By now most everyone around here is aware of the controversy swirling around the death of Stephon Clark and the disproportionate rate of murder of black youths. In particular, the African American community has come forward to bring attention to how they, and especially young African Americans, are unfairly treated in everyday society. To them, it seems to be an inequitable, "new normal" concern -- and not only as regarding law enforcement. There are a host of Environmental Justice factors that burden children of color, even here in Arden Arcade. Parts of our local community have even been identified by the State of California as being in the top 25% of areas beset with disproportionate social, health, economic and environmental degradation. That's not a good thing.
The Mutual Assistance Network is a local nonprofit organization that runs the Arden Arcade Community Center on Marconi Avenue near Fulton, seeking to identify and solve some of these problems. It turns out that Arden Arcade has been recognized under the Black Child Legacy Campaign as one of seven problem areas within the Sacramento Region. The Campaign has noted that here in Sacramento County, African American children die at twice the rate of any other ethnicity. The leading causes appear to be perinatal conditions, infant sleep, child abuse and neglect and third-party homicides.
The Network has thus posted some eye-opening statistics about environmental injustice factors that make life extremely challenging for African American families here in Arden Arcade. Some snippets include:
- Unemployment and poverty (1.9 and 2.7 times that of all other ethnicities)
- Pre-term and low-birthweight births (1.5 and 2.1 times that of all other ethnicities)
- Youth detention (48% of all Arden Arcade youth detained, 9.2 times that of all other ethnicities)
Support for the Black Child Legacy Campaign (and its strategic plan) comes from the County of Sacramento, the City of Sacramento and First 5 Sacramento. Yes, that's the same Sacramento County that belittled public input that cited these factors when the low-income Anton Apartments were being considered. So it remains to be seen whether the County is truly concerned about the situation and it is unclear whether progress can be made and sustained. Still, it is certainly helpful when the community comes to realize the extent and severity of the problem. People who care about our community should take a look at the data and consider getting in touch with the Mutual Assistance Network.