I have been receiving The Network Journal for the past six months and I must tell you what a pleasure it is to read. As a young Black professional, it’s often difficult to find mainstream publications that address the unique issues that we face in the workplace. Month after month, I have been gratified to see that your magazine addresses issues that are unique to Black professionals, such as the October 2004 articles on diversity in the workplace by Tanya Radford and K. Emily Bond. In particular, I found the Bond article, which delved into the diversity battles between minorities in the workplace, to be a very fair, balanced and well-written piece. Keep up the good work and keep addressing those issues that matter to us!
Director of communications,
St. Mary’s Hospital, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Environment and Health
I enjoyed Jodi Brockington’s recent article (Final Word, February 2005) and agree that health issues need to be front and center on a contemporary Black agenda. I wonder what Ms. Brockington thinks, however, of the thesis that the primary health issues facing the Black community are the result of poor diet and bad habits. As are most Americans, we’re all struggling with our weight and typically getting fatter. When you look at the top killers of African-Americans–cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, unintentional injuries, diabetes–with the exception of unintentional injuries, they’re all largely preventable and heavily affected by lifestyle choices around food, exercise and smoking. With asthma, for example, Ms. Brockington suggests that increasing rates among African- Americans are the result of pollution. Certainly, air pollution is an important issue, but minority asthma rates have risen over the last few decades as the United States has achieved large declines in urban air pollution. Childhood obesity, on the other hand, has been shown to have strong links to asthma in Black and Latino youth. Perhaps one of the challenges for our generation will be to help organizations like the Urban League and the NAACP respond to a new set of crises that have more to do with internal factors, like our own behavior, than external factors (bigots and corporate pollution).
Omar Wasow, executive director,
New York City