TPR President’s Messages
I Took the Arctic Plunge!
Another example of why we must advocate for multiracial youth.
I just returned from an amazing six week summer internship with AmeriCorps, an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.
My assignment was to mentor at-risk youth and refurbish a Boys and Girls Club for their use in Kotzebue, Alaska. The Native Village of Kotzebueis located 33 miles north of the Arctic Circle on Alaska’s Western coast and yes, I did take the Arctic Plunge! Since my last name is Baldwin, I thought it was a fun coincidence that Kotzebue sits on a sand spit at the end of the Baldwin Peninsula.
As someone who not only advocates for multiracial people, but has a love of diverse cultures, I was very excited to spend time in this native village, which is about 70% Native Alaskan, primarily Iñupiat Eskimo. The Iñupiat Eskimo are warm and wonderful people. They speak the same language, Iñupiaq, as other Arctic Circle communities in Northern Canada and Greenland. And they have tremendous needs.
Native American youth are suffering a very serious public health crisis. They are at increased risk for substance abuse, obesity, diabetes, sexually transmitted disease and suicide. I was grateful for the opportunity to contribute in a small way to a program that is working to change that. It occurred to me that programs such as the one I was able to help with exist because Alaska Natives are recognized as a distinct race and therefore included in many studies that track these critically important risks.
This brings us once again to the issue at hand for us here at Project RACE. Multiracial people are very rarely included in medical research, leaving us with a critical absence of data on our population. Therefore, we have a lack of information or programs to address whatever needs may exist. Please support the work we are doing to change that!
- Kendall Baldwin