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City of Houston Blames Race Not Job for Black Firefighter's Death, Denies Family Her Death Benefits

Houston, we have a problem. This family has suffered enough.

For 21 years, Margaret Roberts served her city as a firefighter. She put her life on the line almost daily and wanted to retire after fulfilling her duties.


Roberts was well-respected among family members and neighbors. According to loved ones, she was a "joy to be around." But she would never see retirement.

Her diagnosis of multiple myeloma, an aggressive cancer usually affiliated with firefighters and Sept. 11th victims, in 2013 forced her to leave and go to on disability. She later died from the disease in January 2017.

An investigative report by ABC 13 discovered that the city of Houston had failed to give her mourning family her death benefits. Apparently, the city did not believe her cancer was work-related; even after Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Pena wrote two letters to the Texas state pension system and The 100 Club so that her grieving family could get the benefits she deserved, the city still denied the claim. Pena stated in both letters that Roberts developed myeloma as a direct result of her time on the squad and he wrote, "Declared a Line of Duty Death."

Officials claimed Roberts' illness and subsequent death was because of her race, weight and family history.

"The city saw the opportunity to re-dispute the claim starting all over again," said Mike Sprain, the Roberts family attorney.

The Conversation (4)
Dawn20 Jul, 2018
Wait a minute. Race played no part in the deaths, no murders, of many unarmed Blacks by police; But race is the reason that this firefighter died? Whoa... Ironic.
John Hoade20 Jul, 2018
They know that too much time in the sun without sunscreen causes skin cancer. Fire Fighters spend a lot of time in the sun. The city needs to do the right thing!

Black Women Have Higher Rates of Life-Threatening Birth Complications

New study shows women of color have a 70 percent higher rate of major birth problems, even when they suffer the same health ailments as white women.

REUTERS

The University of Michigan released a study that shows women of color have higher rates of major birth problems. Many required emergency treatment such as blood transfusions — a staggering three-quarters of cases —for women suffering a serious hemorrhage.

The study of 40,873 women between 2012-2015 revealed Black women had 70 percent higher rate of severe birth-related health issues than white women, and that a disparity existed in terms of needing life-saving treatment—50.5 Black mothers vs. 40.9 white mothers per 10,000.

Black women are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts, according to the C.D.C.

"Celebrities like Serena Williams who have shared their birth-related emergency stories publicly have drawn the national spotlight to the urgent need to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care for women around the time of delivery. To drive and target those changes, we need specific data like these," said Lindsay Admon, M.D., M.Sc., the study's lead author.

Williams, who has a history of blood clots, began feeling short of breath in the hospital the day after her daughter Alexis Olympia was born. A nurse said her pain medication was likely confusing her, but Williams was persistent and it saved her life.

"Situations like these are often considered near misses, and looking at them allows us to get a better picture of who the high-risk women really are," said Admon, an obstetrician at Michigan Medicine's Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital, and a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

Maternal Morbidity: Study reveals disparities by race and ethnicity.

All women who had chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, depression or substance use issues before giving birth had a higher risk for the continuation of those problems post-child birth, but women of color with two or more conditions were two to three times more likely to have major birth problems than white women.

White women had higher rates of depression and substance use issues than any other group, but the risk for birth problems was lower than women of color with the same health issues.

While Medicaid pays for almost two-thirds of all births among women of color, access to care is another issue that affects births and post birth health. Medicaid pays for more than a third of births of white and Asian women.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Blacks and Latinos were more likely than whites to face barriers in access to health care.

Between 2013 and 2015, disparities with whites narrowed for Blacks and Latinos in states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, including the percentage of uninsured working-age adults, the percentage who skipped care because of costs, and the percentage who lacked a regular care provider.

Medicaid pays for most procedures for women of color.

Dunkin' Donuts Employee in Maine Refused to Serve a Somali Model, Then Called the Cops

"This is America 2018 right here. Racism and discrimination," Hamdia Ahmed said.

A Maine Dunkin' Donuts employee refused to serve model Hamdia Ahmed, and her family, for speaking Somali and then called the police on them.

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Greendale High Student Suspended After Being Called the N-Word at School

Black students at the school say it's a daily occurrence and nothing is done by the administration.

Screenshot of Chanese Knox

Greendale High School junior, Chanese Knox, was suspended last month after arguing with another student who called her the n-word.

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VIDEO: Georgia Police Chief Defends Officer Accused of Manhandling the 12-year-old He Arrested

According to Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register, "All he was doing was holding the young man by the arm."

A Cobb County police officer has been criticized for manhandling a 12-year old boy before his arrest at a Georgia mall earlier this month.

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Black Man Suffering from Mental Health Illness Dies After Police Use Taser and Tackle Him in the Street

His sister, who said she left the U.S. to protect her Black son, never thought her brother would be the victim.

TWITTER/ @opalayo

Chinedu Valentine Okobi, 36, a Black man, father, Morehouse College graduate, uncle and brother died of cardiac arrest after San Mateo County police tackled and repeatedly used a Taser on him in Millibrae, south of San Francisco, Calif.

Okobi was struggling with mental illness and had been weaving in and out of traffic downtown on the busy street, El Camino Real.

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N.J. Governor Orders Probe Into Hiring Process of Top Official Accused of Sexual Assault

"On April 8th, 2017, Al Alvarez raped me. On April 9th, 2017, I learned that the system is broken," Katie Brennan said in a statement.

N.J. Governor Phil Murphy / REUTERS

A scandal touches Trenton, as the former chief of staff of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, Albert J. Alvarez, steps down from his $140,000-a-year job after being accused of sexual assault.

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VIDEO: Patient Attacked at St. Louis Hospital by Security Guard

"220 pounds of white daytime TV muscle on top of her."

Vanity Allen went to the hospital for stomach pains and ended up being brutally assaulted by a hospital security guard in July.

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Mistaken Vote Gets Black Woman Sent to Federal Prison

"I attempted to vote in November 2016 under the impression I had a voice, unaware that my voice had been taken away from me to cast a vote," Crystal Mason said.

YOUTUBE

As stories of voter suppression attempts, such as in Georgia and North Dakota, continue to surface, in Fort Worth, Texas, Crystal Mason is currently serving 10 months in federal prison for voting. There's also a possibility she could serve an additional five years for voter fraud.

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