Two free community events this Saturday aim to address health equity

This weekend, a few organizations are hosting different events with the goal of increasing health equity in Minneapolis.

Along West Broadway Avenue on the north side of Minneapolis will be a block party called Live your healthy life. The festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is free and aims to educate residents of the historically black neighborhood about the area’s health resources.

What started out as wanting to create an event with healthy food options for the West Broadway area grew into an event to focus on health equity and increase education and access around from her.

In 2019, Teto Wilson, one of the event organizers, owner of Wilson’s Image Barbershop & Stylists at 2126 West Broadway Ave., noticed that there were no healthy meals available in the area.

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“If you wanted to get a healthier meal, you really had to get out of north Minneapolis,” Wilson said.

Wilson often found himself traveling to other cities, not only for food, but also for community events. He also wanted those forms of entertainment and hard-hitting messages on the North Side, so he turned hope into action.

There will be a variety of Black-owned vendors, art, activities and music, in addition to community conversations, food science demonstrations, healthcare screenings, vaccinations and mental health consultations. . Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity will also be present, as Wilson recognizes that housing security is an important part of a person’s overall health.

“We want anyone with health issues to be able to benefit from health resources,” Wilson said. “We’re trying to get people to empower themselves, to develop relationships with health care systems that haven’t always been welcoming and haven’t done what they should be doing to serve us. We try to build a bridge between the community and the health care systems where we can both cross paths and meet each other.

Black Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to die at an early age from almost any health condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 84% of north Minneapolis is black and brown, with the highest concentration of black-owned businesses in the Northside between Penn and Logan Avenues on West Broadway Avenue.

The event will be hosted by local comedian Bruce Leroy and will feature musical guests Lewie Blaze, BdotCroc, Jamela Pettiford, the International Reggae All-Stars and DJ Mo Phatt.

A launch event for Health in its shade, a platform that connects black women and women of color to culturally sensitive healthcare providers, evidence-based health content and community support, also takes place Saturday, at the Brooklyn Center . The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Dr.

Representatives of be the match will participate in the event with the goal of expanding its presence in underrepresented communities to improve the diversity of the National Blood Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Registry. Be The Match operates a marrow donation program that connects healthy adult donors with patients suffering from blood cancers and other blood diseases for the purpose of stem cell transplantation.

There is a significant disparity in match results because there are not enough diverse members in the registry, said Erica Jensen, senior vice president of member engagement, enrollment and experience. at Be The Match.

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Black patients have only a 29% chance of finding a matched donor in the registry, compared to 79% for white patients. In the United States, there are 9 million people on the registry.

Mikayla Draughon, a teenager from Minnesota who was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at birth, is currently awaiting a game. It’s been nearly two years since her doctors recommended she undergo a bone marrow transplant, and she still hasn’t found a compatible partner.

“If it’s so bad that we need a bone marrow transplant, how are we going to keep waiting all these years?” Mikayla’s mother, Demitrea Kelley, said.

The closest match she found was an 80% match, which didn’t sound promising, her mother said. Be The Match is trying to introduce more people to the registry and encourage people to donate, especially people of color.

“We can’t just sit here and say, ‘Oh, it doesn’t affect me, so it doesn’t matter,'” Kelley said. “We are a community. We should be united with each other.

When asked what might be causing the lack of ethnic diversity in the registry, Jensen pointed to US history and representation in health care staffing.

“There are a lot of historical and current issues of mistrust within the health care systems in the United States and that’s part of the reason you’re talking to people about joining a registry, having a voluntary medical procedure and to be able to store and have your walls of information going up because of the things that have happened in this country and the treatment of black and brown bodies,” Jensen said.

For Kelley, Saturday’s Hue event is about more than finding a one-person match.

“I’m not just advocating for Mikayla. We stand up for anyone facing the same or similar issue,” Kelley said. “We help all minority patients or minority clients who need blood. It is important for everyone. »

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