Protests after woman dies during childbirth: Family says the hospital let her die ‘because she was black’

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BROOKLYN, NY — “Black Births Matter.” “Justice In Birth.” “Black Birth Does Not = Death!”

These were the words on just a few of the signs that were being held by protesters outside Brooklyn’s Woodhull Hospital where Sha-Asia Washington was admitted to deliver her daughter. Somewhere in the process, doctors deemed it necessary for Washington to undergo an emergency C-section. She received an epidural and went into surgery. 

Washington gave birth to a healthy baby girl, who is named Khloe. 

Sadly, something went wrong on the table and Sha-Asia did not survive the surgery. Doctors said that her heart stopped and they were unable to revive her. 

Now, her family wants answers as to what happened, and members of the community have taken to the streets to protest her death, claiming race had everything to do with her passing.

Washington’s best friend, Jazmin Lopez, said:

“She’s 26 years old. How does your heart stop at 26? She was healthy. There was nothing wrong with her [during] her whole pregnancy.”

The baby’s grandfather, Jose Lopez, said:

“We just want justice. Justice for Khloe and justice for Sha-Asia, so she can leave a legacy for her baby. They don’t have to practice on nobody. We’re not guinea pigs. Either you know how to do it, or you don’t know how to do it.”

A spokesperson for Woodhull released a statement Thursday, saying the hospital is “committed to the maternal health and welfare of our patients” and further noted:

“We are saddened by this death, and our condolences go out to the family of the deceased. The City’s public health system recognizes the disproportionate increased burden that black and brown patients face during childbirth. We are devoted to understanding the causes and are committed to addressing this unacceptable disparity.”

Protesters who were gathered at the hospital said that health care is part of the systemic problem that discriminates against black women during childbirth. 

“We need anti-racist medical models of care. That’s it. We need a systemic overhaul,” Chanel Porchia-Albert said.

KOLD 13 reported:

“Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with one study suggesting that in New York City, the situation is 12 times as bad.”

Let us state unequivocally, the death of Ms. Washington is extremely sad. The fact that a baby will start and go through her life without one of her parents is an absolute tragedy.

However, if her death is due to racism, how did her daughter survive? 

If evidence comes out that says health-care professionals who treated Washington were willfully negligent in how they cared for her because of her skin color, then those professionals should be condemned and held accountable. We will echo the cries for justice for the family. 

But, unless that evidence emerges, we need to call her death what it is — a sad and unfortunate loss. Death is something that is appointed to every man and woman. It will come for all of us eventually. 

However, we cannot simply label every unexplained death of a person of color as racist.  

Last week, we shared with you an editorial from an Army veteran detailing the “pyramid of white supremacy.”

Should we now add natural causes to that pyramid?  

This editorial is written by a disabled Army veteran and staff writer for LET.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, AL — I spent 8 years, 2 months and 24 days in the U.S. Army. I loved every minute of it, even the hard parts. Deployments, time apart from family, being at war, 9/11.

I loved it for all the right reasons. Serving my country, belonging to a brotherhood, standing in the gap for Americans who couldn’t fight.

We worked. We trained. We bled. We fought. We struggled. But we did all that together, as a unit. We did not care what the ethnic background of the person next to us was. We were a team. And that is how it should be in the military.

I left the Army in 2004, due to injuries sustained in the line of duty. I served with pride. I love the Army, but when I look at the Army of today, I am not quite sure what I am looking at.

Shortly after the 4th of July, which Colin Kaepernick referred to as a celebration of “white supremacy,” an employee of the U.S. Army sent out an email, inviting both service members and Department of the Army civilian employees to attend “Operation Inclusion” seminars at Redstone Arsenal on July 8 and 9. 

The email, which claimed the “U.S. Army Equity & Inclusion Agency” and “Assistant Secretary of the Army — Manpower and Reserve Affairs” as authors, did not go under the radar. It caught the attention of many, including the Congressman from the 5th District of Alabama, which is where Redstone Arsenal is located.

Representative Mo Brooks wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, and he copied everybody, including President Donald J. Trump; Mark T. Esper, Secretary of Defense; Henry Kerner, Special Counsel; Dr. Juanita Christensen, Executive Director, Army CCDC AvMC, Redstone Arsenal; Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff; and William Barr, U.S. Attorney General.

His letter was long, yet specific, detailing what was wrong with the email, and how it violated the Hatch Act. That act prohibits people from using official government email accounts to post political activity, which this email clearly did. 

His letter includes the images that were included in the email. 

The two most interesting included these: 

Protests after woman dies during childbirth: Family says the hospital let her die 'because she was black'
Screenshot from Rep. Brooks Press Release

 

Protests after woman dies during childbirth: Family says the hospital let her die 'because she was black'
Screenshot from Rep. Brooks Press Release

It is really hard to see what is listed on the pyramid. 

So, we found one of the original sources.  

View this post on Instagram

White supremacy is a system of structural and societal racism which privileges white people over everyone else, regardless of the presence or absence of racial hatred. White racial advantages occur at both a collective and an individual level. We just updated this chart, which presents *some* of the ways people practice and reinforce white supremacy that they may not be aware of, or even think of as “white supremacy”. If you are unsure of what any of these terms mean, please feel free to look them up. There is an abundance of scholarship and research on each of these things. Image Source: Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (2005). Adapted: Ellen Tuzzolo (2016); Mary Julia Cooksey Cordero (@jewelspewels) (2019); The Conscious Kid (2020). #AntiRacism #AntiRacist #TeachersOfInstagram #WhitePrivilege

A post shared by The Conscious Kid (@theconsciouskid) on

We will let you read the lists and draw your own conclusions. 

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

Here is the gist of it. If you see color, it is racist. If you don’t see color, it is racist. If you ask people of color to share their experiences and teach you about their perspective, it is racist. If you stay silent and don’t ask…racist. 

If you don’t mandate complete equality…white supremacy. If you say that we are all one big human family…same. 

At the end of the day, the Army is regurgitating a narrative that all leads to one conclusion: no matter what white people do, they are supremacists. 

Oh, we almost missed one. 

“Make America Great Again.” Uttering those words, or displaying them on a hat or shirt, or posting it on social media is a sure sign that you are a white supremacist. 

Hey Army, what about this guy? Is he a white supremacist? 

The invitation made its way to Instagram. The post conveniently left out the pyramid of “white supremacy.”

View this post on Instagram

#Repost  @usarmy_equity_inclusion . ??? ???????? ??? ?? ????????? ??? ???????. . The Secretary of the Army established “????????? ?????????“ a holistic effort to listen to Soldiers, Civilians, and Family Members to promote #diversity #equity and #inclusion across the U.S. Army. . ????? ???? ??? ??????? ⬅️ . Military Equal Opportunity Profesional, Equal Employment Opportunity Professionals and Army Senior Leaders will host ???? ????? ??????? listening sessions on Army installations across the globe. #YourVoiceMatters . ????? ????????: ?????????? ??????? ?-? ????, ???? . Interested and available Soldiers and DA Civilians in the Huntsville, Alabama, Redstone Arsenal, and USACE areas are welcome to participate in listening sessions taking place 8 and 9 July. . ???? ????? ???????? ??? ?????? ?????????? ?? ??????. . ???????? ?????????:⤵️ ??? ????? ?? ?? ??? ????. . Redstone Arsenal: Fort Bragg, NC: Fort Hood, TX: Fort Sam Houston, TX Fort Benning, GA HQ Army Futures Command, TX Joint Base Lewis- McChord, WA . ?????? ????? ??? ?????? @usarmy_equity_inclusion to stay connected to the conversation. . ??? ????????: . #ArmyDiversity #OperationInclusion #ArmyIs #YourVoiceMatters #USArmy #GoArmy #adapt2win #TrainedandReady #usarmyreserve

A post shared by Mustafa AYDIN (@mustafaydin101) on

The letter that Brooks wrote and shared in the press release demanded answers: 

“Dear Secretary McCarthy:

“It has come to my attention that earlier this week, as part of Operation Inclusion, an official invitation to an Army Listening Session with a Headquarters, Department of the Army (HDQA) Inclusion Advisory Team was sent to Department of Defense uniform and civilian personnel and, perhaps, even Department of Defense contractors in the private sector.

“Appallingly, the invitation included an overtly political Army document, which included a chart stating that the phrase ‘Make America Great Again’ or ‘Celebrating Columbus Day’ or ‘Calling the Police on Black People’ or using the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ or ‘Denying White Privilege’ (among many, many other things) constitutes ‘white supremacy’ and, therefore, racism!

“The federal Office of Special Counsel has issued guidance declaring use of the phrase ‘Make America Great Again’ as political activity [1]. Conversely, attacking the phrase ‘Make America Great Again’ is similarly political activity barred by the Hatch Act.  

“Distribution of materials with the phrase, on federal property or using government material, is a violation of the Hatch Act (P.L. 76-252), which applies to all DoD civilian employees, Reservists, and members of the National Guard [2]. Additionally, as guidance from the Office of Special Counsel makes clear, distributing items with the term ‘Make America Great Again’ [3], whether in support of or opposition to President Trump’s reelection campaign ‘would constitute political activity if tied to candidates or political parties’ [4].

“As you may also be aware, DoD Directive 1344.10, on Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces, specifically states in section 4.1.2, that ‘a member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not… use official authority or influence to interfere with an election, affect the course or outcome of an election, solicit votes for a particular candidate or issue, or require or solicit political contributions from others’ [5].

“The U.S. Army’s use of a graphic that claims ‘Make America Great Again’ (among many other things) constitutes ‘white supremacy’ and, thus, racism, in a clearly marked Army product distributed to U.S. Army uniform and civilian personnel working on or for Redstone Arsenal (a major U.S. military base) using an official email account is in violation of the law, federal regulations, and DoD Directives.

“Therefore, I respectfully request the following information:

 1.  Who within the Department of the Army is responsible for the creation of the flyer/brochure and email?

“2.  Who within the Department of the Army approved the flyer/brochure and email?

 “3.  Pursuant to the creation, approval, and distribution of the flyer/brochure and email, was there a violation of either the Hatch Act or DoD Directive 1344.10?

“4.  If a violation of the Hatch Act or DoD Directive 1344.10 is found to have occurred (a violation seems pretty obvious), will those responsible be held accountable for their actions?

“5. If it is found that a violation occurred, how will those federal employees be held accountable for their illegal conduct?

“Listening sessions, as means to check the pulse of the workforce and to foster communication among managers and employees, can be appropriate. Including overtly political materials in the invitation for such an event is completely inappropriate and, in this instance and in my view, illegal.

“Further, the inclusion of such materials serves only to ostracize segments of the workforce and create racial division, rather than minimize it. What occurred is absolutely unacceptable, and I expect Army leadership to fully investigate whether this incident violated the Hatch Act or any Department of Defense regulation and to appropriately hold those responsible accountable to the fullest extent possible.

“There are better ways to accomplish this mission of Operation Inclusion without demonizing and asserting that those who support President Trump are ‘White Supremacists’ and, therefore, racists.  By including such outlandish propaganda in Army documents, the Army will only continue to sow divisions among their workforce.”

The letter was signed, “Sincerely, Mo Brooks, Member of Congress.”

While the Congressman remained professional in his writing, I think he missed two vital questions that beg to be asked:

  1. Is this what the Army is spending its resources on rather than training to fight and win wars?  
  2. What in the flaming hell is the Army doing endorsing such blatant propaganda and force-feeding it to their troops?

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