239692 Young Lords and the Struggle for Racial Justice and Public Health in New York

Monday, October 31, 2011: 11:15 AM

Johanna Fernandez, PhD , Department of History, Baruch College (City University of New York), Bronx, NY
While social scientists understand the movements built by people of color in the 60s within the framework of civil and political rights, narrowly defined, deeper study reveals the range of social problems with which these movements were concerned. Focusing on the activism of the Young Lords in NY, the Puerto Rican counterpart to the Black Panthers, this talk explores 1) how the nation's postwar racial economy created a crisis in public health for urban dwellers and 2) the forces that propelled the Young Lords (and by extension the Black Panthers) to orient so much of its work around issues of Public Health. For ex, in 1973, the American Journal of Public Health credited Young Lord activism for the passage of NY's anti-lead poisoning legislation, and in 1970, the Young Lords' 12-hour occupation of Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx dramatized the healthcare crisis in poor black and Latino communities; challenged the advent of privatization policies in the public sector, and led to the creation of one of the principle acupuncture drug treatment centers in the western world. This talk will ANALYZE 1) the postwar demographic, social and economic forces that made health such an important feature of activism in northern cities in the 60s 2) the coalitions that radical Puerto Rican and African American activists built alongside healthcare staff in the run-up to the takeover of Lincoln Hospital 3) the relevance of this history, and the relationship between racial justice and the struggle for public health in the Sixties and today.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
This talk will ANALYZE 1) the postwar demographic, social and economic forces that made health such an important feature of activism in northern cities in the 60s 2) the coalitions that radical Puerto Rican and African American activists built alongside healthcare staff in the run-up to the Young Lordsí takeover of Lincoln Hospital 3) the relevance of this history, and the relationship between racial justice and the struggle for public health in the Sixties and today.

Keywords: Urban Health, Public Health Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I study and write about the relationship between the transformation of postwar, US urban economies and the radical social movements of the 60s
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.