Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Promising Practices [Reflection]

During the Promising Practices conference, I attended the following sessions:

  • Transgender Wellness at All Ages
  • Youth Action for all Abilities

At the very beginning of the conference, during the Keynote Address, there were a few things that I learned and was able to connect to the texts we read in class. First, the Health equity Zone is working to make sure that facilities provide health care that is needed and addresses people's health appropriately. They want to insure that safe drinking water is available, and that the radon and lead concerns presented by people are taken care of. Additionally, The presenters spoke about making sure that people who are dependent on medication are taking them responsibly and are learning more about their health. This all reminded me of Kozol. These are the services that he would love to see for the people of Mott Haven. If the people in his piece were given these services, many deaths could have prevented and they could have lived a better quality of life.

The keynote speakers also pointed out that those who haven't obtained a high school degree have a shorter life expectancy; there is a seven year gap between them and those who do have a high school degree. There is also a higher obesity rate for women without a high school degree. Additionally, the obesity rate is higher among people with less than a $50,000 salary per year. A big contributor to this is the lack of opportunity for a good education, as well as health awareness and medical availability. This can be linked directly back to Kristof, who claims that inequality is institutional instead of individual. Obesity andthe lack of a high school degree could be caused by a myriad of things such as poor education (students may feel unsupported by staff, may get bullied because of race/ability etc, or poor home life could interfere with their ability to complete schooling).

During the Transgender Wellness at All Ages event, it was suggested that educators use books with LGBTQ characters (such as same-sex parents) to promote positivity to youth regarding the topic.

We were also told about Christine Jorgensen, who was the first woman in the United States to be widely known for having sex reassignment surgery.

The presenter also told us a story about a transgender student who had a class at Whipple Hall. She was using the women's bathroom and felt that she had to stand on the toilet when she heard someone walk in. She then was washing her hands, and a girl came in. After seeing the woman, the girl looked horrified and ran. This relates back to August because she would argue that these students need to have a place where they feel safe, and not like they need to hide in the bathroom stall when a person walks in.

The presenter also gave us somme statistics: transgender people are 20 times more likely to be homeless. On a similar note, the average age of transgender people without a hommme is thirteen.

During the Youth Action for All Abilities session, we learned that kids with disabilities are much more likely to be depressed, suicidal, overweight, anti social, and to have unprotected sex because of their disability. Often times they are also isolated and discriminated against, which adds to these issues. They are also rarely chosen to be employed, even if they have great qualifications; in 2013, there was a 39.8% employment rate for people with disabilities.

Here is an informative piece on the "Capital Crawl", when disability rights activists fought to make the capital building in Washington accessible to everyone, and to make it comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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