This past spring was the first time I attended a meeting for an organization that is mobilizing youth to stand up for their rights and be heard. The organizations name is FLY (fearless leading by the youth). Fly is now in the middle of a Trauma Center Campaign that continues to grow on the South Side of Chicago. The lack of a trauma center on the south side is a symbol of how many communities of color are continually ignored and pushed into the margins. It is a tangible and measurable representation of how poor communities are deliberately silenced or at least unconsciously forgotten. As the trauma center campaign continues, I believe it is an opportunity to discuss the larger issues of healthcare in black communities.

When entering into the conversation of healthcare in marginalized communities one must take into consideration the idea of “intersectionality,” a term first used by Kimberle Crenshaw. Leslie McCall in her article on “The Complexity of Intersectionality” defines intersectionality as “the relationships among multiple dimensions and modalities of social relationships and subject formations.” This theory seeks to understand how various levels are marginalization impact communities simultaneously.

In the article titled Approaching the Health and Wellbeing of boys and men of color through Traumainformed Practice, the authors argue, men in the black and Latino community are disproportionately impacted by “ill health and social inequality.” The articles focus is on trauma informed practice and treatment and how communities cannot address the trauma that men of color face without addressing the various other health and social disparities that occur in their communities. To discuss these various issues one must first contextualize the communities that people of color live in and exactly how the idea of intersectionality occurs within the issue of healthcare.

The disparities experienced in communities of color have implications of inequality in educational opportunity and resource difference in communities with different racial demographics. The disparities also have implications of socio-economic status, which impacts the availability of healthcare in communities. There is no doubt that inequality exists within healthcare, however, as we begin to understand this inequality, society must participate in a shifting of paradigms. That is to say a change in practice and thinking is required. Principals of psychological development and how trauma impacts development and health need to be taken into account, which in turn should impact how healthcare providers treat health. This discourse is indeed an important one to have, but it cannot be fully understood unless we look at a macro level picture of health and health disparities in black and Latino communities.

These macro level disparities have an impact on everyday activities of community members. There are many examples of this, including what it means to have a healthy life style. The structure of a community can impact the health of the members in that community. This dynamic brings up issues of safety, availability and resources. The issue of safety in communities can relates to how often one will exercise or feel comfortable enough to jog in ones own neighborhood. The issue of availability can relate to the formation of food deserts in black and Latino communities and what is or is not accessible as far as healthy and fresh foods. Finally the issue of resources can relate to the lack of healthcare facilities in marginalized communities.

The lack of facilities that exists in general brings us full circle to understand why Fly’s campaign for a trauma center could not have come at a better time. If you’re in the area, they are having a Forum on November 10th, visit the event Facebook page for more info.