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Many were horrified with the fallout from Flint, Michigan. What stunned the nation so much are the youngest victims and the families who have forever been altered. At the heart of the lead contamination of waterways in Flint might not just be poor planning and resources. Some are insisting that it might be more about civil rights and a systematic racism at play than about any municipal failure.

Civil rights water contaminatin

According to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and a civil rights attorney, the contaminated water systems of the city are deeply rooted in historical racism that continues to plague America. A public health catastrophe of grand proportions, it is unfortunately not the first time that this type of widespread fallout has befallen poor neighbourhoods in America.

The report calls not just for major changes to be made in operational procedures for the downtown area, but also for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission fashioned after one used in South Africa when the government was trying to do away with apartheid and rebuild government trust. On the same scale of credibility, Michigan residents no longer believe that the government or its employees care about their well-being or address their needs.

The Commission calls for Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, to devise a cabinet to delve into the implicit bias that exists in Flint, and to require all agencies within the state, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Environmental Quality, to do the same. 

The hope is that organizations will tackle the prejudice that exists in operations around the Michigan area, specifically in the poorer communities. The Commission insists that a systematic change is needed to influence the way that decisions are made to help the disadvantaged communities of Flint so that they are given the same opportunities, services, and safety assurances as other areas and big cities in Michigan.

Specifically, the Commission calls for a locally-elected official who is given a state-appointed managerial position to make decisions about the community. That official is to report to an emergency manager, who is elected directly by the governor instead of the state treasurer. That way, the person who is responsible for choosing the official is elected into office and has accountability for their appointment to the communities they serve.

The belief is that the same contamination and cover-up would never have happened in a more affluent part of Michigan, like Ann Arbor. The 135-page report outlines how the incident occurred specifically because the surrounding community was occupied by poorer residents, predominantly African American individuals. The report maintains that Flint is tantamount to segregation, and therefore the problems experienced in the community should be tackled in the same manner as breaking up South African apartheid.

The Commission found that the residents of Flint were subjected to hardship and harm that was the result of systematic and structural discrimination at a government level, not just a mistake made by a careless municipality. When you have poor neighbourhoods that aren’t privy to the same rights and safety, what results is water pipes that leak lead and other harmful contaminants into the water.

It also leads to fewer jobs, fewer retail establishments, and fewer opportunities that only further perpetuate the poor conditions experienced in Flint. The residents of Flint were not afforded the same protections as other residents of Michigan simply because of the colour of their skin and the size of their bank accounts.

There is no doubt that a lot of trust has been lost and will have to be built back up. That won’t happen overnight or with the same system of protections, environmental and otherwise being the structure of Flint Michigan. If Michigan residents are ever going to feel safe and have faith in the government who they look to for help, there is going to have to be some real change made at all levels. 

Flint is a city known for hard times and bad fortune. Once it was one of the most affluent cities in the US, thanks to automobile manufacturing, but when the plants went away they took the affluence with them. What remained was people without jobs and no one looking out for them, and just as the city was making a resurgence, here is another catastrophe that will have to be rebuilt one brick at a time. A change has to start with trust and assurances that the colour of your skin doesn’t define your worth.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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The Most Common Killers Worldwide

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While the world is getting more and more populated with the human species, there are also more and more deaths too. And most of the time they have been caused by things that weren’t intended to be fatal.

Here’s some of the most common.

Road accidents

One of the most common killers is from road accidents, whether that be in a car or on a bike, there are crashes that happen every single day. This tends to be due to careless driving from people that are either over the limit and under the influence, driving competitively, or distracted by their phones. While a lot of people are aware of this information, it doesn’t stop the accidents from happening, and lives are constantly being lost. A lot of the time, the accident involves taking innocent lives away at the fault of someone else, that causes them to have an unpleasant death that could’ve been avoided. This is why more awareness needs to be raised with every incident that happens, along with how often they do, because this might give the world a much-needed wake-up call.

Robberies

Robberies can happen in all sorts of environments, be it at home, in a store, and even on holiday. Robbers tend to target people that seem to have something of value on them, and don’t look as if they’re going to fight back. A lot of robberies do happen when people are on holiday because they’re a lot more relaxed and off guard, because it’s the last thing on their mind while sipping on a mojito. The problem is, they can go wrong very quickly. Most robbers do not intend on killing anyone, they just go in with force to scare the victim, making them easier to take from. But when someone does get brave enough to fight back – that’s where things turn fatal. The robber may end up overcompensating or doing something they hadn’t planned on doing all in the heat of the moment. Not only ruining their own life, but an innocent person’s too.

Cancer

We all know what cancer is, we see it all over the tv and other forms of media. It’s a disease that comes with a lot of heartache. While there are many different forms of cancers, the grief that they bring to victims and their families can be very hard. Many can be treated with the right drugs and therapy – even surgery. But some aren’t as curable as that, leaving people to end their lives in a lot of pain and discomfort. Cancer can affect anyone, regardless of their age, gender, and lifestyle. There are many different things that are advertised to reduce the risk of ever getting it, but really, the sad truth is that if you’re going to get the disease – you’re going to get it.

There is a lot of negativity in the world, and this is why we should all be doing as much as we can to see the good things. The media highlights a lot of deflating stuff – it’s your job to seek more. – Better.

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Myths About Compensation Unveiled

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Law hammer

flickr/steakpinball

Compensation is an area of life that seems to be surrounded by a host of myths. All sorts of headlines have been made surrounding issues such as “compensation culture” and how compensation is detrimental to society as a whole. But this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, compensation, in many ways, can turn out to be quite a good thing. It’s a process that ensures that as many individuals in positions of authority and responsibility as possible stick to the protocol and provide those under their care with safe environments and products. Imagine the state of things if there wasn’t any threat of financial recompense for negative actions! So, let’s take a look at just a few myths associated with compensation to clear up the confusion.

You Can Claim Compensation for Any Accident, Regardless of Fault

Now, there have been cases in the past where compensation has been falsely claimed by individuals who have exaggerated situations, injuries, or trauma. But this percentage is extremely low and, generally speaking, you have to give a whole lot of proof to be able to make a claim. Only genuine breaches will be taken into consideration, as it has to be proved in court by the claimant that the other part has been negligent. No lawyer will waste their time with cases that won’t stand up in court. Serious faults, such as cases where the victim is deceased as a result of the problem, or the victim is genuinely harmed will generally be prioritised.

People Are Too Ready to Claim

We are given this image of compensation cases where everyone jumps at the slightest opportunity to make a claim. This, again, is false. In fact, six out of every seven individuals negatively affected by an accident are likely to brush opportunities to claim under the carpet. They are often scared by branded with this very myth and turn a blind eye to the problem at hand.

Employers Shouldn’t Have to Pay Out for Unforeseen Problems

Many will argue that employers or insurance companies shouldn’t have to pay out for unforeseen problems. A huge point of contention in this area is asbestos claims. People believe that companies shouldn’t have to pay out because they didn’t know at the time that asbestos was dangerous. However, it’s important to highlight that when you are in a position of responsibility, it is your job to check everything that those under your jurisdiction are dealing with. In the case of asbestos, health and safety checks should have been carried out.

Lawyers Purposefully Make Compensation Cases Last Longer

Another commonly spread myth is that lawyers will purposefully prolong the legal process of taking a compensation case to court in order to increase the amount of money that they can charge and earn from it. But any legal representative has a legal obligation to act in the best interest of their clients. To do this would break their code of conduct.

Chances are that you’ve heard all of these myths time and time again. But hopefully, we’ve helped to clear them up for you!

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America’s Aging Workforce: A Call For Change

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You don’t need us to tell you that people are living longer. What’s more, advances in medical treatments keep us fighting fit into our later lives. With medicine as it stands, even illnesses such as cancer aren’t enough to knock us down. Instead, we bounce back, often fitter than we were before. Such is the miracle of modern medicine.

No one can deny that this is a positive change and something we should all be thankful for. But, it’s also impossible to ignore that these improvements are at the root of some issues. America’s aging population is nothing new. For years now, we’ve seen baby boomers, born between 1946-1964, forming the largest generation in America. As it stands, 75 million American citizens fall into this category.

As a result, strains have been placed on Medicare, social security, and even our workforces. Early retirement packages start as young as 62, but many are now able to work later. What’s more, inadequate pensions leave many with no other choice.

And, there are obvious issues with an aging workplace. While there are benefits to elderly workers, there are also negatives. Of course, the majority of the issues come about from workplaces targeted towards the young. So, what needs to change to help our aging workers? Let’s take a look.

New health and safety regulations

As it stands, health and safety regulations aren’t serving the aging workforce. In the past, workplace fatalities have concerned younger workers or an even mixture across the ages. But, statistics from Minnesota fatalities suggest that things are changing, with more elderly workers at risk of fatal or long-term injuries. In fact, at least half of workplace deaths involved those who were 55 and over. And, these numbers look set to skyrocket in the coming decade. In some ways, you could argue that these statistics are inevitable. After all, workers in these age ranges now far outweigh those in any other. But, the figures are still worrying. What’s more, those over the age of 65 are thought to take longer to recover. Statistics show that older workers took an average 14 days to recover, while younger workers took 4-9. This is terrible news for everyone, as it means lost workload and lost earnings. The injured individual would be within their rights to contact lawyers such as Strickland, Agner & Associates to cover the financial burden of their time off. But, this would again leave employers out of pocket, which ultimately doesn’t help anyone involved.

Instead, it might be time for workplaces to reconsider their health and safety measures. With elderly workers in mind, issues such as visibility and hearing should be a priority. Bear in mind, too, that a small trip could do real damage for an older worker. As such, it’s more important than ever to keep walkways clear and safe at all times. These changes won’t be difficult to implement. So, there’s no excuse for workforces not to get behind this.

A focus on employee wellness

Employee wellness should always be a priority. Any employer knows that allowances must be in place for workers with disabilities. The law states that they provide wheelchair friendly desks, easy access to all areas, and even parking spaces close to the building. And, all these allowances could help to make life easier for an aging workforce. Admittedly, going too far here could cause insult. But, it’s hard to ignore that a 65-year-old worker will struggle to make their way up three flights of stairs to reach the office. As such, you should provide options like elevators and parking spaces nearby. Keep this understated, and let workers make their own choices about whether to use such benefits. But, you can be sure that having the option will go a long way towards reducing any discomfort.

Acknowledge the limitations of age

This is a tricky matter to traverse. On the one hand, discrimination should be avoided at all costs. And, that includes age discrimination. At the same time, it’s impossible to ignore that older workers won’t be as able to complete incredibly strenuous jobs. What’s more, they could cause themselves injuries while attempting it. As such, it’s difficult to know how employers could best approach this issue.

It may be that jobs should be at a worker’s discretion. Nobody knows our limits as well as we do. As such, it should be made clear that elderly workers can approach managers if they aren’t up to certain tasks. They shouldn’t be reproached or made to feel uncomfortable. Instead, bosses should be accommodating here. After this has happened once, they’ll know not to give the individual in question that job again. Rather than being a matter of discrimination, communications like these are a sign of a healthy and fair workplace, which accommodates for age without making assumptions.

Acknowledge the benefits of age

On the other end of the scale, it’s also crucial for workplaces to acknowledge the benefits with come from an aging team. Workers who have been in the field for their whole lives can bring a load of experience to a role. While not all 65+ employees will be as physically able as young candidates, you can be sure they’ll know a lot more. Why not make the most of these benefits by entrusting our older workers to train our young ones? This would save managers both time and money, and ensure workers learn from someone who’s done the job for years. What’s more, those older workers are sure to appreciate the chance to pass on their knowledge. It’s the best of both worlds and is a setup which is sure to suit everyone.

In conclusion

Accommodating an aging workforce isn’t difficult. It doesn’t cost employers, or create unnecessary work. In fact, small shifts in thinking and operations are all it takes to get this right. And, given that this is an issue which will only become more prevalent, it makes sense that all workplaces get on top of this sooner rather than later.

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