The first of three days of a statewide conference got underway for the NAACP Thursday in Corpus Christi, organized by Texas units of the organization.
The first session addressed the issue of racism and health needs, specifically the disparity among minorities. Joyce James, the Texas Health Commissioner, cited a study taking place throughout the state.
James said the study shows that blacks and Hispanics are dying of preventable diseases at a much higher rate than whites. She also said that research shows smaller communities bear the brunt of this, due to lack of resources and necessary services.
"An individual response will not solve this issue," James said. "It will have to occur through true systems transformation, and that is the work that we are doing at our office in Austin. We have legislative authority in Texas to do this kind of work, and I really lift up that we are the only state in the country that has three pieces of legislation that speak to examining racial disparities and working to eliminate racial disparities from vulnerable populations."
The theme carried from this year's national conference, "NAACP: Your Power, Your Decision - Vote," will include a series of presentations throughout the three-day conference. Those session will address financial freedom, health, religion and environmental issues.