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The 1500 tenants of the Mandela Apartments are of greater numbers if not equal than many other towns which possess a townhall to help organize and distribute services. Without a townhall, a center of unity, a place for Government, Mandela is only a collection of buildings and not a community. The opening of the Mandela Townhall today is the final crucial step in the formation of the Mandela Cooperative and the eventual ownership of Mandela by those who live there.
* Mandela Townhall means Government by the people.
* Mandela Townhall means Government of the people.
* Mandela Townhall means Improvement through the tenant cooperative.
* Mandela Townhall means a place for Unity and Empowerment.
* Mandela Townhall means a community for our children.
* Mandela Townhall means community services.
* Mandela Townhall means No Drugs today. A better life for tomorrow.
* Mandela Townhall means Demanding more jobs for youths and Demanding better educational opportunities.
* Mandela Townhall says. "This is where the whitelining stops!"
The Mandela Townhall will serve as a liaison between the Mandela Community and Boston City Hall. The Mandela Community will be heard! Your needs will be met. If you would like to volunteer your time or have any suggestions or questions please call Alphonse Mourad at the Mandela office: 445-0650.
Neighbors unite behind Roxbury's little city hall
by BEVERLY FORD
A plan to bring city government to the people it serves got a boost yesterday with the unveiling "little city hall" at Roxbury's Mandela housing complex.
"I'm hoping this will bring unity to the tenants" said complex owner Alphonsc Mourad, who organized the plan (or B and M Management, v, operates the low-income development on Washington Street.
Mourad said he hopes to see "Mandela Hall" act as a liaison between tenant volunteers and the city to provide residents with improved services and social programs.
The concept, explained Mourad, Is to get tenants involved in running the complex through volunteer day care, youth activity, drug awareness and other social programs while at the same time providing the city with ways to address the needs of its black residents.
"These people need programs, they need things for their youth," said the organizer. "It's time for tenants to unite right now behind a town hall.
Mourad said tenant involvement in "MANDELA City Hall" could create political leverage to fight the problems plaguing the black community.
"We've got to control our own lives, our own destiny," noted Mourad, who helped residents celebrate the facility's opening with a cookout. We want to bring respect to the black community
Mourad said he hopes "Mandela City Hall becomes a prototype for other housing projects.
"This will be the true test," said Mourad. if the city recognizes it, this will flourish. If not, it will separate the community."
Tenants praised the plan yesterday, saying it is needed to establish tenant unity.
"This will unite the tenants and give their grievances a higher priority," said tenant Amos Wolohab. "We need something like this In order to be heard by city hall."
MANDELA TOWN HALL
1855 Washington Street
"DIALOGUE WITH THE CHAIRMAN"
On Saturday afternoon from l:30p.m. to 3:00p.m., October 26,1991, Ronald H. Brown, Chairman, Democratic National Committee, will visit the Mandela Town Hall Health Spot at 1855 Washington Street, Lower Roxbury, Massachusetts as guest speaker, where he will be honored at a luncheon fundraiser to help support the Health Spot's numerous vital health services, provided free of charge to the community. He has been Chairman of the Democratic National Committee since February, 1989, and will speak at the luncheon on health issues, and other aspects of national policy.
Mr. Brown is impressed by this unique model for accessing the health care system. The Health Spot is a freestanding facility- not housed in a hospital or community health center- located in the storefront of the Mandela Housing Complex. It is completely staffed by a cadre of volunteer nurses, doctors, dentists, and other health professionals. Mr. Brown will recognize the outstanding commitment of the founding Director, Dr. Peggy Brown and the numerous community and health professional volunteers.
Dr. Peggy Brown's idea for the Mandela Town Hall Health Spot was a response to the overwhelming mortality rates in the African-American and Latino inner-city community, and the lack of free preventive medicine. State and Federal social service funds have been severely slashed, coupled with unemployment and the lack of health care insurance for many members of the community; therefore, preventive medidne is essentially non-existent. The Mandela Health Spot was designed to provide free screenings for what are known as, "the silent killers"- high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. In addition, the Health Spot is also concerned with the future of the youth in the community, and ran an eight week summer youth program for 75 young people. This will extend into the fall with an after school program preparing the young people to achieve their dreams.
This community event provides an important occasion to bring excellent musicians together-Leonard Brown's "Joyful Noise"- to perform a live tribute to the internationally renown genius of the late trumpeter. Miles Davis. Ron Brown's visit with members of the community-at-large is an exciting opportunity for the people to assemble in an intimate setting, share their views, and hold a dialogue around current issues of interest and concern.
Health check-ups in Mandela complex
"You can't be healthy if you don't have access to health. What we're doing is targeting the community for these specific silent killers diabetes and high blood pressure."
Dr. Peggy Brown
Nurse Paulette Hayes-Offley prepares U製 Mikle for a blood test at the Health Spot while clinic founder Peggy Brown
(standing) watches volunteer Lisa Scales check Ramon Borges for his blood pressure. (Don West photo)
In a 1990 book, a University of Maryland cardiologist warned that hypertension is at near-epidemic proportions among blacks, putting the African-American population at high risk of suffering from heart and kidney diseases.
Meanwhile, according to a 1989 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, dia-betes is 33 percent higher in the black population than it is in the white prpjiation.
Facin'i hese grim statistics year after yea'. Peggy Brown decided to
do something about them.
With the help of community agencies and volunteers, Brown opened Health Spot in the town hall of the Mandela housing complex in Roxbury.
The center, which offers free blood pressure and diabetes checks, operates every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"\bu can't be healthy if you don't have access to health. What we're doing is targeting the community for these specific silent killers -- dia-
tes and high blood pressure." said
Brown, a South Bronx native who teaches education at Northeastern University.
The center is staffed by volunteer health professionals, including phy-sicians, nurses and nurses assis-tants, Northeastern students and community residents, and sees an average of 40 people each Saturday.
"What we're trying to do is raise the awareness level of people in the community," said Brown, adding that many area residents, most poor and black, don't monitor their health as they should.
"When you're really consumed with trying to survive and protecting
yourself and your family, you don't" worry about your health, said Brown, citing the example of a woman who lives in the Mandela complex.
Unaware that she had diabetes, she suffered an accidental cut on one of her feet. The cut became in-fected, and gangrene eventually set in.
As a result. Brown said the wom-an's toes had to be cut off, leaving her unable to walk.
Because diabetes inhibits blood circulation, individuals suffering
from the disease run a high risk of infections from cuts.
Had the woman been aware of her condition, she might have been more careful.
That's a tremendous burden and (an) unnecessary tragedy. It could have been prevented," said Brown.
Stressing the importance of pre-ventive medicine is exactly what Health Spot hopes to accomplish, said Brown.
"It's a combined effort of trying to bring these people together. We have to get to these people," said Abraham Bossman, an area resi-dent who does door-to-door out-reach for the agency.
"We've seen several hundreds of people who otherwise would not have been seen," said Brown, ad-ding that because the clinic is free-standing , meaning it is not affiliat-
ed with any particular organization, it is able to provide services free of charge.
Brown said the space for Health Spot is provided rent-free by V and M Management. \folunteers have also donated tables, chairs and equipment, she said.
"For me, this is a very sound, basic, unique model as an alterna-tive to accessing the health care system," said Brown.
Brown added that aside from providing .free blood pressure and diabetes checks, Health Spot, in conjuction with the American Can-cer Society, is now providing free mammograms for women.
Government figures show that in 1987 the rate for African-American. women who died of breast cancer was 26.5 per 100,000 deaths, while white women died of the same dis-
ease at a rate of 22.8 per 100,000 deaths.
Barring education, housing and employment, "for us in the commu-nity, our most precious gift is health," said Brown.
However, because she feels health and education go hand in hand, Brown has incorporated free tutor-ing services at Health Spot.
The tutoring-services are provid-ed to all interested students by Da-ron Griffith, an engineering senior at Northeastern, and Erik Green-idge, a graduate of the school.
Although some skeptics have-doubted Health Spot's length of stay in Lower Roxbury, Brown said she is committed to the community and plans to stay for the long haul.
"We're going to be here as long as we need to be." she said.