What is Sickle Cell Disorder?

Sickle Cell disease is the name for the group of genetic blood disorders. Our red blood cells contain a protein called haemoglobin which carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body, as well as transporting CO2 and hydrogen ions back to the lungs.

Sickle cell is inherited from both parents who carry the trait, and comes in many forms:

  • Haemoglobin SS
  • Haemoglobin SC
  • Haemoglobin SB (beta) thalassemia
  • Haemoglobin SD
  • Haemoglobin SB+ Beta Thalassaemia
  • Haemoglobin Beta-Zero Thalassaemia

Sickle Cell is pre-dominantly found in African and Caribbean people. Other people affected are Asian, Arab and Mediterranean. The most common form is Sickle Cell Anaemia. People with this have Sickle haemoglobin (HbS). This means that the red blood cells are devoid of oxygen and are unable to move around like normal blood cells (Hba), which are donut shaped.

Because the cells are unable to move, they stick together and end up blocking blood vessels which causes tissue and organ damage, as well as severe bouts of pain. Such episodes of pain are known as a ‘Sickle Cell Crisis’ or a ‘Vaso-Occlusive Crisis.’

A crisis can be triggered by:

  • A sudden change in temperature
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Infection

A crisis can last anywhere from a few minutes to a number of days or months.

So what causes Sickle Cell Anaemia?

A mutation in the gene that instructs the body to produce haemoglobin.

What are the health problems Sickle Cell Anaemia can lead to?

  • Iron over-load
  • Jaundice
  • Swollen joints
  • Migraines
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Strokes
  • Permeant damage resulting in the removal of the spleen
  • Reduced bone density
  • Ulcers
  • Blindness
  • Priapism (painful swollen and lumpy penis which can cause erectile dysfunction)
  • Aneurysms
  • Pneumonia
  • Organ failure
  • Weakened immune system
  • Gallstones
  • Death

How is it inherited?

You will have sickle cell when you inherit the ‘defective’ gene from both parents. If you only inherit the gene from one parent then you have the sickle cell trait. It is likely that your blood will contain some sickle cells, but you will still be able to produce normal haemoglobin, and you won’t usually experience any symptoms.

 

However, inheriting the trait means you are a carrier. This means that you could pass the gene on to your children – but not the sickle cell diseases, unless your partner also has the trait. This is why it is important we test our blood to see if we have the trait or not.

Sickle Cell Anaemia is a very serious genetic condition, which is why it is essential that we understand, empathise and advocate for our people who are living in their thousands in the UK, with this disease. And let’s not forget our Melenated brothers and sisters in parts of Africa and also in America too. Sickle Cell is real and it needs to be acknowledged individually and globally.

 

We are now media correspondents and advocates for the Sickle Cell Cause support group based at St Ann’s Hospital, George Marsh centre, in Tottenham, London. We will also be taking part in the Community Mile for Sickle Cell charity walk on Sunday July 23, 2017.

 

To get involved and to find out more about sickle cell, please click here.

If you would like to sponsor us, please contact us on: dangerousafricankweens@gmail.com

The Jus’ Caribbean Festival 2017 is an official sponsor for the Sickle Cell Cause support group. The event will take place Saturday 19 – Sunday 20. Come and enjoy authentic tastes of the Caribbean, and support our own, food-wise and health-wise!

 

Eunice and Ogechi

67 reasons (and counting), why there should be a White History Month

Originally found on Instagram, we thought this was definitely worth sharing, because this is the white history everyone should know.  These are histories that have undeniably sought to destroy black people, yet we are told to ‘get over slavery’, when our ancestors were still subjected after this, to endless violent population control, spiritually, genetically, psychologically, economically and emotionally speaking.

Instead the UK education system only seeks to pay attention to the Tudors, Suffragettes, WW1 & WW2, Hitler, Holocaust etc.,. Well, pay attention to the 67 truths of white history, the white world doesn’t want you to know.

  1. Cherokee Trail of Tears
  2. Japanese American Internment
  3. Phillipine-American war
  4. Jim Crow
  5. The Genocide of Native Americans
  6. The Trans-atlantic slave trade
  7. The Middle Passage
  8. The history of white American racism
  9. Black Codes
  10. Slave patrols
  11. Klu Klax Klan
  12. The war on drugs
  13. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
  14. How white racism grew out of slavery and genocide
  15. How white people still benefit from slavery and genocide
  16. White anti-racism
  17. The southern strategy
  18. The rape of enslaved black women
  19. Madison Grant
  20. the Indian wars
  21. human zoos
  22. how the Jews became white
  23. white flight
  24. Red lining
  25. Proposition 14
  26. Homestead act
  27. Tulsa Riots
  28. Rosewood massacre
  29. Tuskegee experiment
  30. Lynching
  31. Hollywood stereotypes
  32. Indian appropriation acts
  33. Immigration act 1924
  34. Sundown towns
  35. Chineese exclusion act
  36. Emmet Till
  37. Vincent Chin
  38. Islamaphobia
  39. Indian boarding schools
  40. King Phillip’s war
  41. Bacon’s Rebellion
  42. American slavery compared to Arab, Roman and Latin American slavery
  43. History of the gun
  44. History of the police
  45. history of prisons
  46. history of white suburbia
  47. Lincoln’s racism and anti-racism
  48. George Wallace Governor of Alabama
  49. Cointelpro
  50. Real estate steering
  51. School tracking
  52. Mass incarceration of Black men
  53. Boston school riots
  54. Man-made Ebola and AIDs
  55. Church bombs and fires in deep south to Blacks
  56. Church shootings
  57. How the Irish and Italians became white
  58. The perpetuation of the idea of the ‘model minority’
  59. Housing discrimination
  60. Systemeatic placement of highways and building projects to create ghettoes
  61. Medical experimentation on poor, especially Blacks including surgical and genealogical experimentation
  62. History of planned parenthood
  63. Forced Sterilization
  64. Cutting children out of pregnant Black mothers as part of lynching
  65. Eurocentric beauty standard falsification
  66. Erasure and eradication of all achievements of Ancient Africa and Kemet
  67. White washing of history and cultural practices

Girls, Guns and Gangs

Girls, guns and gangs, the three things that make young men wanna gangbang.

It seems to me that in his-story that the main mystery is the ‘thuggery’ that messes with the psyche-ology of these young prodigies.

Some ain’t surprised, call it the circle of life.  This ideology with the misogyny and the female physiology has always been used and abused. That’s just a third of this ideology.

Guns – these weapons of destruction are more than just a defence tool, some people are just fools to these things, fun as if just a calm thing to layin’ under the sun – this ain’t no pun I’m actually done! I’m sick and tired of these clowns who happen to be mostly brown with their ugly frowns causing terror on our streets. You can’t even sleep peacefully in between your sheets. Call them menace to society, this matter cannot be taken lightly, the state of this calamity is affecting humanity.

The last piece to puzzle is Gangs. Like the family that consists of the matriarch and Patriarch and solidarity between brother and sister, gangs are the last resort for all these misters. No father in the home, mummy on drugs, sisters with thugs, men ain’t growing to be men, no love from the home so they turn to what grown men know best – the streets, the ‘good life’ call it thug life. Brother love and a father like leadership got these young men in chains. Chains of bondage, no looking back your married to game, no hiding the shame, young brother can’t read so he goes all manic and crazy using that Uzi on these black ‘bourgeois’. His healing is that good Herb, you know the ‘dro, it kills the pain real slow, baby mama on the side lines – he also got a new hoe.

 

Men wake up! This is an epidemic too many young kids end up in prison, this is a mission. I hope you can see with your vision that we can all make an accurate decision to raise our men right and who’s not to say that may be viewed in a different light….

– Ogechi ©  –

Fifteen

This post is about a serious issue that a friend of mine has made a short film about, to raise awareness and bring courage to those who may be in the same situation.

“I wanted to do something different. Things like this happen all the time, but you don’t hear about it. Why? Because it’s seen as a taboo so the victims do not normally come forward to tell someone. Like the girl in this film, if a person does not feel the courage to speak out, it will only continue to happen…

I want to continue making films like this. I want to make a difference in the film making industry. It is a risk. People might react to it in a negative way. ‘Oh Alexia, you’re not allowed to show that’, but I think it needs to be shown. It has been kept in the dark for too long and it needs to come to light.”

Alexia

 

Absent Fathers in the Black Community

IMG-20150723-WA0000On Saturday 25th July, I went to a seminar designed for black people to talk about the problems we face today, and the solutions we can put into effect, to change the narrative. On this occasion, the topic was on absent fathers in the black community.

I found out about this event through my partner, Ackeem who happened to know one of the speakers organising the event. The seminar took place at the Chinese Community Centre in Hackney, East London. The venue was full of black fathers and mothers, children, family members and friends. It was so good to see so many black men with their sons and daughters.  We are so used to seeing black women with the children but we don’t see enough of black fatherhood in our own community, let alone the TV.  At this seminar, everyone came together to ask ourselves – why?

To begin with, a guest speaker from Canada gave a speech on why we need to understand how the black family unit is broken and needs healing. I remember a fact he shared with us which was shocking. He said that in America, there are 1 million black men in  prison. These 1 million men could be fathers. That’s a possible 1 million children without their daddy.

After the speech, the seminar moved on to a workshop session. Everyone was placed at a table where we had intensive and enlightening discussions about the issue.  Sean, who was the leader of the table me and Ackeem were seated at, began by saying,

“Raise your hand, if you did not grow up with your father”

Sean had already expressed that his father was absent and Ackeem didn’t grow up with his either so I knew his hand would be up, but I did not expect the response that was to follow. I, out of 8 people (myself included), was the only one with my hand down. I was shocked. I was already aware of the issue but to be sat on this table seeing 7 hands up really struck a chord.

Sean asked us – why? Why is it that all but one of you grew up without a father? And what is the absent father in the black community? Well, let’s begin with the ‘what’, because this needs to be understood before we grasp the ‘why’.

A sister pointed out, that the absent black father is a generational cycle. She is completely right. She, and two other sisters revealed  that like themselves, their mothers also didn’t have their fathers around. That is when I really began to see the cyclical impact of  the problem. If a daughter grows up without her father, how will she know what it means to be loved? Who is there to show her how a man is supposed to treat and respect a woman? Respect goes both ways, so how will she understand that yes, a man should respect a woman but a woman needs to give him something to respect. How will she see that being a ‘bad bitch’ is not the way to do this?

Children are always watching and copying their parents. People say boys need their dads and girls need their mums. In some aspects this is true but I think it works both ways. Boys need to learn how to respect a woman and learning this has to come from both parents.  If a mother is not with the father of her child, how will she show her son that being a ‘bad boy’ and treating women as sexual objects is not the way forward? How will the son SEE this when his dad is not there to show  him? I’m not saying that all black boys and girls growing up without fathers will become adults who end up on the wrong path. Ackeem didn’t have his dad around but he has become a conscious, knowledgeable, respectable and inspiring man. But, the sad reality is, that too many black boys go down the wrong path because their fathers were not there to guide them, as there is only so much a single mother can do.

We all agreed that the main reason why so many black children grow up with absent fathers is due to the economic castration  of the black man.  How? Because the white supremacist system seeks to weaken the black man, meaning that he will have the most difficulty  compared to other races, to climb the economic ladder, and to secure his finances for himself and his family. The black man can even find it harder than the black woman to secure a good job.

Too many black people choose to reject their cultural heritage. Instead, some of us choose to assimilate to European lifestyles or ideals. Some choose not to seek their history. They’d rather watch TV than read a book.  When you reject your culture and history you are rejecting the building blocks for the stability of your self-esteem and ultimately, your family. How can you teach your sons and daughters to be conscious men and women when you’ve chosen to forget your cultural customs and traditions, which carry so much wisdom – a wisdom which is meant to be passed on from generation to generation. This is the cycle that we should be initiating, not the cycle of the ‘dead-beat daddy’.

So what can we do to break the cycle?

Communication is key. Black men and black women, we need to talk to each other, listen to each other,  understand each other and learn from each other – then the healing process can begin.

Education. We need to teach ourselves and each other what the system won’t,  regarding our true histories, our spirituality and our own cultures – who we are as a people, where we come from and why we carry so much pain. The passing on of knowledge from generation to generation has to be revived. In Africa, old people are not kept in nursing homes like in Europe. They stay home and TEACH their grandkids the way of life. We need to spend more time with  our elders and bathe in their wisdom.

Read books like one breathes air. Read to achieve. Learn your history. Share it. An absence of knowledge is a lack of living.  Feed your mind and the rest will follow.

Practicing home/group economics is a must. Black women spend ridiculous amounts of money on weave, relaxers, perms and skin bleaching products. All for what? To try ‘something different’ or to emulate European beauty standards? Stop throwing your money to the Asian man who owns hair shops for BLACK PEOPLE. Black men and women, stop throwing your money away to the white man who wants you to buy that Gucci purse or wallet. Stop and think. Think about what we could achieve if we invested in ourselves.

My dad bought a large piece of land in Ghana, for what was the equivalent to around £1000, to build a shop in honour of his late mother, and to build a petrol station to aid a new road. I am also planning on buying some land to build a healthcare centre for the disabled and mentally ill. Buying land in Africa and building on it is so easy I’m amazed more of us aren’t doing it. This is the investment we should be participating in.  Not only are you giving back to your people but you will be accepted by them. Whether you are black American or black British or whatever, you will be part of the community. This is a  great way for black fathers to make productive money for themselves, their family and their people. Make some noise with coins and see what happens. Build and protect your own. Change your narrative.

Remember, there is always a father figure in the family. Uncles, brothers or granddads – they too can do the duty that can lead towards breaking the cycle and healing the black family unit.

– Eunice – ©