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The Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Decision: Health Implications
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The Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Decision: Health Implications

“Who can I turn to when nobody needs me? You probably recognized the preceding sentence as the title of a classic song. In light of the Supreme Court’s Decision to vote down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, I believe the words and meanings of this song ring true poignantly; in particular for African Americans. From the very beginning, we know that live has always been a living hell, to put it mildly, for blacks in America. But after years of struggle, the US government reluctantly enacted certain policies and laws to ensure that some relief was available to people of color who, as a race, were so brutally discriminated against.

It is believed that it was this history of agony and brutality that spawn the development of so many of the chronic diseases among blacks today. High blood pressure and diabetes in particular are at epidemic levels in the black community; especially blacks who eke out a meager living day to day. Study upon study have shown that in the majority of cases factors such as stress, diet and lifestyle habits are the chief causes behind the development of these common illnesses. Stress especially is said to be the primary culprit.

It is no secret that African Americans are under a tremendous amount of stress in America; the source of which is often time out of their control. Up to now, it appears that the various institutions of government were making genuine efforts to try to even the playing field for all Americans, blacks included. However, many subtle and not so subtle efforts appear to be the totally opposite to achieving a level field for everyone. The recent Supreme Court’s Decision with respect to Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act appears to be right in line with this troubling trend. President Obama and AG Holder have admitted as much in their comments after the Decision was handed down.

I prefaced this article with the words from the classic sound – “Who Can I Turn To”, because I truly believe that this is the question African Americans must now be asking themselves – who can I turn to? When your government fails to protect your welfare, who can you turn to? In this case, I would say turn to yourself. As it is said in the Serenity Prayer, give me the courage to change the things which should be changed.

Things you can change and should be changed right away are those habits that may be impacting your health negatively. Alcohol consumption, smoking, diet dominated with red meat, sugar, salt and huge quantities of carbohydrates are devastating to your health. You can change these habits so that your body is not weakened by diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure. Let’s all do this together so that the entire African American community can be strong to meet the challenges ahead. If we are strong our strength will be a place of shelter in the time of storm.


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