The 2012 presidential election is right around the corner, as evidenced by the non-stop coverage of potential candidates. Before you know it, Election Day will be here and we will be faced with voting for the candidate that promises to address most of our top concerns.
I have no doubt that job creation, health care and education will be at the top of the list of issues African Americans will be concerned about in the 2012 elections. Rightfully so, given the huge disparities that exist in the African American community when it comes to those top issues.
For instance, according to the United States Department of Labor, the national unemployment rate is 9%, however it is more than 16% for African Americans, and even higher for African American males.
Additionally, the health status of African Americans continues to lag behind that of whites and other races. This is largely due to lack of insurance and access to health services. African Americans are more than one and half times more likely to be uninsured.
Even with all of those very important issues that need to be addressed, we’re asking you to add clean air to your list of critical concerns for 2012. Our colleague at Moms Clean Air Force, Gina Carroll, the creator of Proactive Parenting, explains why more African Americans should become activists for clean air. Gina states that compared to white children, black children have:
- 260% higher emergency room visit rate
- 250% higher hospitalization rate
- 500% higher death rate from asthma
“These statistics are frightening and should give every African-American head-of-household pause. For all that we do to improve the lives of our children, how insidious is this quiet killer, that while we strive to improve our diets and the safety of our neighbor hoods, the very air we are breathing is undermining our efforts. Legislators, unethical corporations and their lobbyists are deciding as a matter of policy that the human lives nearest and most affected by these power plants are expendable and less important. And we, distracted by all of the other challenges that impact us day-to-day, allow decision makers to deprioritize our children”
With such disparities in unemployment and health care, it is even more imperative that we speak up for African American children, and all families, and add clean air to the list of top voting concerns.
As our kids spend more time missing school and in emergency rooms – and their parents miss more and more days from work, we cannot afford to ignore the devastating impact air pollution has on the African American community.
Please remember that in 2012, not only will there be a presidential race, but there will be 33 races in the US Senate, every seat in the House of Representatives will be voted on, and many governorships and state races will occur also. This gives us plenty of opportunities to lend our voices and send messages to Congress that we will not tolerate attacks on Clean Air regulations.
Here are a few things you can do to support clean air in the upcoming elections:
- Speak out at town hall meetings, candidate forums, and public events.
- Write to Congress: Tell your member of Congress to support EPA’s new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Here is a quick and easy form. Tell your Senators to vote NO for the TRAIN Act that is designed to cripple Clean Air Act regulations.
- Use social media to raise awareness:
- Send tweets to your representatives – participate in political twitter chats/parties, and ask your friends their views on the EPA and the Clean Air Act. Retweet Moms Clean Air Force tweets.
- “Like” Moms Clean Air Force Facebook page.
- Write blog posts, or share blog posts from sites such as the MomsCleanAirForce.org that provide informative articles to keep parents up-to-date on the latest activities to strengthen clean air regulations.
It’s time to use our collective voices to let politicians know that while we are concerned about the jobs and health care in 2012, we are not turning a blind eye on the environment. Let’s hold our politicians accountable for decisions to dismantle policies that protect our environment and our children.