s just lead poisoning! Now add other brain damaging factors such as air pollutionpoverty, and trauma (due to exposure to violence). These factors all damage cognitive capacity, intelligence, decision making, and emotional regulation. The science is clear.
We KNOW where lead poisoning hotspots are thanks to maps generated by Reuters reporters and Carol Ott. But we as a city have no plan to #BmoreLEADfree and declare a state of emergency.

As recent news reports have shown, we still have lead poisoned water in our schools. This was discovered in Baltimore’s public schools years ago in the early 2000s. Today technology is being deployed to try and remove lead from fountain water so that they can be used in schools. Toxic lead is pervasive. Lead paint is still on walls in our homes, while other forms of lead contaminates our soil and pollutes our air.
Toxic lead is a major factor in the elevated levels of violence and crime in Baltimore City. Research is increasingly conclusive regarding the lead-crime link. Neuropsychologists have found damning evidence linking lead poisoning to brain damage. There is also evidence linking lead poisoning to racial segregation or what one researcher calls the “ecology of toxic inequality.”
In other words, lead poisoning of Black babies in Baltimore — and cities like Chicago and Flint — is a manifestation of their status as Category 5 hypersegregated cities (or the most intensely segregated metropolitan areas). We cannot effectively address street level, interpersonal violence and crime without confronting the structural, ecological crimes of toxic inequality that have been allowed to persist in hypersegregated and redlined Black neighborhoods. Due to our lack of strong and swift action, lead poison continues to wreck, damage, and poison Black babies, undermine Black minds, and destroy Black Lives.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Commemorating the Legacy of the Chicano Moratorium: 50 Years Dec. 14, 2019 East L.A. Library

Happening soon in Los Angeles. Free to the public.

I so wish that I could attend.

-Angela Valenzuela

Latino professors at the University of Texas are paid less, few are in leadership, study finds

When your brother-in-law texts you an article on inequities going on on your own campus, you know that word's gotten around. Glad to see NBC's Suzanne Gamboa write a really good review of the work by the Independent Equity Committee (IEC), all full professors, at UT-Austin.  The disparities are systemic and glaring—and our numbers are dropping.  

This means that important research isn't getting done and that we're increasingly irrelevant despite our massive demographic growth.  This is not a good situation for our state to be in.  In fact, this is a crisis that must get remedied.

-Angela Valenzuela

Latino professors at the University of Texas are paid less, few are in leadership, study finds

By Suzanne Gamboa

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas, one of the state’s flagship universities, pays its Hispanic professors tens of thousands dollars less than white professors and rarely hires them as deans or for other leadership jobs, a group of Latino professors has found.
While the pay gap the professors uncovered has gotten the most attention, the few Hispanics serving as deans, associate deans or assistant deans exposes a deeper problem of institutional racism, according to Alberto Martinez, a history professor at the university and chair of the committee that produced the “Hispanic Equity Report.”
In January, the university located in Austin, Texas, had 130 deans, vice deans, associate deans and assistant deans. Of those, 10 are Latino. None are Latina.
“This is what we live in as Hispanics, as Latinos, and we are trying to bring it to the forefront. We need real inclusion in how university departments are run," Martinez said. "We have the same merits as other people in the university."
The committee analyzed thousands of pages of faculty résumés and found many Hispanic professors “eminently qualified” for the leadership positions, some with better résumés than faculty in the leadership jobs, Martinez said.
The salary difference demonstrates disparity, “but the bigger problem is the lack of inclusion,” Martinez said.
The Independent Equity Committee at the University of Texas at Austin, made up of the eight Latino professors, presented its Oct. 8 report to legislators and their staffs at the state Capitol on Friday.
The professors want state lawmakers' to help make policy changes and order equity reviews of the university and the University of Texas System, Martinez said. The UT system includes 14 higher education, research and health care institutions.
Texas already is a majority minority state and according to projections, Hispanics will be the largest population group in the state by 2022. The state’s white population is projected to drop from 41.8 percent in 2018 to 28.6 percent in 2050, according to Texas Demographic Center data assembled by Rogelio Sáenz, dean of the College of Public Policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
“I am a full professor in the history department. I am No. 13 in productivity, articles and books and 34th in pay,” history professor Emilio Zamora said in video posted by KEYE-TV, the CBS affiliate in Austin. (The number one measure of faculty members' productivity is what they publish, and often they publish in peer-reviewed scholarly publications.)
Virtually all of the history department's 11 leadership positions have been held by non-Latino white faculty, with the exception of two that were held by Asian faculty members, according to Martinez.
Since publication of their report, the professors have heard from other Latino faculty at University of Texas at El Paso and University of Texas at San Antonio on issues on their campuses, Martinez said.

The communications office of Maurie McInnis, the university’s executive vice president and provost, said in a statement emailed to NBC News that the university is working to address many issues of faculty equity “echoed by this independent report” and to understand the source of the disparities.
The statement also said McInnis has asked deans to review their leadership selection and report on them to improve transparency on how the leaders are selected.
In an Oct. 18 email to the committee, McInnis told the professors: “You are right. Action is needed, and I’m committed to working with the campus to do so.” She added" “We are aware of the impact on Hispanic faculty and have begun work to address some of the concerns. Much work remains to be done.”
“As your report notes, the feeling of invisibility shared by some Hispanic faculty is not of their making,” the email states. “Rather, it is, at least in part, the result of a context that may fail to see them and validate their experiences.”
According to the committee’s study, the median compensation — salary and monetary supplements — for Latino full professors is $25,342 less than white full professors. Hispanic associate professors make about $10,647 less than their white counterparts, and assistant professors earn $19,636 less.
Latinas had the worst salary among all faculty, despite UT-Austin’s 2008 gender equity review to address pay for its female faculty. They also held the fewest leadership positions, according to the report.
There were 1,706 tenured and tenured track faculty at UT Austin in the fall of 2017 — the year the group used for its analysis. Only 119, or 7 percent, were Latino. Eight schools or colleges at the university had two or fewer Latino faculty members.
Nearly 85 percent of white and Asian faculty become tenured, compared to 62.5 percent of Hispanic faculty who apply and 76.3 percent of black faculty. The retention rate of Hispanic professors with tenure was 40 percent.
The university also rarely honors Hispanic faculty. Awards and endowments often include money and are part of the compensation for faculty. In 2018, at least 912 faculty or administrators received university funds from endowments, but just 5 percent were Hispanic, the report states.
The group analyzed chairs and professorships, which are the two types of endowments that have the highest prestige and the “largest accounts.”
Of 541 chairs and professorships, 18, or 3.3 percent ,were held by Hispanic faculty. In the past 62 years, the University of Texas System has given 929 campus-wide awards to its faculty. Thirty, or 3.2 percent, went to Hispanics.