AIDS: The Other Disease Hurting Black Americans

December is AIDS Awareness Month

The system of oppression put into place in the healthcare system has continued to fail people of color in all aspects of health, and the AIDS epidemic is no different. While the stereotype surrounding AIDS is that only gay or bisexual men live with the disease, that is not the case.

Black women account for the largest share of new HIV diagnoses. Black transgender women are more likely to have HIV than any other ethnicity or race of transgender women. Black Americans are more likely than any other group to die from Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome.


Discrimination, stigmatization, poverty, limited access to healthcare, and the fear of the disease. All of these things contribute to Black Americans facing the brunt of the AIDS epidemic.

With less access to private health insurance and limited healthcare options, Black Americans are less likely to be on medication or virally suppressed. The prescriptions to help limit the symptoms of HIV/AIDS and increase the length of the person’s life are often expensive. If the person does not have insurance to cover it, out-of-pocket payments are costly. This leads to a higher risk of unknowingly transmitting HIV.

The stigmatization that surrounds HIV/AIDS leads to the labeling of those individuals as part of a group that is socially unacceptable. Because of this, the person with HIV/AIDS could be socially isolated, or individuals even refusing contact with the person. Black Americans are already discriminated against and adding on an HIV/AIDS diagnosis would only make it worse. While this might not be the case, the fear of this happening prevents people from getting tested.


If the person decides to get tested and does test positive, care is often not sought out because of the price of care. In both situations, it is a losing scenario in a person’s thought process leading to so many not even knowing they have the disease.

Talking about human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome openly, especially the disproportionate effects on the Black community, are necessary to ending the stigmatization behind HIV/AIDS. The healthcare system needs to change how it handles HIV/AIDS and begin to treat it like the epidemic that it is. Neighborhood FORWARD stands with the Black community who have HIV/AIDS and with the Black community that has suffered from the effects of stigmatization.

Mind the Gap: Disparities in Public Transportation

Public transit is how many Americans rely on getting to work, going to the grocery store, or getting access to healthcare. The majority of Americans relying on public transit are communities of color, as they are six times more likely to not have access to a car.

So why are public transportation budgets beginning to be slashed?

Organizations and political groups have spent millions on campaigns and candidates to get them to support increasing highway spending and reducing public transportation spending statewide and federally. Their goal is to get more Americans into their car and spending money in their industry, instead of riding public transit.


These highways help mostly white wealthier communities, taking money away from public transit and effectively hurting poor, predominantly people of color communities.

The slashing of public transit is occurring in New York City as the M.T.A subway and bus services are facing cuts of 40%. Weekend services would be cut the most, 15-minute wait times between trains and some lines just cut out altogether.

With this cutting of lines and extended wait times, low-income and minority communities could have no way to get to work, limited options of accessing healthcare, and a hard time going outside of their communities. With no way to get to work, or not having a reliable way of getting to work, people could lose their jobs, having to apply for unemployment as they look for a job not requiring transit.

While both high-income and low-income workers use public transit, higher-paid workers are more likely to be able to work remotely. Low-income workers do not have that option as readily available. More low-income workers are deemed essential and working in the service industry, relying on public transit.


With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, low-income communities have already been hit the hardest, and limiting public transportation is hurting them even more.

The rhetoric about public transportation has made it out as a money pit, not showing the expansive value public transportation holds.

While limiting public transportation not only hurts the people traveling on public transit, it also could erase 450,000 jobs. These jobs rely on the people coming into the city, spending money, and using their services. With fewer people having the ability to enter the city, it effectively hurts their business. An increase in public transit funding would directly lead to more job growth than highway spending.

Limiting public transportation hurts low-income communities, hurts businesses that rely on the people brought in by public transit, and can negatively affect the New York economy as a whole.

Neighborhood FORWARD believes in the importance of public transportation. We believe that low-income communities deserve to have a way to get work, a way to access healthcare, and a way to go further than somewhere within walking distance.


There’s Systemic Racism in the Food, Send It Back

Finding a meal or a snack to eat is something most Americans, especially white Americans, do not worry about. They aren’t facing empty pantries or lacking the amount of money they need to buy food to address their hunger. They are not worried about having the amount of money to fit their dietary needs or desires.


However, one out of six Americans do not get that luxury and face hunger in their day-to-day life, wondering when their next meal will be. People facing hunger often comes with being below the poverty line and not having the disposable income to buy healthy food. In Black households, hunger occurs two times more than their white counterparts.


But hunger does not just have to do with poverty, it also stems from systemic racism at all levels. The ability to build capital, such as buying a home, is systemically stacked against Black Americans. Because of this, they are more likely to reside in a food desert.


Food deserts are more likely to be found in Black and Brown communities and low-income areas. Meaning, that specific areas do not have a grocery store or a place to grow their own food. This leads to people having to travel out of their community to get access to food, making it more time consuming.


Even if an area has a corner store, it often does not include healthy food. When those stores have healthy food it is priced outrageously high. The price of the food also has a systemic effect. In food deserts, people are more likely to go for cheaper food with a longer shelf life they can grab on the go. Healthy food options need to be accessible for every American.


This holiday season, especially with COVID-19, many families and individuals are facing food insecurity and hunger. Consider donating healthy options to local food banks or people in your community facing hunger or partner with a local organization to help feed families. Neighborhood FORWARD was honored to do our part by joining Fathers Who Care Chicago and The Epworth Foundation in Denver to help provide Thanksgiving meals to families.

Systemic Racism in food

Thanksgiving Pick Up in Denver
Systemic Racism in food

Fathers Who Care Chicago Thanksgiving Celebration


If you or a loved one are facing hunger and food insecurity consider finding a local food bank.

Another Failure by the Healthcare System to People of Color

November is National Diabetes Month

It is not new information that people of color are disproportionately affected by diseases. One of these diseases is diabetes. Upwards of 30 million Americans have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and 55.6 % of those people are people of color.  It’s important to see how they are being disproportionately affected and how to help them.

Black and Brown Americans are 77% more likely to develop diabetes. Part of this has to do with the poverty rates in their communities. Disproportionately affected, Black and Brown people often end up in areas where there are not as many healthy food options and have limited access to physical exercise equipment. Additionally, These communities do not have the same quality of healthcare as white communities and lack access to a regular physician.

Furthermore, diabetes is a disease that requires medication in order to be managed. The prices of these medications have risen by 58%. However, because of systemic racism, it’s harder for people of color to make money and build capital. Therefore, it is harder for people of color to afford the insulin and medication they need to survive.

diabetes chart

With insulin costing upwards of $300, people resort to rationing or crowdfunding their next prescription. However, rationing medication does not properly treat diabetes and it can also unfortunately lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis causes death and has taken more lives each year as the price of insulin has gone up.


The expense of diabetes medication is out of control. There must be a stop to increasing prices, or a healthcare system that takes the burden off the shoulders of these communities. Why are the people most likely to be affected by it the least likely to be insured?

This is why there needs to be a change in the healthcare system for medications altogether, but especially for diabetes. People should not have to ration medication that is saving their lives because it is too expensive.


We see that there needs to be a change. Neighborhood FORWARD stands with disproportionately affected communities.

A Cops and Robbers Story – November 11th, 2020

About Corey Pegues:

Corey Pegues, a board member of Neighborhood FORWARD, is the subject of the movie “A Cops and Robbers Story” that will be released on November 11, 2020. Corey Pegues, a Queens New York native, is a retired NYPD executive. Rising through the ranks of the NYPD, Pegues worked for New York City for 21 years, become an exemplary commander and public servant. Pegues is known for bridging the gap between the community and police, and tells his story in “Once a Cop,” a memoir of his life growing up as a drug dealer to becoming a part of the police department.


A Cops and Robbers Story:

In the 1980s, Corey Pegues found himself selling crack on the streets as part of a gang known as the “Supreme Team.” Changing his course, Pegues went on to serve 21 years with the New York City Police Department, and in that time became one of NYPD’s most high-ranking commanders. His movie, “A Cops and Robbers Story,” tells the compelling narrative of how Pegues’ former life as a gang member forever changed the treatment he received by the police community.


Purchase Tickets to “A Cops and Robbers Story” Here 

Things That Law & Order Didn’t Show

With the continuing racial bias that is happening around the country, New York State completed a report to give a better look at their court system. This report interviewed 289 individuals including court clerks, court attorneys, and other personnel involved with the New York court system.

This report not only found that court officers often have been saying and doing overtly racist acts, but racism is systemic as well.

Looking at the racism of court officers in New York, there have been severe cases of officers posting racist memes or making comments that had a racial bias. Court officers of color interviewed in a recent report commented that they often heard racial slurs that went unpunished and if the officer faces punishment it is not one that results in a changed attitude by the officer.

In the courthouse, people heard court officers calling teenagers the “n-word.” Some officers were also disrespectful to lawyers and defendants of color when they were in the courthouse. It goes deeper than disrespect. Officers using racial slurs towards people of color have been heard multiple times in New York courthouses.

These biases are not the only occurrences of racism going on. People of color are more likely to have to wear handcuffs than their white counterparts when sitting in the courtroom. A “second class system of justice” is what the people of color in New York are experiencing.

New York court officers need to be held accountable immediately. They need to be fired for racial remarks, not the second or third time it happens but the first time it happens. While diversity and inclusion training help, there needs to be a set of rules that keeps the officers accountable.

People of color court officers deserve equality. People of color who are attending court, whether they have been charged or not, deserve equality. People of color deserve equality.

The systemic racism in the New York court system needs to stop NOW.

Blackface is not a costume. If you don’t think so, you’re a clown.

The use of blackface and wearing costumes of cultural wear happens year-round, especially during Halloween when people inappropriately defer culture as a costume.

From TV shows to movies, white people are wearing blackface. While some people claim blackface is a situation of the past, it still exists in shows such as The Office, 30 Rock, and SNL and movies like She’s Gotta Have It and Tropic Thunder. While the Black Lives Matter movement this summer pushed actors and actresses to apologize for wearing blackface it continues to happen.

Although movies and TV shows are one of the main places blackface and cultural appropriation occurs, Halloween is the time of the year it happens all over America. With kids dressing up as people outside of their race, and adults dressing up and making fun of cultures through their costume, Halloween is a time of year when many people are offended.

Some examples of costumes putting down a culture or race include:

Using cultural dress as a costume is offensive and takes away from their traditional significance. By wearing it in a way to mock a person and culture is hurtful and pushes negative stereotypes.

If you have to ask if something is blackface or offensive to a culture, it is.

Jim Crow laws may be gone, but voter suppression isn’t

Jim Crow laws were established in the 1960s to prevent Black Americans from exercising their right to vote.

These laws included:

  • Literacy tests administered by poll-workers to determine whether the voter could read. Black voters were often deemed ineligible.
  • Poll taxes disproportionately affected Black voters by requiring them to pay a fee, which many could not afford, at the polls.
  • Grandfather clauses were laws enacted that made first generation voters illegal; a person could not vote unless an older relative had done so in the past. It was virtually impossible for many Black people to be second or third generation voters because most of their ancestors had been enslaved.

Flash forward to 2020 and voter suppression is still alive and well. With early voting underway across the U.S., ways to prevent the public from voting still remain.

Strict voter ID laws, for example, require voters to have a government-issued ID. Without one, they cannot vote. These laws turn away potential voters, primarily people of color, from casting their votes.

Georgia’s “exact match” law, which requires a person’s signature perfectly match that of past records, also impacts a disproportionate number voters. In 2018, 80% of the those who faced the consequences of this law were not White. Although Georgia plans to abandon this law, the misjustice due to its enforcement in previous elections must not be ignored.

More common tactics of voter suppression include:

  • Voter confusion due to errors and misinformation.
  • Voter intimidation and harassment.
  • Limits on the number of polls and long lines.
  • Claims that absentee ballots cause voter fraud.

Many people find the process of voting already discouraging and intimidating. Mix these feelings with misinformation spread by the far right, and potential voters give up on the process altogether.

The most recent strategy to disenfranchise voters is spreading the rhetoric that absentee ballots lead to voter fraud. While states are working to make these ballots accessible, this notion attempts to limit the legitimacy of absentee voting.

The claim that voter fraud is happening all the time is FALSE, and is a detriment to the very principles our democracy thrives on.

In 2018, 120 million eligible Americans did not vote. Don’t let 2020 voter suppression take away from your right to vote!


Neighborhood FORWARD wants to put a stop to voter suppression happening throughout the country. Join us by lifting your voice with your vote and help educate others about their rights.

Black-on-Black Crime: A Racist Myth

With an uptick in protests and the Black Lives Matter movement this summer, some continue to ask the question, “What about Black-on-Black crime? Why is that not being protested instead?”

The idea that “Black-on-Black crime” is not being addressed is a myth. Furthermore, the idea that Black communities kill each other more than any other racial group is false. The Black-on-Black crime myth is another tool used to push the agenda of white supremacism on the American people. 

For years, the Black community has fought to end violence at the hands of law enforcement, but also in our own neighborhoods. The Black community does this through many methods, including movies, songs, community protests, and mediations between neighborhoods.

Using the phrase Black-on-Black crime reduces Black people to criminals, making it seem that they are more likely than a white person to commit a crime. On the other side of things, white people are mainly killed by white people. Have you ever heard the phrase “white-on-white crime?”

People are also more likely to commit a crime based on their level of poverty than their race. Because of systemic racism in America, poverty is twice as high among Black Americans than white Americans. This predisposition puts Black Americans in neighborhoods where crime is higher, which many people do not account for when looking at crime rates.

The phrase Black-on-Black crime also prevents us from focusing on what’s important to Black Americans right now — police brutality. A Black American is two and a half times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than a white person. This is horrendous and needs to be put to a stop. How many more Tamir Rices? Philando Castiles? Breonna Taylors? Why don’t their lives matter?

It’s time to push back on the myth of Black-on-Black crime. It is nothing more than a racist dog whistle spread in order to cover up police brutality and push the white supremacist agenda.

Rather than more policing and more prisons, it is imperative that we focus on the root causes of the disproportionate crime rates towards Black people. As Angela Davis once said, the prison system simply “relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism.” The way we address so-called “Black-on-Black crime” is by dismantling the racist systems that subject Black Americans to violence.

Neighborhood FORWARD believes it is beyond time to make real and lasting change to our policing systems and address the factors that put Black Americans in harm’s way. Are you with us?

No-knocks should be a thing of the past

With the use of no-knock warrants, police can enter homes without having to alert any of the residents. The use of no-knock warrants can lead to innocent people losing their lives.

Unknowing that the cops were entering, Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker shot at the police thinking it was an intruder. Breonna Taylor was then shot eight times and murdered. Neither of them had anything to do with the suspected deliver of drugs to Breonna Taylor’s address.

No-knock warrants take away from the privacy of people’s homes while also putting people in danger. The person often assumes it is an intruder leading to the death of innocent people such as Breonna Taylor. Overused and misused, no-knocks need to become a thing of the past to save lives today.

No-knocks were implemented at the federal level during the Nixon Administration in 1970, and ended up being repealed because of the number of botched drug raids and mistaken drug raids across the country. However, in the 1980s it made a widespread comeback to local police departments as a tactic for the war on drugs. No-knock warrants were controversial since its conception and still controversial now as we see innocent bystanders dying at the hands of police.

Neighborhood FORWARD stands for the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act or S. 3955. This act will ban no-knock warrants at a nationwide level, saving innocent lives such as Breonna Taylor’s.

Sponsored by Senator Rand Paul, the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act needs to be passed in its entirety.

We cannot stand while action is not being taken for Breonna Taylor and many others that have been affected by no-knock warrants.

Say Her Name. Breonna Taylor. Say Their Names.

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