904WARD Releases Third of Eight Retrospectives of Racial Equity Data

904WARD Releases Third of Eight Retrospectives of Racial Equity Data

Race and zip codes should not be the biggest determinant of how long a person will live.  If we radically and intentionally address the factors that contribute to disparities in health outcomes, we can move into a time where they no longer exist.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — 904WARD, a community organization advancing racial equity in Jacksonville since 2015, today released the third in an eight-part series of reports looking back at decades of disparities and failed efforts to address them.

“Health care disparities, though improved, are still significant in a city that has the worst health standing of cities in the state in a state ranks in the bottom half of state health rankings,” says Dr. Kimberly Allen, CEO of 904WARD. “While we have seen improvements over the past 20 years, we still have diseases that are more prevalent in Black communities and have a more severe impact in them.  Race and zip codes should not be the biggest determinant of how long a person will live.”

Some key takeaways from the report are:

  1. The 2020 life expectancy for White people was 78 years and 72 for Black people.  This gap has increased by 46% from 2019 to the first half of 2020.
  2. While Black women are just as likely to die from cancer as White women, Black women receive fewer cancer diagnoses.  Black men are twice as likely to be diagnosed with and die from cancer than White men.
  3. Black people are almost three times more likely to be hospitalized for and die from asthma than White people.  This is significant when Duval County has the worst air quality of major counties in the state, and many low-income, mostly-Black neighborhoods have housing that contains lead and other toxins as well as are located near contaminated areas and highways.
  4. According to 2018 data, Jacksonville has the 45th highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the nation and the second highest rate in the state of Florida.  Black residents have disproportionately higher rates for all bacterial STDs and HIV.
  5. Infant mortality is still significantly high in Duval County, with Black infants being almost three times more likely to die before their first birthday than White infants. Premature births/low birth weight is the leading cause of infant mortality, and Black infants are over two times more likely to suffer from these conditions than White or Hispanic/Latinx infants.

904WARD, with a mission to create racial healing and equity through deep conversations and learning, trusting relationships, and collective action, will issue bi-weekly reports throughout the spring and summer. This continuing series will cover trends, victories, challenges and recommendations in five remaining domains:

  • Housing
  • Justice and the legal system
  • Employment
  • Media
  • Politics and civic engagement

The health report reflects decades of health outcomes by race as well as recommendations that have been made to improve these outcomes and reduce health disparities.   In examining the data, many recommendations have not been fully implemented, and Black residents are still bearing the brunt of health inadequacies.  Dr. Allen adds, “Quality health care and health outcomes is a foundational element in building an equitable community where all people can thrive. 904WARD will work with its diverse and expanding base of volunteers and community partners to prioritize and address community concerns, determine ways to fully implement historical and current recommendations, and improve the health and quality of life for all residents in Duval County.”

The retrospective of reports, dating back to the 1940’s, was commissioned by The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida in 2020.  It builds on earlier work done as part of Project Breakthrough: Changing the Story of Race in Jacksonville—an effort led by The Community Foundation, OneJax, the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission and the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community beginning in 2006.

904WARD began in 2015 with a small, diverse group of friends who came together to talk openly, challenge and support each other, and take action together to build a more inclusive Jacksonville. Since then, the movement has grown to a network of thousands of volunteers who are committed to creating a community of inclusion for all. Programming includes:

  • The Jacksonville Community Remembrance Project, which aims to truthfully acknowledge and remember the city and the country’s history of racial terror lynching.
  • The Race Cards, a tool for thousands of people to take part in productive, authentic discussions about race through a deck of conversation-starting cards prompting participants to share personal experiences and visualize their own role in racial equity.
  • A wide range of events bringing together hundreds of people — virtually and in person — to discuss issues of racial justice and search for solutions.
  • Advocacy for policies and priorities that will make Jacksonville a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community.

The data and all subsequent reports can be found at 904WARD.org.

Editor’s Note: Report available at https://yourpointtaken.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Race-in-Retrospect_Pt3-Health-Final.pdf.

About 904WARD
904WARD creates racial healing and equity through deep conversations and learning, trusting relationships, and collective action. Our vision is an end to racism in Jacksonville so all people thrive. To learn more and sign up to get involved, visit 904WARD.org.

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