Governor took a stand against cancer

Governor Blagojevich’s “Stand Against Cancer” program has provided thousands of low-income, uninsured Illinois women seamless access to low-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings, diagnostic testing and treatment.

This past Mother’s Day, more than 65,000 people in 50 local African-American and Latino churches celebrated breast cancer survivors and promoted early detection. This event, a joint effort of Access Community Health Network, the state’s Stand Against Cancer program and the American Cancer Society, was more timely due to a state-funded Sinai Urban Health Institute study, based on Chicago-area death certificates from 1980-2002. Despite advances in screening and drastically better outcomes for white women, the breast cancer death rates of African-American women have not improved. Research did not include Latinas, who often return to their countries of origin when diagnosed with a serious disease, which causes local death rates to be under-reported. However, it’s a logical assumption that Latina breast cancer death rates also have not improved.

Many women may have died prematurely if not for the early detection and access to screening available through Stand Against Cancer. This is just one of many programs at stake if equitable, affordable health care isn’t made available to all in Illinois.

The Governor did not wait for the outcome of a study to help save lives. He was ahead of the curve instead of trailing behind it. Let’s support the Governor’s efforts to provide all Illinois residents with affordable access to health care and ensure that this important, life-saving work can continue. It’s difficult to imagine even one mother not being around next Mother’s Day if current funding for breast cancer education and screening programs is cut.

Donna Thompson
CEO, Access Community Health Network

Send a letter of support for Gateway

I am soliciting a letter of support in the establishment of a Gateway in the Austin area on the West Side that will represent the African-American community.

Gateway will host the richness of our culture and our contributions to America. You know that we have influenced every facet of America, from our music to our style of dress. Not to mention their basic imitation of our style of cool, our walk, talk and mannerisms. We enrich their very existence, all the while contributing to the Gross National Product through our achievements in corporate America. Our contributions and heritage will be reflected in every facet of this project.

The City of Big Shoulders: The various communities in Chicago reflect the people who live there-Greek Town, Little Village, Humboldt Park, China Town. and Little Italy-but where are we, the African-American community? When asked, “Where do you go to see the richest and oldest culture in the world in Chicago?” many reply Bronzeville or Hyde Park.

The solution to this problem: The Austin Community Revitalization Movement.

Attached you will find the website address for “The Gateway,”, a project that will create a new awakening for the African-American community. We are asking that you send us a letter of support endorsing this undertaking. We are submitting this letter to Mayor Richard Daley, 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts, 28th Ward Alderman Isaac Crothers, and 29th Ward Alderman Ed Smith, to name a few. Your endorsement will add business, political, social, and spiritual support to our efforts. I am available for more feedback and presentations on “The Gateway” if needed. This is an undertaking that will bring black dollars back into the African-American community and well-needed business, jobs and pride. We hope you will see our vision for the Austin community and send your letter today.

Rickie P. Brown Sr.