BY YVETTE WILLIAMS
The Clark County Black Caucus was thrilled to welcome progressive Rep. Barbara Lee to Las Vegas on Aug. 12 — introducing the progressive congresswoman from California to our community as she gears up for a very tight 2024 U.S. Senate race.
Lee enjoys strong grassroots enthusiasm and support among young voters, which has enabled her to poll neck-and-neck with better-funded opponents — in a campaign that has thus far epitomized the well-documented fundraising struggles that Black women candidates experience when compared to their white peers.
There are currently no Black women in the Senate — and if California voters choose Lee, she would be only the third African-American woman ever elected to the upper legislative chamber. “Black women have only served a total of 10 years in the over 240 years of Congress, and with so many of us Nevadans with ties in California, we believe it is important to support a proven leader that will continue to represent our interest on Capitol Hill,” said Clark County Black Caucus chair Yvette Williams.
The morning began with a private breakfast hosted at Mariposa Cantina. The host committee included Williams, Go Urban Las Vegas, Devin Moore, Raw Development, Pastor Dr. Kelcey West, Marco Rauda, Ash Merchandani, Gentry Richardson and both Assemblywoman Brittney Miller and Assemblyman Reuben D’Silva, who shared remarks with the crowd.
That afternoon, the community was invited to a meet-and-greet hosted at Nehemiah Ministries and co-hosted with the Delta Sigma Theta Las Vegas Chapter, 100 Black Men Las Vegas, and the Clark County Black Caucus. North Las Vegas Mayor Pamela Goynes-Brown provided a warm welcome on behalf of Clark County. Congresswoman Lee shared her record in Congress and the many bills she has sponsored and cosponsored on social justice issues. History remembers her as the only dissenting vote in Congress who stood firm against entering a war in Iraq. She continues to lead on issues of mental health, environment, racial and social justice, and has a deep concern for those struggling in our economy. She is a former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and founding Chair of the Progressive Caucus.
For more information about the Clark County Black Caucus, visit CCBlackCaucus.com.
CenterWell Senior Primary Care supports every dimension of senior health — physical, emotional, and social wellness. The mission: making sure seniors live a healthier, happier life. Centerwell patients are cared for by experienced, compassionate doctors and supported by a team of professionals focused on you at 14 locations across the Silver State.
Centerwell team member Ifeany Madu is a nurse practitioner dedicated to motivating his patients to embrace better health practices. He sat down with us for a candid conversation on how to maintain strength in the body and mind.
What brought you to CenterWell?
I am originally from Nigeria and came to Las Vegas in 2019 to work as a nurse practitioner. In my capacity I manage chronic diseases such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and more. I also specialize in pain management and perform needed injections to patients in need. I also like to educate my patients on preventive methods to maintain good health.
Why do you think so many chronic diseases affect African Americans?
I don’t know for sure, but when a patient comes in to see me at Centerwell suffering from hypertension, I usually notice that most of these patients are African-American. I do believe that traditional cultural diets contribute to high blood pressure problems and overall health issues. Many medications don’t always work to reduce high blood pressure and are only really water pills. It is important for patients to get prescribed medication that really works best to reduce blood pressure. And we at Centerwell pay attention to patients’ response to prescribed medications to make sure that they work best to reduce the effects of illnesses.
What kind of preventive health measures do you ask your patients to do?
It is important to reduce one’s salt intake, and to try to reduce or eliminate fried foods from their diets. I understand that cultural foods taste delicious with a lot of flavor and one should know that salts are already in certain foods so there is no need to add it when you have a meal. I think our community really needs more education on healthy eating habits and to know what bad things need to be taken away.
What do you think is the state of our senior population’s health in Southern Nevada?
We are seeing a lot of seniors at CenterWell, and many of the patients we see are proactive about wanting to take care of their health. More and more people are trying to get their health back. We at CenterWell play an active role with our patients in educating them on good health practices. Many respect the care we give and really try to do what we suggest. They are really trying their best to get the suggested exams and cancer screenings to make sure their health is better. It is an objective at CenterWell to be there when a patient needs us. Flu season is coming up and many will need to be seen in a timely manner. CenterWell makes sure if there is an urgent health concern, you can come … to one of our facilities and be seen and cared for.
Touro University Nevada — the state’s largest medical school and its only school of osteopathic medicine — recently hosted a press conference to share its role in groundbreaking global medical research.
Aurelio Lorico, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology at Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine, is the lead author of a study published on Aug. 10 in Nature Communications — a journal that publishes high-quality research representing important advances of significance from all areas of the natural sciences. Researchers from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York, the Biotechnology Center of Dresden University of Technology in Germany, and researchers from Italy contributed to the study.
The study has identified a new pathway that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) creates and uses to enter the nucleus of a healthy cell, where it can then replicate and go on to invade other cells. The researchers also identified three proteins that are needed for the virus to carry out the invasion, and have, in turn, synthesized molecules (potential drugs) that can target one of the proteins, leading to new treatments for AIDS. As an entirely new pathway, the discovery may apply to many types of diseases, in particular cancer metastasis.
This is an exciting time of change and transformation for libraries — and the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is leading the way in telling this story with a new public education campaign.
“We are launching a unique campaign, titled ‘Free To Be,’ which is designed to share the library’s wonderful world of discovery — both in our buildings and digitally,” said Kelvin Watson, executive director of the Library District.
The campaign was designed in both English and Spanish. “For children and young people who currently use our ever-evolving spaces and digital services, the word ‘library’ already means something fundamentally different than it did just a generation ago,” Watson said. “Beyond books, which will always be part of our mission, libraries have become centers for technology, hands-on learning, after-school tutoring, job training, economic empowerment, arts and cultural performances, and community gathering spaces for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. This is the message we intend to send with our new campaign.”
Free To Be Concept
The Library District tagline, Free To Be, was inspired by hundreds of conversations with library staff conducted by the library’s branding and marketing department over a two-year period. The Free To Be concept was also sparked by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden; in a New York Times interview, she spoke about librarians as purveyors of free speech and quoted Frederick Douglass, who said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
The Free To Be campaign spotlights seven words, which highlight the kinds of experiences that benefit children, teens, and adults at the Library District’s 25 branches. The words that illuminate these Free To Be experiences are: Curious, Connected, Captivated, Inspired, Fearless, A Trailblazer, and Yourself. The Library District is also unveiling a new logo, which features an abstract image of a joyful person, symbolizing the people that the library serves and the dedicated staff who assist them.
“Libraries are first and foremost about people,” Watson said, “and we know that in order for our programs and services to support our residents’ hopes and dreams, we have to attract them into our branches and onto our website, TheLibraryDistrict.org. We have to communicate that the library is always here for them — open, free, and bursting with remarkable, life-changing experiences. This was the impetus for our Free To Be campaign, where each word combined with different images of diverse people discovering, learning, and enjoying.”
The Library District will also be installing bright, colorful interior and exterior Free To Be signage on its buildings, mirroring the campaign, with two additional goals in mind.
“Currently, our branches aren’t always clearly marked,” Watson said, “so people often drive past them not realizing there is a library in their neighborhood. The signage will highlight our locations and also visually tie together our 25 branches as part of one library system. We serve 8,000 square miles of Clark County — from Las Vegas to Laughlin and Mesquite to Goodsprings and Bunkerville. The public doesn’t always realize these libraries are all part of our District.”
Over the past several years, the Library District has been reimagining and repurposing its buildings, while forging innovative community partnerships that bring the library out into the communities it serves.
“We especially target underserved populations with our programs,” Watson explained, “such as enabling downloadable books, movies, and music on 400 RTC buses, and lending out cell phones to residents who are experiencing homelessness. In fact, both these initiatives received national awards from the American Library Association. The digital revolution has allowed us to completely reimagine how we deliver services to our communities.”
Educating the Public
“Each day, people are presented with a dizzying array of options to search for information, improve their family’s education, pursue a career path, and enjoy entertainment, arts, and culture,” Watson said. “We want people to think of the library as their primary resource for all of this and more. The role of the new Free To Be campaign is to capture the public’s imagination and prompt them to say, ‘I didn’t know the library had that!’”
The campaign is designed to educate the public on everything that the library offers. What are you searching for? Summer reading and activities for kids? Got it. Free after-school tutoring and hands-on technology training? Got it. Art, music, dance, and theater performances year-round? Got it. Résumé writing, adult education, English as a Second Language classes, plus programs on STEAM, DJing, robotics, and sound/video editing? Check, check, and triple check.
Another goal is to expand beyond the Library District’s current reach of 600,000 library cardholders, to attract new and existing residents who don’t realize how a library can improve their lives.
The campaign will conduct outreach through advertising, social media, community events, direct mail, and public relations. The Free To Be campaign was developed by the Library District’s in-house branding and marketing department. For more information on the Free To Be campaign, go to TheLibraryDistrict.org/FreeToBe
The award-winning Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is an independent taxing entity that serves a diverse community across 8,000 square miles. Through its 25 branches and website, the Library District offers a collection of 3.2 million items consisting of books, movies, music (including streaming and downloadable), online resources, as well as free programs for all ages. The Library District is a vibrant and vital member of the community offering limitless learning; business and career advancement; government and social services support; and best of all, a place where customers find a sense of culture and community. For more information, and to support Library District programs, please visit TheLibraryDistrict.org
BY DR. ELLEN BROWN
What matters most when it comes to your livelihood, your family, your community, your future? Next question: how much are those things affected — or even controlled — by political factors?
Lately, in talking with friends, family, and even random acquaintances, conversations have leaned toward attitudes of giving up when it comes to the state of the country. People are feeling more left out of important conversations that affect the present as well as the future of our lives.
While the people continue to be concerned about our everyday livelihood — as well as that of our children and other family members — the prevailing sentiment often rests on a lack of trust and inclusion in the future of those we care about. Scanning through various political news and stories, the focus does seem to be on the power brokers and their needs. If “they” are good, then all must be well for everyone else. Really?
Each one of you reading this article holds a legitimate place in the future that exists for everyone. If and how that place is used is a personal choice.
Many of my friends and family — too many — believe that there is no power and we cannot make much of a difference. These are average, go-to-work-every-day people who make up the majority of this country. I understand the thought pattern, but I don’t accept the conclusion. Even though I get a headache thinking about it, I believe this is still a country — unlike so many others — that must maintain a system of free speech and freedom to choose our representatives.
That being said, Forbes published a list of the 10 biggest policy and political questions at the beginning of 2023. Each one of these affects you and me — whether or not we know or agree with it. But there are now people in power who either accept or reject these policies and those with the power to change our lives:
Eventually, the most important issues are addressed. The question is: important to who/whom?
What’s left? Who are the greatest government power brokers? Remember the childhood song “Do-Re-Mi?” This question brings us back to the beginning; where we end up is where we start the next time around.
You will always have the power. The question is, How will you use it?
Dr. Ellen Brown is a retired university educator and dean. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Southwest Gas Foundation donated $5,000 to the Public Education Foundation (PEF) to support local teachers as the new school year kicks off. Nearly 180 pre-selected Clark County teachers, including teachers at Jesse D. Scott Elementary School — the company’s school partner — shopped for items to stock their classrooms at the PEF Teacher Superstore, a resource that allows educators to purchase classroom supplies at pennies on the dollar.
“We are honored to partner with Southwest Gas to provide more than $90,000 worth of school supplies for local classrooms and support our hard-working educators,” shared Rich Broome, CEO of the Public Education Foundation. “More than 58% of local students arrive on the first day of school without the necessary supplies, leaving it to our teachers to provide them. By supplying the tools our students and teachers need, we can show them our community believes in them and wants them to succeed.”
“Southwest Gas Foundation is proud to support our local teachers who are vital to our communities and educating our children and preparing them for success,” says Dr. Laura Nelson, vice president of sustainability and external affairs. “At Southwest Gas, we are committed to a positive and sustainable impact for our customers, employees, and the communities that we call home and where we raise our families. The teachers who serve in our communities are heroes who give selflessly, often pulling from their own pockets to provide supplies for students. We’re grateful that our local teachers have resources available like the Teacher Superstore so they have the tools necessary to educate our children.”
About The Public Education Foundation
The Public Education Foundation (PEF) unites the community to inspire support of our public schools. In partnership with the Clark County School District (CCSD), PEF helps guide effective investments in education to meet the immediate, critical needs of our students, families, and educators. For more information about PEF, please visit www.thepef.org.
BY DARRYL L. FORTSON, M.D.
Most people see the practice of medicine as a largely scientific affair — the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the human body when things are in health and equilibrium; and the derangement of that harmony when disease. contagion, inflammation, and trauma are present. That is, they think of the physics of the human.
But in fact, science is where — and the mechanism of how — these interactions take place. In this framework, every interaction with a patient is a metaphysical event. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains that just as “physics deals with the laws that govern the physical world (such as those of gravity or the properties of waves), metaphysics describes what is beyond physics — the nature and origin of reality itself, the immortal soul, and the existence of a supreme being.”
What this means for me is that a doctor-patient interaction is not only a medical appointment, but a divine appointment. When a patient comes to a doctor for medical care, it is the Almighty Himself saying, “Doctor, I am sending this person in need of repair, restoration, healing, knowledge, or hope (or some combination of them all) to you. I am entrusting and challenging you to move this person from a path of pain, destruction, or ignorance into the light of freedom, longevity, and understanding.”
This is both an awesome honor and profound responsibility. When considered in this light, care for both the president and the prole, the statured and the scoundrel, the hegemon and the homeless all become of tremendous importance, as do their concerns and their resolution. Engaging a patient with this in mind humbles the doctor and focuses him or her on his individual accountability to God and the accountability of the institution he represents.
Las Vegas is notorious for cruel and dismissive treatment of patients by those charged to care for them. It isn’t that the doctors and other providers are incompetent; rather, the problem here is a culture that sees the doctor-patient interaction as primarily transactional, when in fact, it is (or at least, should be) ministerial. This is not about preaching to patients or proselytizing them or ramming any particular religious dogma down their throats, but it is about understanding what the expectations of the divine are whenever a patient is engaged.
Our patients are our neighbors, and the Good Book instructs us “to love our neighbors as ourselves.” Just as we exhaust every opportunity to relieve our own pain and those of our loved ones, so too is the doctor to do the same for his patient, to the limit of his ability, sound reason, long-term benefit, and the law.
Almighty God is assigning the doctor to move the patient toward health and well-being, and to cancel the assignment of pain, unwellness, or distress upon him or her. This, for the doctor, is all day — every day. When the doctor understands this, he or she will know what to do for the patient. And when the patient understands this, they will know what to demand and expect from that same doctor.
Darryl L. Fortson is a practicing Las Vegas physician and the Executive Director of AASRT, Inc. (www.theaasrt.org), a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to ending the racial net worth gap through a reparations paradigm.
BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES, OB/GYN
September is Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Awareness Month.
Many people within the Black community have this incurable disease, which is described as a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone with SCD, the hemoglobin is abnormal — causing the red blood cells to become hard and sticky and appear like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle.”
The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious complications (health problems) such as infection, acute chest syndrome, and stroke.
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the most common monogenic blood disorders worldwide, with an incidence of over 300,000 newborns affected each year. Reproductive challenges for men and women with SCD have been studied, and evidence-based strategies to prevent infertility and increase fecundity are lacking in women with SCD — which is one of the most important factors for quality of life.
Women who have sickle cell disease have a higher risk of certain pregnancy complications — including miscarriage, preterm delivery and having a low-birth-weight baby. High blood pressure and preeclampsia—a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by sudden onset of high blood pressure — also are more common in women with sickle cell disease.
As far as childbirth is concerned, women with SCD are slightly more likely than other mothers to have a C-section. That’s mostly due to the increased rate of pregnancy complications in women with sickle cell disease.
For more information, call Las Vegas All Women’s Care at (702) 522-9640.
BY CLAYTEE D. WHITE
Fifty-five years ago, in 1968, UNLV broke away from UNR by winning its autonomy — and was given equal status to the institution that had birthed it. During the 1977-78 academic year, UNLV surpassed UNR with a total enrollment of 5,500 students.
And now, after 11 presidents, UNLV is a Research One university with over 30,000 students, more than 3,900 staff members, 331 buildings, and six campuses throughout the valley. It is, above all, a minority-serving university because of the large numbers of Latinx and Asian students. Native American and Blacks are also part of this majority population — but Blacks make up only 12.5% with only 2,636 students.
Let’s begin to recruit like mad/expeditiously/lickety-split and turn UNLV into our local HBCU.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been around for 200 years and are mostly located in the South and Northeast — but there are locations in Texas and Oklahoma as well. The first HBCU, Cheyney University in Pennsylvania, was established in 1837, well before the Civil War ended in 1865. There are 107 HBCUs with the purpose of educating Blacks who were not welcomed by white colleges before and after the end of the institution of slavery. Essentially, these institutions were in response to slavery and segregation, but are still needed today because of the reality of systemic racism.
Black history, culture, and mentorship are unmatched at HBCUs. Can we match these at UNLV? UNLV has excellent Black history, culture, literature, dance, and music classes — with increasing numbers of Blacks in robotics, nursing, medicine, law, education, engineering, and the sciences.
I talk to Black students whenever I see them, because I want them to be comfortable and to invite their friends and family members to join them. And let’s extend this invitation to people in surrounding states. Let’s create a renaissance of
Black culture, books, spirituality, salons (a cultural gathering place where philosophers, musicians, poets, and others of like mind come together to share ideas about science, history, politics, literature, and art) in Las Vegas with UNLV as the hub.
By evolving UNLV, we can adopt the goal of HBCUs that offer a safe, supportive learning environment to Blacks — by expanding our diversity initiative to actively include Blacks in all minority-serving literature. Another HBCU goal is to improve the college education opportunities for Black people in America. Let’s make UNLV more HBCUish. The time is right.
As I consider a vacation to Charleston, S.C., to visit the new International African American Museum, I have decided not to drive alone to Montgomery, Alabama’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice. I’m flying into Charleston for a few days and then flying to Montgomery. I feel as if my choices have been curtailed by the intense, renewed narrow-mindedness of those areas surrounding HBCUs.
Come west, young men and women — and let’s try a renewed concept of Black education.
If we build it, they will come.