The state of the African-American family is now at a crossroads in terms of where we are headed. Through poverty, violence and lack of opportunity, we are failing to develop the next generation of leadership in ways that will assure a net gain for us as a people and for America in general.
Now comes the report from the Black AIDS Institute that if black America was a country, we’d rank 16th in the world in AIDS cases, with nearly 600,000 people currently living with HIV. With HIV, hypertension and diabetes all prevalent in our community, we would place 105th in national life expectancy as an individual country.
We are all aware of people who eat too much salt, drink too much pop or are always “on the prowl”. The problem with these behaviors is that far too often the consequences of them have to be borne by others; family, friends or other caretakers.
What needs to be done? First of all, we need to get back to our moral underpinnings. Of all diseases, HIV is most often transmitted through intimate contact with an infected persons blood, saliva or other bodily fluids. We must listen to our community leaders who call for purity and monogamy in relationships in order that we might slow down this scourge in our community.
Secondly, we must make certain that we engage in taking responsibility for our health by going to the doctor for regular check-ups, that we monitor our blood pressure and sugar levels and do more to prevent diseases that are results of lifestyle choices we make like eating too much of the wrong things and not exercising. Prevention is always less expensive than treatment, regardless of the condition.
Third, we must continually educate ourselves. We must realize that each person is responsible for themselves and for their family. As such, we need to discuss plans with our families to lift ourselves out of intellectual, economic and social poverty. We can do this by supporting black-owned businesses, by developing a new generation of entrepreneurs and being open to opportunities for investment by black venture capitalists.
Black America must learn to harness its economic power by learning to become savers and investors instead of spenders and consumers. If we learn to redirect the wealth we already have access to and begin to clearly and forcefully use those dollars for wealth building and intergenerational transfers, we will be able to provide opportunities for many generations to come without going outside our own community.
Adrian Powell, Fraternal Insurance Counsellor, is the founder of Advanced Planning, Pensions & Financial Advice. He has written articles on Christianity, finance, business and investing for the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Post, The Call & Post, Purpose Magazine and Urban Trendsetters.
He is a member of the Society of Financial Services Professionals and National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He was the chairman of the Public Relations Committee for the Columbus Society of Financial Services Professionals and serves on the diversity committee of the Columbus Area Red Cross. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His websites are [http://www.adrian4yourmoney.com] and [http://www.advancedplanningfinancialadvice.com].
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