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Blood money off the backs of Black and brown people just keeps rolling into FSU

Commentary by Edward Holifield, MD |
October 23, 2021
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Tallahassee, FL - First there was the $20 million regressive Blueprint sales tax money stolen from Black, brown, and poor people for tax exempt skyboxes sold to rich white people to enhance their "football experience."

All this while the games are played in the shadow of Doak Campbell, a stadium named after a white man who despised Black people and thought they had no place at FSU. FSU refused to change the name.

White “Indians” doing the tomahawk chop are getting old.

Now we have Dr. Sylvie Naar, the recipient of a $6.5 million National Institutes of Health grant to study HIV among the largely Black people who, in Leon County, die at a highly disproportionate rate compared to whites. Again, more money for FSU on the backs of Black people.

The last time I checked, more than 80% of the people in Leon County who died from HIV were Black. Ironically in multiple community Health Needs Assessments, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) has noted that it "does not plan to address violence and firearm injuries, unwed pregnancies, poverty or sexually transmitted diseases." Unwed pregnancies? Really? This is TMH judgmental nonsense from the dark ages.

As for FSU, they could care less about the health or wellbeing of Black and brown people. Remember the biomass plant that FSU tried to place less than a mile away from overwhelmingly Black Sabal Palm Elementary School? This would have dumped tons of particulate pollution with fine particles 2.5 microns or less into the air that these children would have to breathe.

It would have made potentially deadly asthma in the Black community even worse.

Further, Dr. Naar has listed Big Bend Cares (Care Point) as an "external collaborator" on her Adolescent and Emerging Adult Health Equity Program.

Both Big Bend Cares and its CEO Rob Renzi were successfully sued in federal court for defaming Jeffrey Pope, one of their own clients, who was suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Renzi has sued Sylvia Hubbard, a Black woman who provides HIV services in the Black community, in an obvious attempt to run her out of town.

Renzi has nothing but contempt for any Black person with whom he disagrees. He has called two policemen on me for going to a ribbon-cutting and threatened to do it again when I went to conference sponsored by United Partners for Human Services without registering.

If the police had shot me dead, I have no doubt that Renzi would have been delighted. Meanwhile it was disclosed during a court deposition that the highest academic degree Renzi has obtained is a high school diploma.

Does this mean that Renzi has lied about his credentials? If so, what else has Renzi lied about?

Care Point is located in the Black community within two miles from where I grew up. Renzi and his attorney Jason Taylor have written that they will call the police on me if I ever set foot on the Care Point property at any time during the remainder of my life. He has issued the same warning to Sylvia Hubbard.

Care Point was built in part by taking at least $1.5 million in tax money from the Black community.

Both the FSU College of Medicine and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital have betrayed the Black community.

The Medical School started out as a joint medical school with FAMU and remained that way from 1971 to 1975. The school was fully financed during this period by the federal government.

In 1975 the Program in Medical Science or "PIMS" as it was called was stolen from FAMU and given in its entirety to FSU by the state of Florida. FAMU, which had taught pharmacy at the joint school, was not allowed to have any role in the medical school after FSU took it over.

FSU promised that its main role would be to provide medical services to the underserved. TMH, as a city-owned nonprofit hospital, made a similar promise and operates via a $1 a year lease with the city of Tallahassee.

Both institutions lied. Both TMH and the FSU College of Medicine are out to stuff as much money in their pockets as they possibly can.

Proof of this is their plan to set up shop in Panama City to provide medical care to rich white people in Margaritaville under the auspices of real estate developer St. Joe Paper Company.

As for Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, it is the scene of a crime. Started in 1948 by Laurie Dozier Sr. and a cabal of white men, it used tax money taken from Black people to build the hospital only to deny Black people admission after the hospital had been constructed. Black people died after having been turned away from TMH.

White supremacy existed at TMH in 1948 and continues to this day.

As for FSU, Dean Fogarty has kept his mouth shut regarding the refusal of Florida to expand Medicaid. Denying health insurance for the poor is killing them. Black infant and maternal mortality in Leon County have been through the roof.

I could not even get the FSU College Medicine to assist me in my efforts to remove free infant formula from the TMH hospital delivery bags. Infant formula undercuts breastfeeding efforts which are underrepresented in the Black community.

Even though breastfeeding lowers the incidence of sudden infant death, TMH CEO Mark O'bryant and then board chairman Laurie Dozier ignorantly claimed that breastfeeding was merely a matter "lifestyle choice." Nothing could be further from the truth. Because breastfeeding saves lives, it is a matter of public health.

Enough of this. Got to take a break. I can only deal with so much racism coming out of FSU and TMH at a time.