Vol. 10, No. 6 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thespiritualherald.org June 2011 © 2011 Eastern Tsalagi Publishing Co.
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Campaign to Save Obama is Underway
By Jamal Jordan
NEW YORK--The re-election of President Obama is key to preserving and expanding healthcare and other gains made by blacks and other minorities.
That is the view of Clergy and Providers for Racial Healthcare Equality, which announced plans in June to hold a massive rally on September 13, 2011 at the Harlem State Office Building.
The independent campaign, which is seeking to enlist the support of America’s minority churches and healthcare providers, is also aimed at preventing the continuing, widespread verbal abuses against Obama.
Entitled “Save the Presidency of Barack Obama,” the campaign is being sponsored by Clergy and Providers for Racial Healthcare Equality (CPRHE).
CPRHE, concerned that many minority voters may not be as excited this time around, is reaching out to churches to once again create the same momentum that thrust Obama into the Presidency three years ago.
The announcement of the rally was made at a meeting at Harlem’s Sylvia’s Restaurant, during which time clergy, providers and other activists pledged to “work tirelessly” to support Obama during the coming months toward his reelection bid.
“We cannot passively sit by as Republican political leaders, arch-conservatives and tea party bigots continue to abuse our President,” declared the Rev. Dr. Clyde Anderson, executive director of CPRHE.
“It is clear to us that their concern is not to improve the quality of healthcare and life in America, but simply to act as a destructive force against people of color and prevent Mr. Obama from returning to office,” he added.
CPRHE is a not-for-profit civil rights health care organization started in May 2009 that is aimed at reducing the incidence of widespread healthcare disparities among minorities, such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and heart disease.
CPRHE is also concerned about the absence of minorities in clinical drug trials, the outsourcing of jobs abroad, drug manufacturing plant shutdowns and the disproportionate job losses. In addition, the organization is alarmed by the denial by hospitals, as well as pharmaceutical and insurance companies, to provide advertising, marketing and other contracts to minority businesses.
CPRHE wants churches to compete with insurance companies to operate Medicaid programs. It believes that since the insurance companies are essentially “middlemen” who drain profits from Medicaid, churches could in some cases replace them and create great savings for the government.
Anderson said there is a growing concern and anger over the future of entitlements, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which represents a “safety net” for minorities.
“These programs are essential to the well-being of our communities,” he said. “We have huge, disproportionate unemployment among our people, and further cuts and reductions in entitlement would spell disaster for us.”
Anderson went on to note that scores of clergy, providers and other activists are concerned that the right wing of the country “will push President Obama into a corner.”
“We applaud the president for being conciliatory and wanting to compromise for the good of he nation, but he must be careful not to give up too many concessions.
“African Americans spilled their blood on the streets and jails of America during the civil rights movement,” he continued. “The president must be cognizant of our struggles during his negotiations with the leadership of the Republican Party.
As part of its mission, CPRHE is targeting the political conservatives, private hospitals, pharmaceutical and insurance industries that are “intent on privatizing the healthcare sector while simultaneously destroying both Medicare and Medicaid.”
“We must work assiduously to protect Medicare and Medicaid,” asserted the Rev. Dr. Luonne Rouse, vice president of CPRHE who is also a licensed therapist and Methodist minister.
“These are almost sacred programs that were created during the civil rights movement on behalf of African Americans who were struggling against racial discrimination with respect to such issues as voting rights, public accommodations and healthcare,”
Rouse said that he is witnessing a “ growing state of anxiety and depression” among people of color because of the loss of jobs and other social and economic benefits.
“I see many patients who are in desperate need of mental health services,” he said. “And yet the government, the pharmaceutical companies, the latter of which earns big profits from antidepressants and other medications, do little to support people of color.”
Rouse said “it is time for the drug companies to come to the table and work with CPRHE and other groups to change the deplorable conditions facing minorities.
“We need their help and they are not forthcoming,” he noted.
Hugh Wyatt, editor and publisher of The Spiritual Herald, who is also chairman of the board of CPRHE, asserted that “the insurance industry shares much of the blame for the barrage of assaults against Obama.”
“It is clear that many insurance companies are financially supportive of the hardcore Republicans and tea partiers who are opposed to the so-called Obama plan,” he said.
“We wish the President had done more to help all the millions of Americans who remain uninsured, but the reality is that he was responsible for getting more than 32 million insured, about 25 percent of which are African Americans and other blacks,” he said, noting:
“As a matter of fact, many members of the clergy strongly believe that the insurance industry may be behind the campaign by many conservatives to oust our President. We cannot let that happen.”
Anderson, echoing Wyatt’s comments, declared: “We cannot allow these conservatives to turn back the clock to the cruel days of the past, during which time we were constantly abused and denied our human and civil rights.
“If Obama loses next year, we all lose—gains that took us centuries to achieve through blood, sweat and tears,” he said.
Anderson called on clergy, providers and others to contact the organization immediately by calling (646) 373-6259 or sending an e-mail to email@example.com.