Danny Riendeau

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From Tina Turner to Sweetie Pies | Robbie Montgomery and black excellence

Although perhaps best known these days as the mind behind St. Louis institution Sweetie Pie’s restaurant, Robbie Montgomery’s public life extends back decades. She began her career touring with certified hit-makers such as Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones before starting her current chapter as a restaurant owner. The soul singer and soul food lover …

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Systemic inequities in society have never been clearer than in recent years, and the COVID crisis has helped force this reality into focus. Neonatologist Dr. Brian Sims has long carried an understanding of how socioeconomic factors impact health outcomes through his professional life. An Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama (Birmingham), Dr. Sims has dedicated himself to human development from its earliest stages. He sits down today to express the essentiality of black doctors in modern medicine. 0:37 The Earliest Inequities Most Americans would be appalled to learn how racism in society can truly impact an individual’s life from birth. In conjunction with his colleagues at the university, Dr. Sims recently produced a sobering report on the nation’s infant mortality rates by race. The comprehensive study specifically examined infant mortality rates among black babies along with the race of the caring physician. Disturbingly, these rates reflect a lower level of care for babies born to black parents when attended to by doctors outside of their own ethnicity. 2:28 Clearing the Air While the raw numbers from the study are cause to consider the impact of inequality on institutions, Dr. Sims cautions against blanket judgments. In his words, the goal for black mothers is always to find an outstanding physician regardless of their ethnicity. However, he places the onus on doctors to remain communicative and clear throughout the prenatal process. Patient comfort is integral to the treatment equation, and excellence in these matters is something that must be demanded of every medical professional. 4:28 Dangerous Ideas Despite great strides in the medical field for both black doctors and black patients, the specter of racism continues to haunt the profession. Asked to dispel any myths that linger in the field, Dr. Sims points to a recent study that indicates that pain tolerance among black patients is perceived as higher. Racist beliefs such as these facilitate inadequate care, less consistent outcomes, and a lower quality of care for black patients. His conclusion is striking in its simplicity: any patient that exhibits a given symptom should be treated the same way. 6:41 Reimagining Integration While a plethora of policies should at least in theory prevent disparate health outcomes like these, there are hard limits for policy in practice. Dr. Sims highlights the uncomfortable truth that it is impossible to provide the most effective care for people you lack care for. He emphasizes the importance of individual integrity to enduring progress on this front. Doctors should be interacting with the communities they serve from the first stages of training. By humanizing those who may one day be patients, a higher standard of care comes naturally. 11:09 Rebirth and Redemption Dr. Sims stops short of calling the results of his research an indictment of the medical field in America. For this consummate medical professional, the ideal lies in ensuring a consistent standard of care for every patient. Like justice, medicine should be blind. The work he and his colleagues do is aimed at correcting oversights, conscious or subconscious, that may affect patient outcomes. By promoting a fuller understanding of inclusivity in medicine, Dr. Brian Sims strives to build confidence in the medical field among all Americans. Connect with Dr. Brian Sims: Email- bsimsmd@uab.edu LinkedIn- https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-sims-5a37b2175/

Why black doctors are so important for the health of black babies | Ft. Dr. Brian Sims

Systemic inequities in society have never been clearer than in recent years, and the COVID crisis has helped force this reality into focus. Neonatologist Dr. Brian Sims has long carried an understanding of how socioeconomic factors impact health outcomes through his professional life. An Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama (Birmingham), Dr. …

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The 92nd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King´s birthday is a poignant opportunity to consider the impact of his legacy. Systemic inequality continues to define the nation he lived and died for. It’s been nearly half a century after his assassination on April 6, 1968. But old tensions continue to bubble to the surface. America has never truly healed from its original sin. Award-winning author Beverly Jenkins approaches this moment in our history with clear eyes. Today, she joins Areva for a compelling and timely conversation on a dream deferred. 33:56 Yesterday is Tomorrow The murder of Dr. King at the height of his campaign for a more peaceful and united future made an indelible impression on Jenkins. In her teenage years at the time, the author saw this violent final rebuke of King´s idealistic visions as reflective of public opinion of the leader. In her view, Dr. King would be appalled, if unsurprised by the America of today. The Capitol Raid of January 6th stands as a particularly stark reminder of the country´s bloody past. A violent rejection of democratic, inclusive principles has shaped the nation since its inception. 34:56 Civil Rights Radicals Condemning the hypocrisy of those who would ask for unity without accountability as ¨nauseating,¨ Jenkins does not mince words in assigning responsibility. The past half-decade in America has been fraught with angry, divisive rhetoric chiefly stoked by one end of the political spectrum. Conservatives have steadily stoked the flames of chaos, sowing fear and resentment in public spaces. For the Detroit native, these are echoes of her experience with the Civil Rights Era, where those who desired justice for all were called ¨dangerous radicals.¨ 36:39 Steeped in History The prolific author of 41 books gains much of her renown by giving a platform to the undiscovered black experience. She credits this focus to growing up with black history as a major element of her home life, sparking early appreciation for the contributions of the unsung heroes in America´s story. Not only centering her narratives on black characters, she also chooses settings that emphasize their rich and diverse culture. Her reverent yet relevant approach is widely credited with expanding the horizons of the familiar romance novel. 39:30 Beyond Black Pain When Beverly Jenkins made her first endeavour into the industry, she quickly discovered there was no ready-made space for her vision. Media executives in the 90s placed a much higher premium on black pain than black pride, leading to an oversaturation of negative images. The author made it her mission to create spaces for black fulfillment in fiction as well as in fact, extolling the virtues of stories driven by love. While crediting trailblazers such as Elsie Washington for opening the door, Jenkins acknowledges her position in the genre. 54:39 Doctor´s Orders Discussing the legacy of Dr. King at length, the author highlights the transformative power of creating chances for others to thrive. By taking the hard-won opportunities endowed to us by our forebears and using them to pull those behind us up, we build a better world. In her own work, she seizes every opening to elevate and celebrate voices that might be silent without her amplification. Beverly Jenkins considers herself part of the change Dr. King was able to bring to the world, and recognizes her role in bringing about his still-distant dream. Connect with Beverly Jenkins: Website- https://beverlyjenkins.net/ Twitter- https://twitter.com/authorMsBev Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBeverlyJenkins/

What MLK would make of the USA in 2021 | Ft. Author Beverley Jenkins

The 92nd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King´s birthday is a poignant opportunity to consider the impact of his legacy. Systemic inequality continues to define the nation he lived and died for.  It’s been nearly half a century after his assassination on April 6, 1968. But old tensions continue to bubble to the surface.  America …

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Darrion Cockrell

Hope in dark times can come from the most unlikely places | FT. Darrion Cockrell

On a program known for centering stories, the journey of Darren Cockrell stands out as especially compelling. Transcending inauspicious beginnings to eventually become the 2021 Educator of the Year in Missouri, the St. Louis native has ample perspective on striving for success. Today, Cockrell joins Areva Martin to explore unlocked potential, promises fulfilled, and what …

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1200px Natasha trethewey2

Finding poetry in our moment of crisis | Ft. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey

A Pulitzer Prize winner and former US Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey has developed a high-profile platform for her perspective. Although her poetry gained her an initial following, she hopes to spark difficult conversations by putting her personal story in prose. Hers is a journey fraught with turbulence, from grappling with black womanhood in America to …

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