Blood Donation Heroes

A few weeks ago we saw America’s generosity in the long lines

of people waiting to donate blood following the hurricane Katrina disaster and again with hurricane Rita. These blood donation heroes felt strongly about assisting with the 9/11 tragedy. According to the Red Cross, it is now a year later and the demand for blood donations is rising. I would like to offer a few reasons why blood donation heroes continue to be needed.

First, demand for blood cells is increasing. Surgeries that require more transfusions, like organ transplants, are becoming more common. Demand for blood in chemotherapy treatment is also increasing. Both transplants and chemotherapy make it harder for patients to develop their own healthy blood cells, so these patients require frequent transfusions. Younger generations have not made the donation of blood a part of their lifestyle. We have fewer people eligible to donate due to an increased number of restrictions on blood donors. For example, some medications make people ineligible to donate. The world is experiencing a growing number of blood shortages. By January of this year blood collectors were reporting critical blood shortages. A recent survey found that 7% of hospitals had postponed surgeries because of a lack of available blood. Dr. Celso Bianco, president of America’s Blood Centers concluded, “The stress on the blood supply system is increasing. We are hoping to educate and cultivate a younger, healthy generation of blood donors to replace those who will soon no longer be able to donate.” Roughly 60 percent of the population can donate blood, but only 5 percent actually donate.

Second, more children need blood. Of the 70 million children in the United States, hundreds suffer from various forms of leukemia, sickle cell, need transplants, and are born prematurely. More than 3,000 new cases of leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma are diagnosed in children under age 15 each year. These children require life-saving components such as red blood cells and platelets. According to Bianco, “Many of these kids today run, skip, and play because they got another chance at life. In most cases, this would not be possible without the generosity of volunteer blood donors.”

Third, donating blood saves lives. Every day the Red Cross needs 25,000 units of blood to meet the needs of accident victims, trauma patients, children with diseases, surgical patients, oncology patients on chemotherapy, and kidney failure patients. A single donation of blood can be split into as many as three parts–used for three patients and the opportunity to help three lives.

Fourth, donating blood may save your own life. Dr. Jukka T. Salonen of the University of Kuopio in Finland found that “blood donations may be associated with a decreased risk of heart attack in middle-aged men.” The University of Kansas has expressed similar views in studies. The Kansas University Medical Center found that men who gave blood experienced 30 percent fewer incidents of heart disease, bypass surgery, and stroke than donors who did not.

Blood donation heroes give a gift that last a lifetime.

How to Understand the US Multiracial Society – Can it Change Our Future?

Phil and Sonya Thomas continue to fight their local school system. As they wait for the proceedings to begin, they feel the matter could have been avoided if their son’s teacher would have listened. Now, the matter has escalated to this. With their lawyer at their side, the parents watch as the principal defends the teacher: she was justified in labeling their son. The school system experts also support the teacher. Sonya Thomas struggles to reframe herself. “We don’t care what the experts say. It isn’t the school’s right to categorize our son. You are only looking at the outside.” She breaks down. “Why can’t you accept that our son isn’t white? He’s a black American.” The room gets quiet.

The US Dilemma

As many voters turn their attention to the presidential election, the media continues to remind us of race. With a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, Barak Obama makes us uneasy with his racial background. Some people view him as “too black” while others declare that he is just “not black enough.” Individuals with a mixed heritage betray our hidden beliefs and sometimes our prejudices. For example, rapper Kanye West in 2006 told Essence Magazine, “If it wasn’t for race mixing, there’d be no video girls.” Growing up in Louisiana, we lived with a one-drop rule. The one-drop rule holds that individuals with any degree of African ancestry cannot be white. In fact, it makes that person 100% black. In this narrow viewpoint, regardless of the race of the mother the child is determined black. Therefore, regardless of a person’s racial preference, society seeks to make its own judgment of an individual based on a person’s skin color. In most cases, society forces children to make a decision early in life. Shouldn’t we be free from societal racial classification? Let’s further explore this unique situation.

The Historical Perspective

During slavery and the Jim Crow Era, racial laws were developed to prevent intermarriage and co-mingling with other races. In the South, determining one’s race was a fact of life. The term “mulatto” was originally used to describe the union of whites and blacks. From 1870 to 1880, multatto included quadroons, octoroons, and all persons having any perceptible trace of African blood. Demographics are now changing in America. According to the US 2000 Census, there are 3.1 million interracial couples. In fact, one in every 20 children is born from a mixed-race heritage. Many people focus solely on black and white integration. However, this multigenerational movement is far more extensive. According to University of Michigan researchers, Asian Americans have the highest outmarriage rates among racial and ethnic groups (about one and a half million children under age 17 had one Asian parent and another non-Asian parent in 1990). Many of today’s most talented celebrities come from a mixed heritage. They include Dwayne “The Rock,” Johnson, Halle Berry, Vin Diesel, Derek Jeter, Rachel Smith, and Tiger Woods. For many Generation Xers and Millenniums, the formation of a multiracial society is normal. Many older Americans are not as comfortable with interracial mixing. However, they aren’t the only individuals dealing with racial problems. Many times multiracial children have a difficult time coping with a racially charged society. Charlotte Nitardy, in her article “Identity problems in biracial youth,” noted that biracial children have issues with racial identity problems. In many cases, biracial children are faced with choosing one racial group and rejecting the other in order to survive in society.

The Real Challenge

Are the old racial labels outdated for this multiracial generation? Anne Tsui and Barbara Gutek, authors of Demographic Differences in Organizations, maintain that there is still unrest about diversity. They explain, “Below the surface of increased activities and some apparent progress in diversity efforts by companies lie feelings of discomfort, frustration, confusion, and even anger, among women and men, ethnic minorities and the white majority.” Today’s children have little concept of segregated living. Dating outside of one’s race is pretty common in most communities. The US Census has been in charge of tracking the racial classification in this country. Clearly, checking one box or multiple boxes for one racial identification may not be practical now. In fact, because of interracial dating, social demographic changes, and individuals’ right to self-determine their racial preference, the census data may make little sense for the America of the future. Consequently, it may become a distant memory as the multiracial generation continues to expand across America. Unfortunately, society still wrestles with how to deal with this multiracial generation. Will America be ready for a multiracial president or a growing self-identifying multiracial generation? I am optimistic that we are ready. The clock is ticking on America.

Why Lagos State Government Must Reach-Out To Communities on COVID 19 – CSOs

Some civil society organisations have commended the Lagos state government on the manner it is handling the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in a state with an estimated population of 23million people.

Gbenga Komolafe, Secretary General, Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON), Chief Raymond Gold,Coordinator, Housing and Community Upgrade,Nigerian Slum / Informal Settlement Federation (Federation), Dr Taibat Lawawson, Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, University of Lagos,.Dr. Temilade Sesan, Sankofa Policy Lab, Betty Abah, Centre for Children’s Health Education,

Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE Nigeria), Olamide Udoma – Ejorh, Lagos Urban Development Initiative, Deji Akinpelu, Rethink Cities Initiative, Folashade Adeboyejo, POLYBRIQ and Segun Ogunleye, Urbanovate Enterprise, signed the press statement issued.

According to the CSOs, COVID-19 testing and advocacy be extended to low income communities, with clear protocols on reporting and responding to suspected cases outlined, bearing in mind that these communities are densely populated

– That special interventions in primary and secondary health care services are given priority, as well as separating suspected COVID-19 cases from local communities to avoid a spiraling infection in the densely populated areas and for treating them safely.

We also observe with concern that the current palliative measures are not achieving their desired effect, in that distribution is limited, thus propelling protest and violence in many low-income communities.

We therefore request the LASG to consider the following propositions to achieve inclusive and sustainable Covid19 palliative care for the vulnerable:

– That LASG allows individuals, corporate and faith-based organisations with proven engagement in local communities to lead with the distribution of material support to these communities

– That LASG should consider a time limited financial support package to duly registered small-scale trade and market cooperatives, which will be disbursed through individual BVN accounts. International Development Assistance can be used to offset the costs of such payments

– That a mixed strategy of cash transfer +in kind support be considered for the women in need, especially for the unbanked.

– Due to the fact that Lagos relies on food distribution networks from other parts of Nigeria and

beyond, that the operative food distribution chains be kept open – with transporters and local retailers allowed to move around responsibly – during the lock down period.

These food distributors and market women are rendering essential services. We especially recommend that the Neighborhoods Corps and local market associations support the enforcement of social distancing protocols for both buyers and sellers in these markets.

Situations like these call for price control measures that will ensure price stability

– That the Mile 12 traders’ association normalises prices and keeps them constant.

A subsidy mechanism in which government pays the difference to traders if they have to sell below the cost price can be established for this period.

– That access to free water and hand washing stations is ensured in all crowded communities

– That regular clearing of waste is ensured in communities not covered by PSPs and LAWMA’s bridge project

– That special arrangements should be made to provide temporary accommodation and feeding for the homeless in order to guarantee the requirements for social distancing and isolation for this very vulnerable layer of the population.

We acknowledge and commend the efforts of the Lagos state government to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19across the state

We recognize the efforts of the state government to provide palliatives for the elderly and vulnerable, especially those whose livelihoods have been disrupted by market closure and travel restrictions. We note that the urban poor are the most vulnerable in this period of global health pandemic and economic uncertainty.

Constant displacements over the past decades have increased overcrowding in many low -income areas, making all the palliative measures even more necessary.

We salute the efforts of all individual and corporate entities supporting the efforts of LASG in these challenging times and we gratefully acknowledge the solidarity of international donors and development organisations.

Why FRIGHT Is A Bad Way To Lead A Nation?

Few of us, could have imagined, hearing the President of the United States, proclaim, if he wasn’t reelected, there would be Civil War, the economy would be destroyed, and the nation’s safety and security, would be threatened! However, since the election of Donald Trump, as President, in 2016, these types of statements, and many other, similar, unexpected/ unanticipated ones, have been articulated, repeatedly! This behavior is, far more severe, and potentially, dangerous, than, simply, being, abnormal, but seems to be, aimed, at our fears, and to frighten us, rather than appeal to our more humane qualities. Calling people names, who oppose him, politically, is the antithesis of true leadership! Referring to immigrants, and other minorities, in fear – producing, unflattering, ways, and using an apparently, nasty approach, aimed at creating FRIGHT and fears, seems to be, un – American! With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means and represents, and the risks, this presents, to the best aspects of the American Way of Life.

1. Fears; false facts; fake; future: When our national leadership, refuses to prioritize the future, and focuses on bring us, back to its perceived past, it produces a clear, and present danger, and risks a sustainable existence, to future generations! This administration’s emphasis, using slogans such as, Make America Great, does exactly that! Appealing to our fears, and articulating constant fake facts, is false leadership! Shouldn’t we do better than that?

2. Reality?; rationale; reliable?; revenge: Distorting reality, and using a false – rationale, is anything but, a reliable way to lead this nation! President Trump, often, appears to focus on getting revenge against his opponents, for his own personal/ political agenda, and/ or, self – interest, regardless of whether it best serves our citizens and nation!

3. Interference; influence; integrity?: Shouldn’t we demand a high degree of absolute, genuine integrity, from the leader of the nation? Instead of doing so, this President seems to use his influence, and the power of his office, to create interference, when it benefits him, and/ or, his agenda, etc!

4. Greater good: The occupant of the White House, is supposed to serve and represent, all Americans, instead of, merely, his core supporters, and followers! It should be his duty and obligation, to serve on, and emphasize the greater good!

5. Healing?; humane?: How do we benefit, when the President, seems to care little about healing our wounds, and/ or, humane aspects, needs, and priorities?

6. Time – tested; timely: Donald Trump appears to care little about making the effort, or taking the time, to learn, and/ or, discover, in an in – depth, detail – oriented way! This time – tested approach, must be combined, with the ability to proceed, with a well – considered, timely action plan, focused on bring us, together, for the common good!

FRIGHT must not become the focus of the leader of the free world, but, rather, we need to be served and represented, by an individual, who, puts citizens, and the nation, first! Wake up, America, because, this isn’t normal, and may be, extremely dangerous, both, in the short – term, as well as the longer – run!

The Making of a Sociopath

There is a disturbing trend of a rise in the prevalence of sociopathy in our society as revealed by many sources of media. Our present culture has become the breeding ground for sociopaths. We even don’t know that a sociopath might be living next door.

Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a lack of regard for the moral or legal standards of the local culture. There is a marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules. Individuals with this disorder are sometimes called psychopaths or sociopaths. They are mostly used interchangeably.

A simple definition of the sociopath is someone, who has no conscience and is tremendously antisocial.

Sociopathic behavior is characterized as the inability to care about right or wrong behavior and how it affects other people.

Typically, sociopaths can be recognized by possessing most of the characteristics that include lack of empathy, difficult relationships, manipulativeness, deceitfulness, callousness, hostility, irresponsibility, impulsivity and risky behavior.

Statistically, sociopaths make up about 3 to 5 percent of the general population. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about three out of 100 males and one out of 100 females are sociopaths. Approximately, 70 percent of sociopaths come from fatherless homes and 30 percent are born out of wed-lock. As many as 15 to 25 percent of prison inmates show signs of being sociopaths.

Causes of sociopathy:

Neurological causes –

The brain of a sociopath shows distinct neurological abnormalities of the frontal lobe of the brain. It is a section of the brain that is the center for judgment and self-control. Genetic factors can be at the root of a sociopathic personality. In general, sociologists are of the opinion that the odds are increased for children to inherit the sociopathic traits if one of the parents has the condition.

Environmental causes –

Sociopaths do indeed come from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Besides distinctive neurological abnormalities in the brain, there are certain environmental factors that play a role. With the right biological conditions in place, a person’s environmental conditions can further aggravate the severity of sociopathy.

According to the criteria of diagnosing sociopathy, the person in question must have shown some antisocial tendencies before the age of 15. Therefore, it can be concluded that a person’s early childhood life has a great impact on the subsequent development of sociopathy.

Studies have proven that the circumstances centered in the home, school or community settings also can contribute to the sociopathic behavior. It also has been shown that if a normal amount of affection was not expressed by the parents, it could generate dysfunction for the child that would manifest itself in sociopathic tendencies.

Family influence – Children born to sociopathic parents are subjected to emotional and physical abuse by them to the effect that they also develop traits of sociopathy. The exact nature and impact of the ramifications of abuse vary from child to child and are dependent upon the severity of the sociopathy and the level of functioning of the parents. It also depends on the nature of the child and his or her level of resiliency, and presence of other support systems.

Sociopathic parents instill fear, shame, and a sense of worthlessness and self-blame in their children. A sociopath parent is what a child dreads most: the monster under his bed and everywhere and he can’t turn to this parent for comfort.

Social influence – Sociopaths are also influenced by various social factors before the age of 15 years. Some of them can include deprivation, sexual or physical abuse, abandonment, emotional abuse, and association with people, who are antisocial.

Brain injury – The researchers have linked head injuries involving pre-frontal cortex, orbito-frontal cortex, and amygdala with sociopathy and violence.

The conclusion –

In actual fact, sociopaths are social predators. They are antisocial with no conscience and ignore reality to make their uncaring and selfish life.

There are potential genetic and non-genetic contributors to sociopathy. The experts believe that sociopathy results from the interaction of genetic predispositions and an adverse environment. What is adverse may differ depending on the underlying predisposition. However, it is difficult to determine the extent of an environmental influence on the development of sociopathy because of evidence of its strong heritability.