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Racism in medicine unfortunately remains a reality for many families of color and of lower income statuses across the nation and especially here in the District of Columbia, where systemic oversights in providing proper health care for African American families have contributed to the alarming levels of COVID-19, OPIOID, & Gun Violent deaths.  In Wards 7 & 8 there is a predominance of over 94% of the population who is African American.  Additionally, over 50% of these families manage households and families with less than $15,000 of annual income.   The Healthy D.C. & Me Leadership Coalition is a group of seven (7) community organizations, clergy, & business owners with a vested interest in restoring the proper standards of healthcare for our marginalized citizens who reside “East” of the Anacostia river in Wards 7 & 8 of the Nation’s capital.

The District’s track record with providing appropriate standards of care to include mental health and trauma related resources as well as the management of such for our poorest citizens and senior populations, “East” of the Anacostia river, has to date placed the livelihood of our most vulnerable citizens in a “state of emergency”. The city meanwhile is marching forward with major developmental  projects and infrastructure that do not prove conducive to correcting the dangerous implications that negligent governing has and continues to create for so many families of despair. Black lives should matter beyond the sensationalized media headlines and the sound bites.

The District’s Dr. Edwin C. Chapman, coalition advisor, says, “the D.C. government’s self-admitted, decades long inability to provide sound public health policy and services to its most needy and vulnerable constituents has to end. There is study after study that points to the need for TRUST in communities of color and the role that “cultural” competency plays in positive healthcare outcomes, yet the D.C. government repeatedly rejects the science and consistently contracts with Trump-like corporate outsiders expecting a different result. DC’s health inequities are further compounded by the “social determinants of health”, the District government’s unabated gentrification push, Black intra-classism, and the “brain draining” exodus of Black physicians which now rivals both (1) the Black Covid-19 and opioid death rates (80%) and (2) the rate of displacement of disenfranchised Black residents out of the city. All the above has exacerbated base-line anxiety and depression (PTSD or PTSS) and  is directly related to increased self-medication with drugs/alcohol as well as reactive domestic and community violence”.

"Our coalition’s humble request and proactive approach at soliciting your donation commitments and partnership requests, to stand with us and the citizens of Washington D.C. is very genuine. There are too many citizens in the Nation's Capital who are in dire need of higher standards of comprehensive healthcare resourcing and solid stakeholders who are committed to realizing a true progression of resources, services and a preservation of life, for not only today's low-income, vulnerable citizens here in the District of Columbia but also for future generations to come."

Rhonda L. Hamilton, Healthy D.C. & Me Leadership Coalition, President

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