Public Health, Policy & Black Empowerment with Okey Enyia

December 4, 2017

Public Health concerns are a critical piece to understanding the complexities of the Black experience. It’s part of the issue that keeps us from creating a cohesive socio-economic political agenda to advance the Black community. Consider it like this: who can think straight when they are sick?

And like Malcolm said, Black people in America are “sickest of all politically.” That sounds hyperbolic…sounds like exaggeration. But, look at our social condition and our place in American society. And yes, White supremacy is the root of that. But by now, shouldn’t we have come up with a strategy to trample down white supremacy?

I believe so…and that’s why I look at our struggle as deeply rooted in public health. We have to be sick…and maybe if we heal the sickness, we might be able to create a winning strategy to bring Liberty and Justice to our people – and to this Country.

I’ve read enough sociological works to attest to this premise. My favorite is Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. In this work, Dr. Degruy speaks of the experience of slavery – and subsequently Jim Crow – as an experience that created a psychological condition akin to post traumatic stress disorder. However, this psychosis is passed on subconsciously through the generations. Similar to white privilege in that people get it without knowing, all western Blacks are affected by this syndrome – without either knowing or wanting to be. Yet, this if further compounded for Blacks in neighborhoods rampant with drugs and crime. For those still in such communities, there is an added level of PTSD.¬† But I’m not public health professional. So, I thought it would spend some time with one!

Okey K. Enyia is a public health professional who has also served as a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Health Policy Fellow. So he definitely understands both the public health and policy perspectives of Black empowerment. I encourage you to listen to this conversation and respond to his challenges on creating a political agenda that would move our people forward.

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What do you think? We would love to have your thoughts and engagement.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

  1. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome – Dr. Joy DeGruy
  2. The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  3. They Schools – Dead Prez
  4. Okey K. Enyia on LinkedIn

What are Your Thoughts?