Expo highlights black health issues

The 2003 Health Expo, sponsored by The Tallahassee Chapter of The Links, Inc. Frenchtown Governor’s Revitalization Council, The Florida Department of Health and Bethel A.M.E. Church, made “Power of Choice” the theme.

The Health Expo’s theme, “Power of Choice, coincided with Akbar’s speech “You Make The Choice” which urged the African American community to understand self-love to gain self-discipline in their lives and health.

Akbar, an internationally renowned psychologist, author and professor at Florida State University, noted the struggle that African Americans had to go through just to have the right to make a choice in their lives.

“Now,” Akbar noted, “we are dying from our failure to choose to live.”

One of the challenges that Akbar said the African American community faces is learning how to love themselves in a society that has taught them self-hatred.

“We must commit ourselves to self-love, loving yourself as a human.”

Akbar contends that when the African American community grasps self-love it will transform into the self-knowledge of the legacy that came before them.

“We must start to understand the divinity of our makeup, which gives us the will to select and make decisions,” Akbar said. “We must take advantage of the legacy we have received.”

Akbar also said that understanding the gift of life will help to strengthen the health of the African American community.

“We must do all we can do to preserve the lives we have and understand there is nothing more precious than to live–we must live for those yet unborn.”

Ultimately, Akbar said the African American community must gain self-discipline when it comes to making wise health decisions.

“We have the resources, we have the medication we just don’t use it,” Akbar said.

“You don’t have to eat every time you see the golden arches–you have a choice to make,” Akbar added.

The 2003 Health Expo featured workshops on men, women and youth health and offered clinical services: blood pressure and glucose screening, breast exam demonstrations, sickle cell testing, acupuncture, foot screening and an “Ask the Doctor” booth.

Miaisha Mitchell, project director for Diabetes and You said she hopes that the Health Expo will make people understand their role in their health.

Akbar said he wants the African American community to understand that the majority of health problems are preventable.

Akbar said the Health Expo will give the community an “increased awareness of what they can choose to do to improve their own health.”

Ruth Fleming understood the message.

“The African American community needs to take charge of their minds and break down the barriers,” said Flemings, 22, a senior nutrition and dietics student at Florida State University. “We need to choose better health habits.”

Gabrielle Finley reached at gabrielle_finley@hotmail.com