Frances “Toni” Draper, AFRO CEO and Publisher

By Frances Murphy (Toni) Draper,
AFRO Publisher

As we reflect on Black wealth during financial literacy month, I’m often reminded that wealth means different things to different people.  To some it’s inconsequential.  To others, it’s fleeting. And still others express a desire to be wealthy but are uncertain of how and where to start.  Unfortunately, the quest for material wealth often takes precedence over everything, including our physical health. I contend, as so many others have, that if we are not first physically healthy, we will not be able to enjoy and appreciate other things including our families and the material wealth we may accumulate. It has often been said that, “money can buy medicine, but not health.”   

It’s no secret that health disparities and inequities are prevalent in African-American communities. According to the American Diabetes Association, the prevalence of diabetes in non-Hispanic Blacks is 11.7 percent, versus only 7.5 percent in non-Hispanic whites. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes that African Americans are almost four times as likely as Whites to develop kidney failure. While African Americans make up about 13 percent of the population, they account for 35 percent of the people with kidney failure in the United States. And, according to the American Heart Association, about 55percent of Black adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension or HBP. 

In addition, the Center for American Progress notes:

  • Eighty percent of African-American women are overweight or obese compared to 64.8 percent of non-Hispanic white women.
  • In 2017, 12.6 percent of African-American children had asthma compared to 7.7 percent of non-Hispanic white children. 
  • African Americans have the highest mortality rate for all cancers combined, compared with any other racial and ethnic group.
  • There are 11 infant deaths per 1,000 live births among Black Americans. This is almost twice the national average of 5.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • 11.4 per 100,000 African-American men and 2.8 per 100,000 African-American women die by suicide.
Frances “Toni” Draper, AFRO CEO and Publisher

The statistics are alarming, but the real question revolves around the impact that the racial wealth gap has on the health of African Americans.  A 2018 study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation concluded that “greater levels of wealth also predict better health outcomes.” Here are some of their other key findings:

  • Parents’ wealth shapes their children’s educational, economic and social opportunities, which in turn shape their children’s health throughout life.
  • Although the United States is one of the world’s most affluent nations, it is also the most economically unequal.
  • A long history of discrimination and structural racism explains the wealth gap among people in America. 
  • Building wealth where opportunities have been historically limited is essential for advancing health equity.

In this ‘We’re Still Here’ edition, we address several ways to build wealth including trust and estate planning, ‘mompreneurs’, cryptocurrency and NFT’s. We also feature articles on accessing the billion-dollar cannabis industry, dollar-cost averaging, and even the recent wedding of Johnson Products’ founder, George Johnson and arts  activist, Madeline Murphy Rabb. 

Special thanks to our editorial, advertising, and production teams for their hard work; our sponsors and advertisers; and our loyal print and digital readers. The magic continues to happen with each special edition as we continue to tell our story. Thanks so much for joining us on this journey toward 130 years. 

“As long as there is poverty in the world, I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy even if I just got a good checkup at Mayo Clinic. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent.”  The Rev. Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr.

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