Rachel Levine Spotlights the Nexus of Black History Month, Health Equity, and Climate Change:

By Tommy Wilson | Sunday, 18 February 2024 01:00 AM
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Rachel Levine, the Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services, recently highlighted the intersection of Black History Month, health equity, and climate change.

Levine, who is also the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate, addressed these issues against a backdrop of vibrant colors, symbolizing the unity of these diverse topics.

Levine began, "This Black History Month, I'm pleased to partner with OMH in advancing better health through better understanding for black communities." She emphasized the disproportionate impact of climate change on the physical and mental health of black communities, a demographic that is more likely to reside in areas susceptible to climate-related health issues.

"Climate change is having a disproportionate effect on the physical and mental health of black communities," Levine stated. "Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to live in areas, in housing, that increase their susceptibility to climate-related health issues." She further noted that "65 percent of black Americans report feeling anxious about climate change's impact."

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The Democratic Party, which counts many black Americans among its members, has long expressed concerns over climate change. This has led to some activists choosing not to have children due to fears of rising sea levels and other climate-related threats. High-profile climate activists like John Kerry and Al Gore have often warned of imminent climate catastrophes.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden, during his 2020 presidential campaign, identified four major crises threatening America: the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, economic instability, and climate change. While the pandemic has since receded, the other three issues remain pressing concerns.

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Levine concluded her address by outlining the efforts of the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity and the Office of Environmental Justice. "Through our Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, and the Office of Environmental Justice, we're working with providers and community leaders to identify innovative approaches that empower communities to address the health consequences linked to climate change," she said. This statement underscores the administration's commitment to tackling the intersection of climate change, health equity, and racial justice.

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