Bringing Light Into Darkness – Mon, 3/27 @ 6 PM

Posted on: March 27, 2023
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Bringing Light Into Darkness

The Intersection of Wealth Inequality Drivers & Systemic Racism: An International Women’s Month Tribute to the work of Dr Arline Geronimus with Special Guest Dr Sam Cruz.

We examine the intersection of egregious levels of wealth Inequality and systemic racism on the last Monday of International Women’s Month. The connected issues we seek to bring to light include the unpaid work of women in generating wealth inequality, highlighting a 2020 OXFAM report which documents how women and girls put in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid labor every day which translates into a labor value of $10.8 Trillion per year. We also call attention and share the state of Yemenese women as a result of US foreign policy. We celebrate the work and analytical findings of Dr Arline T. Geronimus, a Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education and Research Professor in the Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research, at the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center where she also is the founding director of the Public Health Demography training program. Dr. Geronimus originated an analytic framework, “weathering” that posits that the health of African Americans is subject to early health deterioration as a consequence of social exclusion; Dr Geronimus has been involved for the past 30 years of studying and measuring how poverty and racism create psychic and physical problem sets that can shorten lives by a decade or more and have a profound deteriorating effect on quality of life of that shortened life. In other words, as a result, they as a class have their constitutional right to pursue happiness, severely compromised.

Joining us to critically evaluate and describe the concept of weathering as the largely unrecognized impact of systemic racism is Dr. Samuel Echevarría-Cruz who has served as a Professor of Sociology at Austin Community College (ACC) since 2009 and is currently the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Instructional Initiatives. Dr Cruz leads us through an enlightening discussion that challenges us to reconsider some false assumptions we may have, based on some implicit biases we have been acculturated to believe.

Instead of pathologizing behaviors of those immersed in poverty as a potential or likely cause of their continued poverty, he suggests how Geronomus’ work has shown that poverty creates the conditions in which through ‘survival adaptation’ if you will, leads to the behaviors being scrutinized and falsely critiqued as being irresponsible, such as higher rates of teen pregnancy. That, instead of pathologizing behavioral responses to poverty, by people of color and others that have been disenfranchised by the egregious levels of wealth inequality, that the poverty (the causal effect) must be addressed first. In other words once you successfully address the poverty then and only then will the environment change in a healthy direction and once the environment changes, the (behavioral) responses to the healthier environment changes as any form of adaptation would suggest.

Please join us tonight for a fascinating dialogue and analysis with Dr Sam Cruz.
Siempre fieles, Pgatos 3/27/23