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SOCIAL MEDIA

 

HOW OUR BLOG WORKS

New posts to the Organizer's Clipboard will focus on thoughts and tips relevant to social justice, movement building, and community organizing. Sometimes there will be posts about current events and others will be tips and tools for the work. Each time will be informational and (hopefully) entertaining.

The topics will serve as jump-off points for conversation, so comments are encouraged. But note, that we will be monitoring responses and retain the right to delete or not even post responses that do not move the conversation forward, are negative or attack based, or seek to move an agenda or market a good or service that is not in line with Alliance Institute's mission and goals.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Alliance Institute.

Tuesday
Oct012013

The Looming Health Care Divide

Click to enlargeAround 1997-1998 I was introduced to the internet; prior to that, I considered the internet to be some white people stuff (note: at the time, I didn’t use the term stuff). Once I’d been exposed, I became evangelistic about letting everyone I knew that they had to get online or get left behind.

Roughly around the same time I participated in a jobs program teaching “soft skills” to primarily young men as a prerequisite to career training geared towards entering into the construction industry. One day, while discussing the need for insurance, they replied that insurance was not for them. Kinda like me and the internet, stubborn ignorance of the facts leading to lack of access to a better quality of life.

In a couple of weeks, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will begin enrollment, and this, my friends, is where I begin my evangelism. The  ACA is the government’s first attempt to make access to health care affordable to all Americans. The ACA already:

  • allows parents to keep their children insured until the age of 26, even if
    • they are married,
    • in school,
    • not living with or are financially dependent on their parents,
    • or even eligible to enroll under their employer’s plan.
  • It also does not allow insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions,
  • Nor can they drop you due to illness,
  • and even refunds money if they spend less than 80% (individual coverage) or 85% (group coverage) of the premiums on medical services.

The benefits are HUGE!!! Especially when one considers that the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States is inability to pay for health care (http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/2013/06/19/nerdwallet-health-study-estimates-56-million-americans-65-struggle-medical-bills-2013/).

A few years ago, my wife and I, while taking a financial literacy course, were surprised at the emphasis the course placed on obtaining insurance as part of our financial literacy plan. Why was it so highlighted? Because life happens, and when it negatively impacts your health, all the work you’ve done to establish yourself financially can be suddenly wiped out. And that’s just for “middle-class” folks!

For low- and moderate-income families, the likelihood of hospital or medical bills wiping out dreams and future plans is all but a foregone conclusion. Don’t believe me? According to the Law Dictionary (http://thelawdictionary.org/article/how-much-money-does-it-cost-to-fix-a-broken-arm-without-health-insurance/#ixzz2g71ViOYR), “If you're suffering from a simple fracture to one of the bones in your forearm or wrist, your total costs will probably range between $2,500 and $3,500.” Think about that for a minute; a simple fracture, not even a fully broken bone.

Furthermore, because the cost of regular doctor visits and preventive care are financially prohibitive to folks of meager income, the inability to access health insurance among this population puts a drain on our emergency room, health care for these populations, becomes “not for them.” Insurance is a necessity for those wishing to establish some financial stability.

The open enrollment period for the ACA grants the opportunity for millions of people, formerly denied access, whether due to pre-existing condition or financial inability, to access affordable health insurance. But open enrollment is not forever. It starts October 1, 2013 and ends March 31 2014. After that, the normal enrollment period will be from October 1 through December 7 each year.

It is extremely important that you urge everyone you know to get enrolled, as each year that passes the likelihood of folks who missed the initial period to enroll will decrease. The ACA provides access to a safety net against financial ruin due to negative health impacts – illness, accident, etc. Starting October 1, 2013, friends should not let friends go uninsured, simply because of the mistaken belief that “it’s not for them” or that it’s “white people stuff.”

For gulf coast organizations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, join Alliance Institute for “The Affordable Care Act and Access to Health Care Along the Gulf Coast: A Symposium” on November 15, 2013 in New Orleans. Click here for more information.

Monday
Jul152013

Frederick Douglass, Justice, and Trayvon Martin

On Sunday following the Trayvon Martin verdict, as part of a Facebook thread (started by me), I posted the following quote, paraphrasing Frederick Douglass (be warned – this is a major paraphrase!), “Power concedes nothing without struggle and once the vigilance of struggle subsides, will seek to re-impose the comforts it once enjoyed.”

There are two reasons I ventured from the oft quoted Douglass, 1) Power concedes nothing without a struggle, a demand won’t do, never did, never will; and 2) Power, as used here, knows  what it has given up, never wanted to give it up, and will at every opportunity seek to re-establish itself. And this is essentially what justice is about.

Although justice is often used as a noun, it is actually a verb. Justice is a never ending active force responsible for maintaining an equilibrium, a balance. In nature we see that when the natural balance/equilibrium is disturbed, such as when a predator overfeeds, the resultant lack of food thins out the number of predators until balance is achieved. In extreme cases, such as when a species is wiped out or a new one introduced, a new balance is struck. This is the work of justice. It is no less in the lives of people.

In the lives of people (and by that I mean as societies, not individuals) justice serves to distribute power in such a manner that the benefit of the whole is not jeopardized by desires of the few; or to protect minority from the tyranny of the majority (as so eloquently phrased by James Adams, POTUS #2 & Founding Father).  This is why you have throughout history the uprising of the poor and downtrodden towards increasingly more just (see what I did right there?) societies. This process is on-going and never-ending, for there will always be those that seek personal benefit at the expense of the whole, and those who will continually fight against those desires.

Primarily for this reason, even though I am close to 20 years in the work, I do not tire of social justice. I am aware that I am part of a legacy that extends to the beginnings of mankind and that will continue until we cease to exist as a species. It is for this reason also that I was not surprised, shocked, dismayed, or otherwise personally impacted by the not guilty verdict for Trayvon Martin’s murderer; for I am crystal clear that Power concedes nothing without a struggle, a fight; and that Mr. Martin’s murderer represents that Power in these United States. I am also clear that the African-American community has not fought much nor maintained a vigilant struggle against the Power which conceded the ability to overtly treat it as second-class since the time of the Civil Rights Act.

The Trayvon Martin case, the school-to-prison pipeline, the pro-gun & anti-abortion legislation are all a part of what happens when vigilance subsides. They are all examples of Power re-establishing itself.

Thursday
Jul112013

Welcome to the Organizer's Clipboard!

Greetings all and welcome to our blog! Each week I will be posting thoughts and tips relevant to social justice, movement building and community organizing. Sometimes there will be posts about current events and others will be tips and tools for the work. Each time will be informational and (hopefully) entertaining.

The topics will serve as jump-off points for conversation, so please feel free to reply. But note, that we will be monitoring responses and retain the right to delete or not even post responses that do not move the conversation forward, are negative or attack based, or seek to move an agenda or market a good or service that is not in line with Alliance Institute's mission and goals.

In the interest of maintaining some semblance of order, I will attempt to regularly post such that each overall topic area will fall on the same week. to that end: 

  • first week of the month - current event rant/insight/etc.
  • second week of the month - management tip/tool
  • third week of the month - organizing tip/tool
  • fourth week of the month - Alliance Institute update (what we're up to & why, how, etc) or guest blog (why not share the opportunity to "spread ignorance throughout the system," as an education professor of mine used to say)

Well, everyone says to keep it short and to the point (I believe pithy is the term). So, that being the advice, and I being one who believes in following good advice, we shall wrap this welcome up. Come back often or better yet join our email list (hyperlink here for joining our list) as this promises to be one heckuva ride!

Thanks and Success!

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