Thank you!

 

We just want to thank everyone who made national Multiracial Heritage Week such a great success this year. We received written acknowledgment from 17 states and 4 mayors of large cities. Yes! We also had numerous new members sign up for membership and asking to be placed on our mailing list.

The media attention has been great, with television, radio, and podcasts. If you missed Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teen President on WKYC, you can catch it here: https://www.wkyc.com/amp/article/entertainment/television/liveonlakeside/karson-baldwin-project-race-teens-gears-up-for-multiracial-heritage-week/95-c9a9fef6-6506-4589-920c-475f8beb719a

Project RACE celebrates being multiracial throughout the year, but our week is very special to us. Please consider being a part of it next year by going to our website and filling out a form here: http://www.projectrace.com/mhw/

Also, please let us know throughout the year what companies, hospitals, media outlets, etc. include “multiracial” on their forms and surveys. We encourage you to frequent those that include us like Aveda and Walgreen’s, and make your preferences known to those that don’t, like TheSkimm. Thank you.

 

Project RACE

Project RACE Teens

Project RACE Kids

Project RACE Grandparents

We interrupt our celebrations…

We interrupt our celebrations…

What do a seven-year-old boy in New York, a three-year-old girl in Baltimore, and an eight-year-old boy in Los Angeles have in common? Other than playing games and being with their pets, they are all living on borrowed time. And you may be able to save them.

During Multiracial Heritage Week, we do a lot of celebrating and talk about being multiracial, but we also remind people about becoming bone marrow donors for sick children and adults with blood diseases.

There is a blood cancer diagnosis every four minutes in the United States and every one of us could be the key to saving a life. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 44 can register with Be the Match, to potentially become a donor. Multiracial adults are in high demand.

Approximately 70 percent of patients do not have a fully matched donor in their own family, which leaves them to search the registry. And depending on a patient’s ethnic background, the likelihood varies for finding the perfect match. Most prospective donors are white.

“Caucasians are likely to match 77 percent of the time, African Americans are likely to match 23 percent of the time,” said Amy with Be the Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program. “There is no medical reason for that likelihood, it’s just the number of committed donors we have on the registry.” There are no statistics on multiracial patients.

So we interrupt our celebrations to ask you to register with Be the Match and help save lives. Thank you.

You can watch our video “Invisible in Healthcare” here: http://www.projectrace.com/teen-project-race/video/

Project RACE

Project RACE Teens

Project RACE Kids

Project RACE Grandparents

 

 

Photo Credit: ABC News Go.com

Did you hear us?

We’ve been talkin’ about Multiracial Heritage Week! Listen to Karson Baldwin, Co-President of Project RACE Teens and Susan Graham, president of Project RACE on two NPR shows this week.
Karson: https://www.ideastream.org/programs/sound-of-ideas/multiracial-heritage-week
Susan:https://www.kvpr.org/post/los-banos-residents-memoir-chronicles-start-multiracial-movement

It’s Almost Here!

 

Join Project RACE as we kick off Multiracial Heritage Week. It is a week when we don’t ask, “What are you?” but celebrate who you are. We rejoice in in our varied heritage and embrace all of our backgrounds.

This is our sixth year of celebration, of recognition for the biracial and multiracial community. We have proclamations signed by the governors of big states like California, Texas, Hawaii and mayors of large cities who believe that diversity that includes the multiracial population is how they want to be represented.

Whether you take a moment to reflect on what wonderful things it means to be multiracial or attend one of our parties across the country, take pride in your racial identification with us. Project RACE is here to help.

Susan Graham, founder and president of Project RACE will be speaking at Barnes and Noble’s Fresno, California store on June 8 and signing her books Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America to kick off Multiracial Heritage Week.

Census Bureau Recognizes Multiracial Heritage Week.

The U. S. Census Bureau publishes a feature called Stats for Stories that goes to journalists around the county. It gives them an idea of what important celebrations are taking place around America. This year the bureau is including Project RACE in the important list for June in recognition of Multiracial Heritage Week (MHW), which is June 7 to June 14, 2019. We celebrate with proclamations from state governors and large city mayors. We also have fun with it! We hold parties across the county and encourage you to have your own celebration with your family and friends.

 

See our video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk-98_92EUg

 

Our sincere thanks to the United States Census Bureau!

It’s Famous Friday!

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie, an actor, filmmaker and a humanitarian, was born June 4 1975.  Angelina Jolie has been cited as one of the most powerful and influential people in the entertainment industry of America.  Jolie is also a mother of an interracial family!  She has three adopted children from all over the world along with three other biological children.

While filming in Cambodia, Jolie was exposed to the effects a war could have on a country, and wanted to do something about it.  While filming “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” in Cambodia, Jolie witnessed first hand, the effects a war had on Cambodia.  Returning home with that greater understanding, Jolie couldn’t just sit around.  She contacted United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  This is where her humanitarian journey began.  Since 2001, she has visited over 20 countries to advocate for those who are suffering.  She regularly goes to Washington DC, to raise awareness for humanitarian issues and to bring attention to the displaced and needy. In 2006 Jolie announced the founding of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, through this foundation donations came in from all over the world to help those in need.  Angelina Jolie states, “We cannot close ourselves off to information and ignore the fact that millions of people are out there suffering. I honestly want to help…”

Jolie has not only had three biological children, but has also adopted three children. Maddox Chivan was the first child she adopted in 2001 from Cambodia, followed by Zahara Marely from Ethiopia.  She then bore her first biological child, Shiloh Nouve.  She then adopted Pax Thien from Vietnam, and then gave birth to the twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline.  Angelina makes sure she celebrates the different cultures of her adopted children. She believes that educating her children about their roots is incredibly important.  Jolie makes the point that her children should embrace the whole family’s different backgrounds. She says, “They are all learning about each other’s cultures as well as being proud of their own.” Her son Maddox has joined her on set in Cambodia before, learning first hand about his heritage and native country.

Angelina has used her work as an actress in several ways to educate others too!  This includes when she acted in the movie First They Killed My Father. This movie is based on a Cambodia human rights activist Luong Ung’s memoir also called First They Killed My Father.  It documents a young girl’s experience in Cambodia when it was under the horrible rule of Khmer Rouge.

Jolie has used her talents to help others and that is very admirable.  Angelina Jolie could have focused on just her prosperity in the United States, but she instead saw the need and has made an impact worldwide.  Her family dynamic is a beautiful microcosm of what we desire for our world to look like; embracing different cultures and celebrating them with love and kindness!

Madelyn Rempel Project RACE Kids President

Picture Source: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a26532018/angelina-jolie-brings-kids-nyc-premiere/

It’s Famous Friday!

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818, on a plantation in Maryland. His mother was thought to be of Native American and African decent while his father was White and rumored to be the plantation owner. From birth Fredrick was separated and lived with his maternal grandmother.  When he turned six years old he was moved to a different plantation and “given” to Lucretia Auld who taught him the alphabet. He learned how to read and write and began teaching other slaves as well with the Bible.

After again being transferred to another plantation known for grueling labor and harsh conditions, he chose to escape in 1838. After Douglass settled in New York and got married, he then moved to Massachusetts.  In New Bedford, they met a couple, the Johnsons, who were born free persons of color. They heavily impacted Fredrick and led him to be more involved in the abolitionist movement.

Through his readings he was mentored by William Lloyd Garrison who encouraged him through his works and also in person to become a public speaker on the matter. By 1843, Douglass, as a part of the American Anti-Slavery Society, took part in the 6 month tour through the USA called ‘Hundred Conventions.’ In 1845, he wrote his first and most famous autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.” He also published his own abolitionist newsletter, “The North Star.”

Along with his goal of freedom of fellow African Americans, he strived to decrease discrimination against women as well. During the Civil War he remained steadfast and determined to continue his message. When President Lincoln came into office, Douglass initially supported him, but came into disagreement when he didn’t move to allow Blacks to vote even though they had fought alongside Union soldiers.

After the war he held many official positions in the government; even becoming the ambassador for the Dominican Republic, thus becoming the first black man in high office. In 1888, he became the first African-American to receive a vote for President of the United States, during the Republican National Convention. Even though he wasn’t chosen, he continued to speak and be an activist and writer till his death in 1895.

What personally inspires me is the amount of peace Douglass had. Even though he had the right to be angry and hate Whites, he strived for reconciliation. He reconciled with Lincoln shortly before his death, and even went and found Thomas Auld who had formerly “owned” him, and reconciled. He was able to have an amazing impact and make serious changes by aiming to help others understand and treat everyone as equals.  He was an advocate for all marginalized members of society.

 

Nadia Wooten, Project RACE Teens Vice President

 

Picture source: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

It’s Famous Friday!

Max Minghella

Max Minghella recently shot to acting fame by playing Nick the driver, in the popular Hulu drama series, The Handmaid’s Tale. Max’s family heritage makes him a great example as a truly international and multiracial man.  His father was born in Ryde, Isle of Wight, and was of Italian descent, and his mother was born in Hong Kong. His maternal grandfather was of three-quarters Han Chinese and one-quarter Jewish descent, and his maternal grandmother was Chinese, English, Irish, Parsi and Swedish.  His maternal great-grandfather was Hong Kong legislator Robert Kotewall, and his maternal great-great-grandfather was Calcutta-born businessman Emanuel Raphael Belilos.

Minghella was born in London to parents who were passionate about their work. His father was a famous film director, while his mother was a choreographer and dancer. Performance art clearly ran in his genes.  He graduated from Columbia University in the United States in 2009 and was a former member of the National Youth Theatre in England.

While Minghella, now 33 years old, started acting in small movie roles in 1999, he just made is directing debut with the film Teen Spirit late last year. He is currently dating an actress from that movie, Elle Fanning.

A fun fact about Max is that he is a huge fan of the K-Pop boy band, BTS.  Recently, while on the Late Late Show hosted by James Corden, Minghella said that he loves them because they are an, “International Supergroup, appealing to all nationalities.”  He hopes to follow in their footsteps by appealing to a worldwide audience, specifically those who are of multiracial heritage.

Alexis Cook, Project RACE Teens Co-President

Stock Editorial Photo @s_buckley

 

 

 

The Intersection of Race and Blood

The Intersection of Race and Blood

Blood can be racially or ethnically specific, so having more blood donors in certain groups can be crucial for saving the lives of patients who share their backgrounds.

Image
CreditCreditKeith Negley

By Rose George

New York Times

 

“We need black blood.”

I didn’t know what to say to this, not least because it had been said by the head of donor services at England’s National Health Service Blood and Transplant. The interview was for a book I was writing on blood, a topic I knew a little about by then, but the baldness of his statement still shocked me. Surely we’re all the same under the skin?

I knew the history of race and blood was an ugly one. America’s earliest blood bank, founded in 1937 at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, noted race on donor forms and other blood banks followed suit. During World War II, African-American blood was labeled N for Negro (and some centers refused African-American donors outright) and given only to African-American soldiers. Writing to Eleanor Roosevelt, the chairman of the American Red Cross, Norman H. Davis, admitted that segregating blood was “a matter of tradition and sentiment rather than of science,” but didn’t stop doing it until 1950. Louisiana banned the segregation of blood only in 1972.

But the Red Cross was wrong: While no one is suggesting forced segregation of blood bags, it’s now scientifically established that blood can be racially or ethnically specific.

Most people know about the eight major blood groups: A, B, AB and O, each of which can be positive or negative (the Rh factor). These are determined by genes, and what group you are depends on what combination of proteins and sugars — antigens — are on the outside of your red blood cells. The International Society of Blood Transfusion lists 360 known antigens, but the combinations are infinitely more. Many have no bearing on routine blood transfusion, though all were discovered because they caused a problem with compatibility.

A successful blood transfusion relies on sameness. If incoming blood has an antigen that you lack, your body can react badly to it. In extremely rare cases, the reaction can be fatal; and even if not, it can tax the immune system in people who are already weakened by their condition. Also, you will make an antibody, a sort of immune storm trooper, to better recognize the same antigen next time. Patients who need regular blood transfusions — those who have sickle cell disease, thalassemia or leukemia, for example — may face an ever decreasing pool of suitable blood because they keep creating antibodies.

Wouldn’t it be easier if all our blood was the same? Blame bugs. Much of the variance “has been driven by evolutionary selection by bacteria, malaria and parasites,” says Connie Westhoff, executive scientific director at the National Center for Blood Group Genomics at the New York Blood Center. If malaria finds its way into the bloodstream via a particular antigen, that antigen may change to defend itself, leading to different blood types. Cholera thrives better on intestinal cells derived from O-type stem cells, but O is also more protective against malaria. For many complicated reasons, only 27 percent of Asians have type A, but 40 percent of Caucasians do. Type B is found more commonly in Asia than Europe.

This works not just with blood types. Sickle cell trait is now known to protect against malaria, which is why sickle cell, a painful and debilitating disease caused by malformed blood cells, is found frequently — but not only — in people with African heritage, because malaria thrives in Africa.

This past winter, the case of a little girl named Zainab Mughal in South Florida illustrated all this complexity perfectly. Zainab, who is now 3, has neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer, and her treatment — chemotherapy and stem cell transplants — means she will need blood.

But she also has rare blood. She belongs to the fewer than 1 percent of the population missing an antigen that the other 99 percent have, making her blood some of the rarest in the world. In her case, she lacks both the antigens Indian B and Big E. Via appeals to the American Rare Donor Program, and then the International Rare Donor Panel in England, Zainab’s local blood banker, One Blood, found five donors with the same extremely rare type.

It was a tall order: the Indian B antigen is known to be lacking in the blood of Iranians, Pakistanis and Indians, so donors had to have both parents from these populations. Two donors live in the United States, two in Britain and one in Australia. Most people, says Susan Forbes of One Blood, “don’t understand the need for a diverse blood supply.”

Publicity about Zainab’s case, though it was extreme in its rarity, helped raise awareness.

Yet it is a difficult message: that our blood is different, red and white cells both. When it comes to finding stem cells for bone marrow transplants, the search has to be equally discriminatory. This time the issue is HLA, the human leukocyte antigens present in white blood cells.

“The reason why ethnicity comes into the picture,” says Dr. Abeer Madbouly, a senior scientist at Be the Match, a program run by the National Marrow Donor Program, the largest stem cell donor registry in the world, “is that HLA encodes the immune system, and the immune system goes through particular conditions based on where you are.” Depending on the threat, each population will develop particular sets of HLA types. In a diverse population like that of the United States, finding a matched donor becomes more challenging for a patient with a mixed ethnic background.

“Let’s say you have someone with African roots and someone from Asian descent coming together, and then they have an offspring of mixed ethnicities,” Dr. Madbouly said. “You have an African HLA and an HLA type common in Asian areas coming together to form a new type of HLA that is not common in either.” Though Be the Match added nearly two million donors to its registry last year, only 30 percent were what Dr. Madbouly calls “diverse.” That’s not enough.

Zainab’s blood is rare, and so is her situation. What concerns blood bankers on a daily basis is a more common condition caused by uncommon blood. Sickle cell disease is predominantly found in African-Americans, and thalassemia among South Asians, and both conditions require precisely matched blood. But there is a shortfall between ethnic minority patients who need blood, and ethnic minority donors. In New York, Caucasians are 35 percent of the population but 58 percent of donors. Twenty-eight percent of New Yorkers are African-American but only eight percent of donors, and that’s after five years of hard work and outreach by the New York Blood Center with its PreciseMatch campaign.

Even so, there was trouble when the Blood Center began in 2009 to offer the option to “self-declare” ethnicity on its donor forms. This was efficient: without a budget to precisely screen every donation, they could home in on antigens known to be specific to certain populations. At first there were problems, when staff members were initially upset by this apparent division of blood by ethnicity. “We didn’t educate the staff,” says Dr. Westhoff, “to know that we weren’t segregating the blood just to be segregating. We were doing it to send all the African-American units to the sickle program children because they were doing much better with blood that came from this same ethnic group.”

Of course disquiet was inevitable, given sensitivity about whether race is skin-deep and whether differences should be highlighted at all, if equality is ever to be reached. But the startling truth about blood is that acknowledging, seeking and celebrating its differences can tip the balance between life and death for people who need it.

Blood bankers are reluctant to talk about why some communities are keener to donate than others, but read some of the “myths about blood donation” that they regularly publish and a picture emerges: Blood donation doesn’t make you put on weight. Nor does it affect your sex drive (though you shouldn’t do vigorous exercise within 24 hours). It is not against Islamic law or tradition. One of the most common reasons people who don’t donate give is that no one has asked them.

Cases like Zainab’s help reach these populations: Many of the 25,000 people who emailed in wanting to help were first-time donors. But as Susan Forbes of One Blood says: “The goal is for them to make it a habit and come back, and help boost the blood supply wherever they live.”


Rose George is a British journalist whose books include “Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood.”

The U.S. Media and the Biracial Royal Baby

The U.S. Media and the Biracial Royal Baby

 

These are a few of the headlines to hit the public in the last few days since the birth of Baby Sussex:

  • Don’t use the royal birth to trot out a dangerous myth – CNN
  • The Royal Baby and Blackness as a Badge of Honor – The New York Times
  • Will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry raise their baby to be black? The LA Times

I won’t go into the specifics of each article because they are all flawed and unworthy of individual mention, but suffice it to say that they all want the royal baby to racially identify as black. They talk all about kinky hair and skin tone. They claim that black pride is the only kind of pride.

I hold the media responsible for publishing this drivel. They give up their principals for shock value and kowtowing to the black population. I hate to break it to them, but their readership is also the multiracial population—or was until they began slanting their stories away from us.

What they don’t get is that the multiracial community is not taking away any blackness from the royal family. Being biracial or multiracial means embracing your entire racial heritage—black and white. Period.

 

Susan Graham is the president of Project RACE and author of Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America.