Monthly Archives: August 2012

Early diagnosis critical for treating multiple sclerosis

The disease can be especially aggressive in Blacks 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


A person living in the U.S. is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) every hour, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, affecting more than 400,000 people — over 2.1 million people worldwide. Medical studies have shown that MS is two to three times more common in women than in men and affects Blacks and Whites differently. “Multiple sclerosis is an auto-immune disease. It is when the immune system turns on the body and fights the body,” explains Dr. Jonathan Calkwood, director of the Schapiro Center for Multiple Sclerosis at the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology in Golden Valley.  “This is a very challenging disease to treat because it has lots of different symptoms that it can cause, but primarily it affects the brain, the optic nerve and the spinal cord,” which impact vision, speech, memory and other bodily functions,

Studies also show that MS can be very aggressive in Blacks — oftentimes because Blacks are more likely to be diagnosed later, and they often develop severe disabilities and experience more relapses as a result.

Calkwood adds that young Black males “have the greatest risk of multiple sclerosis — their MS often is more aggressive and may not respond to treatment. We don’t understand why African Americans can have a more aggressive course of the disease — it’s a mystery.”

MS can come in many forms, notes Calkwood. Continue Reading →

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Sabathani awarded grant to reduce health disparities



The Minnesota Department of Health recently awarded Sabathani Community Center an Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) grant in the amount of $176,872 for fiscal year 2012-2013. Sabathani will work with community partners to address health disparities in the African American and Latino communities in the areas of diabetes, teen pregnancy, and unintentional injury and violence. Community partners include the Minnesota Internship Center (MNIC), Southside Clinic, HUE-Man Partnership, Kente Circle, Young Black Male Society, and the University of Minnesota. To eliminate health disparities in diabetes, Sabathani will increase the amount of healthy foods distributed to low-income families through its food shelf; offer an intergenerational healthy soul food cooking class to urban teens who attend MNIC; provide an array of fitness and dance classes (cardio kick boxing, low-impact aerobics, weight boot camp, Zumba, yoga, hip hop aerobics, and kettle bells) to neighborhood residents and MNIC students; offer a foot clinic and nurses clinic for seniors to check their glucose and weight levels; and conduct a support group in collaboration with the University of Minnesota for individuals who are diabetic or pre-diabetic through the Senior Center’s “Club Sugar.”

The second annual Hue-Man event, a health fair specifically for African American men/men of color, will provide health education, health resources, and outreach to 600-800 men and their families. Male-specific information will be provided on heart health, diabetes prevention/disease management, nutrition, physical activity, primary health care, employment/financial resources, fatherhood/parenting, cancer prevention, and dental care. Continue Reading →

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Vikings working to be relevant again

I caution you by saying it’s early and it’s only the pre-season, but the Vikings are working hard in 2012 to make their fans proud of the Purple & Gold. Over the last two years, the organization’s focus has been on securing a new permanent home for future Vikings home games. Even with the team finishing 6-10 and 3-13, the mission was stadium, stadium, stadium. Obviously the Arden Hills site failed and Minneapolis again strong-armed its way home arguing that downtown at the Metrodome site made the most sense. Now that the Wilf brothers have secured their legacy financially with a new stadium, maybe their team will be a winner one day soon. Continue Reading →

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Women’s hoops earned worldwide respect at Olympic games

Coaches don’t get medals. If they did, Jennifer Gillom would have earned her eighth overall. She has six gold medals and a silver as a member of USA Basketball, including a gold as a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic squad. “I hope that we get a ring… Hopefully it will look good on the resume,” said Gillom, the Washington Mystics assistant coach and former Lynx head coach. The only Black assistant women’s basketball coach last week wrapped up a two-game Olympic reunion tour for Gillom — her Mystics faced Indiana and Tamika Catchings and then Minnesota with Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen — all USA team members. Continue Reading →

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Ben Williams: Rising star bassist mixes classic and new sounds



Bandleader and bassist, Ben Williams is on his way to the Dakota on Sept 4 and 5 with the Pat Metheny Unity Band. He’s also well on his way to carving out a beautiful career. He won the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition for double bass and is currently a Concord Records recording artist. His first album as a bandleader is State of Art, released in June 2011. Below is a phone interview with Williams (BW). Continue Reading →

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For Twins’ only Black pitcher, wild can be good


After the Minnesota Twins traded left-hander Francisco Liriano to Chicago last month, right-hander Samuel Deduno becomes the club’s only Black pitcher. Deduno is one of 21 Dominican-born players and the ninth Dominican pitcher to play for the Twins since 1961. He and fellow Dominican natives Alexi Casilla and Pedro Florimon joins Denard Span and Ben Revere as the only Blacks on this year’s squad. Prior to signing as a free agent last November, Deduno’s major league experience had totaled four games for Colorado in 2010 and two games for San Diego in 2011. Otherwise, his entire professional baseball career has been mainly in the minors. Continue Reading →

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The commissioner of education did the right thing



We and our beloved city are faced with a challenging question: Are we committed to the principles and values of decency, trust, honesty, integrity, and transparency of action, or do we, for the sake of a dollar and a color code, embrace and poison ourselves, with that which is evil, dark and decadent that can not only destroy us as a people, but also destroy the society and institutions we share with Whites and others? We can place no greater hope than on these virtues so as not to get distracted by corruption, misrepresentation, and hypocrisy. And yet many accuse Minnesota’s education commissioner, Dr. Brenda Cassellius, as being somehow irresponsible and a hater for not embracing and advancing the code of Blackness, even for wrongdoing. She would be criticized in this corner had she done anything differently when information and documentation was brought to her attention. It all started with the exposé in the Star Tribune story, of August 10, 2012: “State examining finances of charter founder’s schools,” and in the Star Tribune August 15, follow-up story, about how the charter school’s founder’s “$273,000 salary raises eyebrows.”

What is even more shocking is that this information and evidence has been in the archives of the Minnesota Department of Education since 2001, under a different administration (we first exposed the education crisis in the chapter on education in our 2002 book). Continue Reading →

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Prison life: consequences of the street life



“You have 60 seconds left on this phone call,” blurts the automated voice. It’s an irritating reminder of where I live. When I talk to my daughter on the telephone, my confinement in prison fades into a vague reality. The 60-second warning yanks my consciousness out of the mirage my surroundings have morphed into. I’m not in the park pushing my daughter on the swing, listening to her melodic laughter on a warm, sunny day. Continue Reading →

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Black America’s worst campaign — ever!



By Demetairs Bell

Guest Commentator


In 2004, a group of young Black men in Baltimore, Maryland championed a cause that would grant certain individuals the freedom to indulge in criminal activity with the expectation of silence from the Black community. This campaign gained national attention when the DVD “Stop Snitchin’” found its way into the hands of the FBI. In the DVD there are participants in the illegal drug trade that openly brag about their sheer acts of violence, terrorism and intimidation against anyone who would inform authorities of their activities in an effort to get lighter sentences for their own criminal behavior. At one point in the footage a participant summed things up by stating, “Snitches get stitches.” This campaign also became a very profitable venture with the selling of t-shirts at mom & pop stores across the country that displayed the slogan “Stop Snitchin’.”

For decades, a wedge of mistrust and contrasting perspectives has existed between some law enforcement officials and the Black community. Law enforcement officials are baffled and often frustrated by the lack of cooperation from the Black community when crimes occur. Continue Reading →

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