Communities of African Descent (COAD) News Buzz

Here’s a look at some COAD-related stories in the media:

Playwright Lorraine Hansberry's House Nominated for Chicago Landmark

The Chicago Tribune reported that the home of Black Renaissance writer Lorraine Hansberry has been nominated for landmark status in Woodlawn, Ill. Three years ago, a teacher, parents and students from Amelia Earhart Elementary School on Chicago’s South Side decided to nominate the house through city council after the students studied the Hansberry family’s turbulent case involving racial segregation for their history projects. The house will join the ranks of the George Cleveland Hall Branch Library, Richard Wright House and Gwendolyn Brooks House, which are now historically significant properties that are part of the city's Black Renaissance Literary Movement of the 1930s through 1950s. They reported:

"The teacher, Stacy Stewart, says the students were struck by the family's courage and how their challenge of discriminatory housing practices paved the way for integrated neighborhoods. She said they believed the home's history needs to be remembered and studied by others.
'The house is a symbol that anything is possible in America,' said student Ishmael Smith, who is now a junior at Mount Carmel High School on the South Side.

The house's current owner could not be reached for comment. The owner did not sign a consent form for landmark status and did not attend a hearing on the issue, but owner consent is not required for landmark designation. Before the Hansberry court ruling, African-Americans in the city were restricted to living in what was known as the 'Black Belt,' congested, impoverished neighborhoods on the South Side, said Tim Black, a historian and former professor at the City Colleges of Chicago, who knew the Hansberry family."

LGBT People of Color Need More Than Health Insurance

In light of the health care debate that will ultimately affect all Americans, new research from the Center for American Progress shows that LGBT people of color have needs and challenges that are different from the rest of the population. The Root reports that risks involving diabetes and not receiving mammograms are just a few of the issues that must be uniquely addressed, particularly for African-American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The article suggests possible solutions, including adding questions to health data to include sexual orientation and gender identity which could possibly provide researchers with information to better identify the health care needs of LGBT people of color.

Research also shows that the elderly are also significantly affected. Lack of health insurance, comprehensive health care and the potential threat of harassment and discrimination from health care providers and nursing homes are just a few of the challenges this demographic faces. And, because data collection is sparse, it is difficult to understand why and how cultural competency is vital in serving the health care needs of this underrepesented segment of the population.

Reporter Jeff Krehely writes:

"For example, lesbian and bisexual black women are the least likely to have had a mammogram in the past two years. Only 35 percent of these women have had mammograms recently, compared to nearly 70 percent of heterosexual African-American, Asian or Pacific Islander, or white women. One out of every five lesbian/gay/bisexual African-American adults has diabetes. Straight African-American and straight, lesbian, gay or bisexual Asian or Pacific Islander, Latino, and white adults are much less likely to have diabetes—fewer than 8 percent of these populations have been diagnosed with the disease.

Mental health needs are also a concern. For example, lesbian/gay/bisexual Asian or Pacific Islander adults are more likely than other groups to report experiencing psychological distress. Lesbian/gay/bisexual Latinos are similarly much more likely than all other racial or ethnic groups—gay or straight—to report problems with alcohol abuse and addiction."

He offers these possible solutions:

"A clear first step to improve health treatment for LGBT racial and ethnic minorities is building the medical community’s knowledge of their unique needs. Unfortunately, no national government health survey regularly asks about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The federal government already collects health data based on race and ethnicity, and adding questions on sexual orientation and gender identity would provide researchers with this much-needed information to better identify the health care needs of LGBT people of color. In turn, advocates could then fight for programs and funding that better and more competently serve this population. Medical schools and other institutions could also incorporate this information into their curricula and training programs to prepare future practitioners to treat and care for these patients."

Read the piece in its entirety here.

AOL Black Voices Spotlights Gay Couple in Online Feature

Damien Ramsey and Seanmichael Rodgers are the epitome of a unique black love story that has gone largely untold. AOL Black Voices interviewed the couple in "Damien and Seanmichael: An Untold Love Story." The couple has been in a committed relationship for three years and and are engaged to be married this spring in New York City. Ramsey, a singer/songwriter, and Rodgers, a producer/vocal coach, said the secret to their love is simple.

Darian Aaron writes:

"'It's like falling in love again every week,' says Damien, 'sometimes for the same reasons and sometimes for new ones. We take these days seriously because it allows us the time to stay fresh and revisit one another and the reasons why we love each other the way that we do,' he added.
Those reasons were made perfectly clear during Seanmichael's traditional 'down-on-one-knee' proposal along with an ageless silver ring with diamonds inscribed with roman numerals from Tiffanys.
'I am in love with you for many reasons. For the rhythms that only our two hearts can beat, for the strengths you show in my weaknesses, for the passion that burns every time you kiss me, and for the joy you give me everyday. I want to give you the depth and the shallow of me with all transparency. I want to love you through this eternity into the next.'
It's been said that black men loving each other is a revolutionary act, given the pervasive homophobia that exists in American culture and the black community . The fear of losing the support of family and friends, a vital element to the success of black unions can become a major hindrance for a black same gender loving couple. But even with support of family and friends, it is still no guarantee of a successful relationship when both partners are of the same sex."

Watch their video: "Coupled Up"

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs0d4PXX2w4]