Good Health and Health Care are essential to the development of the African community!

Health is a Life and Death Issue for the African Community

  • 70% higher rates of diabetes and heart disease than whites.
  • Cancer rates 50% higher for black men and 35% higher for black women than for whites.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for black men, accounting for 34% of all deaths. 40% of black women die of it.
  • 35% of black men have high blood pressure compared to 24% of white men; 34% of black women compared to 19% white.

Health is essential to life. Yet in the U.S., the world's richest country, African people suffer and die from an epidemic of curable diseases. This can in part be attributed to the lack of quality health services available, difficulty in obtaining healthy food, environmental pollution, and the lack of genuine economic development in our communities resulting in the serious ongoing stress of poverty. This has led to an actual decline in life expectancy for African men in particular -- unprecedented in modern times.

The statistics are stark. The National Center for Health reports that Africans suffer from higher rates of killer diseases than the white population. Diabetes is 132% higher. Stroke is 82% higher. Heart disease is 38% higher. Kidney disease is 176% higher. The cancer rate in the African community is 50% higher for black men and 35% higher for black women but the death rate from cancer is dispropor-tionately higher still. Obesity is epidemic. Infant mortality rates long accepted as a measure of health of the entire community are 33% higher in the African community and in some areas much higher than that. The infant mortality rate for Africans in the U.S. is higher than in some of the poorest countries in the world. The epidemic of high blood pressure is a direct result of the day-to-day stress black people in America face. African people in the U.S. suffer the highest rate of hypertension and heart disease in the entire world.

In this country, health and life expectancy are tied to economic status. Additionally, studies show that black people in particular are consistently denied the same quality of care as white people who live at a comparable economic level.

A recent study documented that life expectancy rates are tied to proximity to a large grocery store. Yet thousands of African families in North Philadelphia and many other inner city areas are forced to either travel long distances to shop for food or pay higher prices for substandard goods. So called "convenience" stores that feature cigarettes, alcohol, junk food and spoiled meat with no fresh fruit and vegetables are available in abundance. How can these wrongs be righted?

The African People's Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) has made a commitment to change this by building institutions and programs in the African community that bring the community into the process of controlling our own health and healthcare.

APEDF is Building Healthcare Programs to Serve the African Community

In St. Petersburg, Florida, APEDF is building prototypes for programs that will be able to be duplicated in African communities throughout the country. This includes the All Peoples TyRon Lewis Community Gym. This first rate fitness center, located in the heart of an economically devastated African community, is a popular and valuable asset to the community. It provides valuable health services on a sliding scale, including free for those who qualify. It is the only black-owned, community based, non-profit institution of its kind. It also features the Walkers and Joggers Club, personal trainers, nutrition information and free aerobics classes. The gym is so popular it is forced to expand, including special programs for older, disabled and overweight people.

APEDF regularly sponsors free health fairs and weight lifting competitions. The Healthy Connections monthly newsletter and free monthly seminars led by health professionals make information available to the African community. They provide the tools people need for a healthy diet and exercise program, to loose weight, and to prevent stroke, diabetes, heart attack and so many other serious diseases.

While the public school system has cut recess and other fitness programs, APEDF recognizes the importance of exercise and health for children. The Uhuru Basketball Program now has teams in four age groups all with new uniforms. Both boys and girls are on the teams and two teams won their division again this year. The Uhuru Basketball Program not only provides a great workout through athletics but also develops focus and leadership skills. The participants receive educational tutoring, participate in collective fundraising projects and travel to new areas, important experiences for African children many of whom never get the chance to leave their community.

Uhuru Furniture and Collectibles is an economic development project of the APEDF that raises valuable resources for the programs. Every day we pick up a truckload of your donations of top quality, interesting merchandise. Your participation through shopping, donating, volunteering or helping to get the word out to your friends and co-workers and helps to forward the mission of the African People's Education and Defense Fund.

Some people feel that nothing will ever change. At Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles, we have seen change happen through our own work. We welcome participation from people from all communities and walks of life. We want to thank everyone who has contributed to Uhuru Furniture and the African People's Education and Defense Fund's work for a positive future for the African community.

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