|August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month, which focuses attention on the need for minority blood and organ donors. The focus of the awareness campaign is to increase participation in donor programs in order to save lives. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, communities of color have much higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, all of which increase the risk for kidney disease. Black Americans are almost four times more likely, and Latino Americans are 1.3 times more likely, to have kidney failure compared to White Americans. Despite the higher risk, data shows Black and Latino patients on dialysis are less likely to be placed on the transplant waitlist and have a lower likelihood of transplantation.
As of 2021, the organ with the most patients waiting for transplants in the U.S. was kidneys, followed by livers. Over 100 thousand patients were in need of a kidney at that time. Within the African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander-American communities, the need for transplants becomes even more dire. Minorities make up 57% of those on the organ waiting list. Due to chronic conditions, minority patients see an increased need for transplants affecting the heart, kidney, pancreas, and liver.
It is important to note that organ donation is not based on race or ethnicity. Anyone can donate because all organs can save a life. And while the race of blood donors and blood recipients typically do not matter as long as their blood types are compatible, individuals who are Black (including African American or other individuals of African descent) can have unique needs.
Sickle Cell Blood Needs
Call To Action
Living donation does not change life expectancy and does not appear to increase the risk of kidney failure. In general, most people with a single normal kidney have few or no problems. Help us spread the word about the importance of minority blood and organ donation.
If you’re a donor or a recipient, share your success story to encourage others to become donors.
L.A. Metro’s Transportation Project To Add 5.5 mile Bike Trail
|Earlier this week city and county leaders gathered for the groundbreaking of L.A. Metro’s Rail to Rail Active Transportation Project, which will transform an unused freight rail corridor into a 5.5-mile bicycle and pedestrian path that connects cyclists and walkers to Metro’s A (Blue) Line Slauson Station, the Silver Line rapid bus station at the 110 Freeway and Slauson Avenue, and the future Fairview Heights station on the K (Crenshaw/LAX) Line. This project will create car-free mobility options, connecting Inglewood and the communities of Hyde Park, Chesterfield Square, Harvard Park, Vermont-Slauson, South Park and Central-Alameda in South Los Angeles.
Rail to Rail comes at an important time. As South Los Angeles recovers from the impacts of the pandemic, the importance of building equitable access to public transit and the essential role of mobility in the lives of people of color has been magnified. Metro officials said that the latest data from the 2020 Census notes that this segment of South Los Angeles has some of the county’s highest percentages of people who rely on transit, biking and walking to commute, with 19% of households in the area unable to access a car.
Lack of infrastructure investments in South Los Angeles has been a barrier for countless low-income workers to accessing jobs, training and other services such as childcare. “Decades of work are made real as we invest and transform these old rail tracks into a corridor that the Slauson community can be proud of,” said Metro Board Member and LA County Board Supervisor, representing South Los Angeles, Holly Mitchell. “We are focused on strategies to ensure these investments help lift our most vulnerable communities and preserve the fabric of communities who live here today.”
The $143 million project received funding from multiple sources, including a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, state Transportation Development Act funds, funds from L.A. Metro’s 2008 Measure R sales tax and a California State Active Transportation Program grant. Amenities and benefits of the project will include landscaping, lighting, security cameras, street furniture and signage.
Requests for concealed-weapon permits skyrocket
LOS ANGELES — The number of people applying for concealed-weapon permits in Los Angeles County has begun to rise following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision easing restrictions on them, the sheriff said June 29, adding that the county could potentially see as many as 50,000 such permits ultimately issued.
Such a number would be a staggering increase over past years, when the county — following state regulations — required applicants to show good cause to obtain such a permit, and the number issued was traditionally a few dozen each year.
Last month, however, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a longstanding New York requirement, similar to California’s, requiring people to show a “special need” to carry a concealed weapon, beyond a simple desire for self-defense.
Gun-rights advocates have hailed the ruling as removing an undue restriction on gun ownership. Opponents said the ruling will lead to more guns on the streets, endangering the public.
Speaking in an online briefing June 29, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Los Angeles County has long adhered to the “good cause” standard when considering concealed weapon permit applications. He acknowledged that some counties have been more liberal about distributing them, operating under the premise that they “shall issue” the permits as long as applicants meet the basic requirements.
“Well, now we are retooling our operation to a ‘shall issue’ standard, so bear with us as we go through it,” Villanueva said. “We’re already seeing an increase in applications being submitted. And we had already moved in that direction since I took office.”
The number of concealed weapon permits issued has been on the rise under Villaneuva’s administration. He said June 28 the agency has already issued easing restrictions on them
“So our output is increasing,” he said. “I think when it’s all said and done, if we’re comparing our numbers to the surrounding counties, they might have anywhere from 8,000-10,000 ‘shall-issue’ permits in a county of maybe 1 million or 2 million (residents). So we’re probably looking at something in the neighborhood of 50,000 … permits in the county for a population of 10 million.”
He stressed that basic requirements are still in place to obtain a permit, including a training requirement and background check.
“You can’t be subject of a restraining order, mental illness or obviously a convicted felon, those type of things that disqualify you,” the sheriff said.
He said the sheriff’s department will be reaching out to neighboring law enforcement agencies to help expedite the processing of such permit applications, possibly through a sharing of personnel to work on reviewing the applicants — “to see how we can work out the logistics of this to facilitate the process for everyone involved.
Newsom Signs $308 Billion Budget, Californians to Get ‘Inflation Relief’ Checks
California Governor Gavin Newsom (Courtesy photo)
Around 23 million California residents will receive “inflation relief” checks of up to $1,050 soon. The aid is included in the new budget deal reached by state lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday, June 26.
“California’s budget addresses the state’s most pressing needs, and prioritizes getting dollars back into the pockets of millions of Californians who are grappling with global inflation and rising prices of everything from gas to groceries,” said Newsom in a statement.
The checks are designed as tax refunds and will come from the state’s robust $97 billion budget surplus. The total state budget for the next fiscal year (2022-2023) is $308 billion.
The relief payments are based on income, tax-filing status and household size – similar to the stimulus checks sent to Americans by the federal government during the pandemic.
Single taxpayers who earn less than $75,000 a year and couples who file jointly and make less than $150,000 a year will receive $350 per taxpayer. Those with dependents will receive an additional $350 per child. For example, a couple that earns under $125,000 and has two children qualify for $350 per adult plus $350 for each additional child, up to a total check of $1,050.
Higher-income Californians will receive smaller payments. Single taxpayers who make between $75,000 and $125,000 a year and couples who earn between $150,000 and $250,000 will receive $250, plus the same payment for each dependent, up to a maximum of $750 per family.
Single people who earn between $125,000 and $250,000 and couples who earn between $250,000 and $500,000 annually would receive $200 each, plus the same amount for their dependents. The maximum payment couples in that salary range will receive is $600 per family. Couples who earn above $500,000 and single taxpayers who earn above $250,000 aren’t eligible for the payments.
Checks will be sent via direct deposit or debit cards by late October.
“In the face of growing economic uncertainty, this budget invests in California’s values while further filling the state’s budget reserves and building in triggers for future state spending to ensure budget stability for years to come,” Newsom said. “In addition, California is doubling down in our response to the climate crisis – securing additional power-generating capacity for the summer, accelerating our clean energy future, expanding our ability to prepare for and respond to severe wildfires, extreme heat, and the continuing drought conditions that lie ahead.”
Other hot button issues addressed in the finalized budget include a $47 billion multi-year infrastructure and transportation package, $200 million in additional funding for reproductive health care services, and funding for education, universal preschool, children’s mental health and free school meals.
Not everyone was excited about the final negotiated version of the budget. Republicans complained about the limited time they were given to review the package for input.
“Where is the information?” Sen. Jim Nielson (R-Yuba City) asked during the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee’s brief hearing on Monday. “What are you afraid of?”
Gov. Newsom signed the budget into law on June 30.
You can view the complete California budget here.