In Pickens County, Alabama more than 30 babies die with every 1000 born, the national rate is 5.9.
Pickens County’s African American population is 41.6 per cent, Alabama states is 28 per cent.
Statewide the infant mortality rate rose to 9.1 deaths per 1000 in 2016, the highest it’s been since 2008. The rate is twice as high for black babies than white.
In a New York Times interview Grace Thomas, an officer with the Department of Public Health, said the rates were a “key indicator of a health care system’s effectiveness”, and that African-American, Hispanic and poor women were less likely to get the care they need.
Alabama’s minimum wage is $7.25, 17 per cent of its people live in poverty.
The hospital in Haleyville, where the first 911 call was made, is being closed down leaving communities underserved and people out of work.
Roy Moore, the Republican candidate running for senate in today’s election, wants to remove public funding for healthcare altogether.
Moore also wants to remove public funding for education in a state where standardized test scores are amongst the nation’s lowest and schools are being consolidated. Where kindergarteners have to ride the bus with high schoolers.
The poor quality of public education is, of course, only heightening the divide between rich and poor. Black and white.
Alabama needs investment in education, healthcare, infrastructure and prisons.
But the crux is, in the historically red state when the last dem voted in was 1992, tax cuts are favored to invite big industry.
Big, foreign industry is largely what keeps the state running and it creates jobs, and it comes because it can get away with low wages and low tax rates.
And that’s what Roy Moore represents. Fucking the poor over to make the rich richer.
Tax cuts, no public funding of anything except the military, more drilling and mining, the border must be closed and the LGBTQ community must be repressed. No one should get abortions and you know what, it doesn’t matter that he’s an alleged pedophile because apparently none of those girls can be trusted. He said it himself – “no one will believe you you’re a girl and I’m a powerful, rich white man” (allegedly and using other wording, but that’s it).
But Alabama gives the middle finger to the rest of the country.
It’s state motto is “We Dare Defend Our Rights”. If that’s not a terrifying motto I don’t know what is.
And the fact that it’s even possible this man might be elected over a Democrat who has prosecuted the Klu Klax Klan, has vowed to fight for public funding of healthcare and education, has stood up for science in climate change, and allows people their civil liberties and the right to set their own paths in life baffles me.
More than that it makes me feel physically unwell. And for the first time since I’ve lived here it really, really makes me question how the fuck I can wed myself living in a country where these values hold such weight.
Of course there are people around me that give me hope.
Still, my face has been in a grimace all day and I pray tonight at 8pm EST I can relax it.