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One Imagination empowers the current and next generation of leaders through written and oral expression. As a collective based in the Long Beach/South Bay area, we believe that through conscious artistic programming, community education and outreach, and leadership development, we can cultivate a world free of hatred, ignorance, injustice, inequality, and oppression.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

update on my father's passing by Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors: update on my father's passing
Wed at 12:56pm

My father died of neglect. He died of racism. I found out that my dad apparently had a heart disease for years and it went undiagnosed. He died of neglect. He died of racism. He had all the classic signs, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and chest pains, but no diagnosis (while incarcerated or by the veteran's hospital). I want to talk about Black people having agency over their health. I’m battling rage right now. Grappling with this place called the U.S.A.

As Black people we have so much to heal from emotionally, spiritually and physically. I have dedicated a significant part of my life trying to help change the pre-prisoning of Black and Brown youth both within my organization the Labor Community Strategy Center, and with my family, because I see it as the housing ground to traumatizing an entire nation. I have bared witness to the most egregious acts of police brutality in my home, and have seen the treacherous violence that Black men face while incarcerated. I have cried many nights over the intense pain that Black people live with and the intense pain I have lived with.

My father was released from prison in March of 2009 and died in December 2009. We (my family and his friends) were all shocked. My father always went to the doctor, and was very clear about wanting to practice healthy living. So, how did he die? Feb 23rd, 2010 I received the coroner’s report. My father suffered from atherosclerosis a heart disease that clogs the arteries. The classic symptoms are high blood pressure and high cholesterol (both of which my father suffered from.) Yet, he was never diagnosed with heart disease. I believe that he was neglected because he was a recovering addict, veteran, inmate and above all a Black man. My father was left to die.

Black people, WE must have agency over our health. We must look for alternatives outside of the western health care providers. We also need to advocate for our families and ourselves when we are not given proper care in medical hospitals as well as psychiatric hospitals. I want to share some of the steps I have made to have a healthier life. Steps for being healthy specifically living as a Black person in the U.S:

1. Remember to breathe deep breaths on a daily basis
2. If you are using substances on a regular basis try to cut them down or stop use of them immediately.
3. Exercise! At least 3 x a week but try every day. Walk, ride a bike, go to the local YMCA, do sit-ups and or pushups in your room. Go on you tube and find workout videos. (This is a huge stress reliever)
4. Eat Healthy. That means greens, fruits, and lean meats. Try to cut back on the cheese and refined sugars. (If you go to http://www.southcentralfarmers.com/ you can get 15-dollar vegetable boxes at local farmer’s markets and some schools.)
5. Find a therapist. Most of us that grew up poor and working class have and continue to experience trauma and its effects. Please go to your local clinic and or call your health care provider and get in on some therapy sessions

I have done all these things and more. They can literally save our lives. My father was trying to be healthy and it was really difficult for him at times, but a lot of the times he was able to fulfill his dreams around his health. Even when he didn’t have the resources or knowledge to advocate for himself. I want us to talk more about what health ailments most affect Black people and what steps we can take to prevent/intervene. I love myself too much to let them kill me. Peace and Blessings.

Patrisse Cullors