Thursday, August 13, 2009

After the "Reign" parade on Wednesday, August 12th

Over 200 women, children, and men marched silently from the Tarrant County Convention Center to the old Courthouse, straight down Main Street during the noon hour yesterday, August 12th. Permits and arrangements were successfully secured so that no automobile traffic was allowed on this route of the pedestrian parade. Donning red-and-white umbrellas emblazoned with the catchphrase of the march, the procession cast a striking image for downtown workers who stopped to watch. At the end of the march route, a 30- or so minute rally took place on the east steps of the Courthouse, featuring women leaders Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks and Fort Worth Commission on Women chair Marcy Paul, among others. All spoke vociferously about the various factors that lead to high infant mortality rates in the eastside of Fort Worth.

Kim Parish Perkins, executive director of the D/FW Birthing Project--the beneficiary of a $1,000 check raised at the march/rally--emphasized the prevalence of health disparities in communities of color. Mincing no words, Perkins pubicly called out obstetricians who prioritize their time "out on the golf course and seeing private patients" while treating their lower-income and minority patients as merely "birth canals." Perkins finished off her eyebrow-raising speech with the presentation of a $1,000 scholarship award to a young woman who has been served by the D/FW Birthing Project. Pregnant at the age of 12 and living in foster care, this woman received the services and mentorship of a "SisterFriend" and is now a high school graduate, postured for a college education.

State Senator Wendy Davis appeared towards the end of the rally to remind us of Mark Perry's recent ill-advised veto of state legislation which would have allocated federal dollars to the CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). With a tone of consternation, Davis announced that "80,000 more children would have been served" by this legislation.

You can, at least for the moment, read the Star-Telegram article ("Tarrant County's infant mortality is high despite efforts") about the Stop the Reign march and rally here.

An excerpt from the article:

"The infant mortality rate for blacks in the [Tarrant] county is 14.4, more than twice that of whites (5.6) and Hispanics (6.0).
Programs such as the Fort Worth/Dallas Birthing Project, established in 1997, have helped by providing services such as SisterFriend, which matches volunteers with pregnant girls."

A few of the rally speakers referred to the need for increased "pre-conception care" for young women, which I found interesting. I'll be looking into what exactly is meant by this in the health services community.

(And, yes, if you're wondering, I participated in the march. Check me out in the front page photo of today's Star-Telegram.)


gen said...

In doing research about an upcoming meeting with State Senator Davis....I find you!

I hope you are well. What's going on?

Tammy Gomez said...

Which Gen?

I'm well, btw.