KJLH Women's Health Forum featured a Ladies in Leadership
workshop hosted by Denise Hunter, first lady of FAME Church - LA.
Participants were Assemblyman Isadore Hall, Councilmembers
Jan Perry and Bernard Parks, Dr. Antronette Yancey and
Fabian Wesson, wife of Councilman Herb Wesson.
(photo by Clayton Everett)
By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion EditorandAkemini E. UkpongSentinel Contributing Writer
More than 3,900 women from all walks of life came out to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the 11th Annual KJLH Women's Health Forum on April 2 to take advantage of seminars, screenings and information to enhance and improve their lives.
The seven-hour event had a strong spiritual presence, according to one visitor, who said, "God always encourages us to take care of our temple, which ultimately means that it is highly important to maintain an awareness of what we put into our bodies."
Free screenings offered women an opportunity to check blood pressure, blood sugar, bone density, cholesterol, body mass index, diabetes and many other significant factors for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Also, several vendors, medical personnel and volunteers were on hand to share expertise in the health field.
Greeting the crowd, Karen E. Slade, KJLH General Manager, said, "This has been the biggest forum we have ever had and we are glad you are here. Your life and health are a gift from God; they should be cherished and enjoyed. I thank the sponsors and with your help and God's grace we'll continue to grow."
Bonita Dent, KJLH Station Manager, said, "Women's health is a major issue in the African American community and a lot of women are experiencing strokes, diabetes, and heart disease. We want to keep the community aware of what's going on and give them solutions and preventive medicine measures to increase their wealth and health."California Hospital Medical Center, one of the sponsors of the forum, was represented by Genia Quinn who shared, "Our organization will be launching the Los Angeles Center for Women's Health this summer which is intended to be a one-stop health center for many types of screenings, health interventions and medical needs."
First A.M.E. Church - Los Angeles (FAME), another event sponsor, held a brunch and workshop aimed at women active in the faith community. Mrs. Denise Hunter, first lady of FAME, said, "We invited first ladies and women in leadership to provide a foundation to work together as a team to address the issue of obesity. The community is so large and there are so many people that need the help, so we are trying to make positive change in their lives. We plan to cover the whole gamut in the family unit, not just women, but men and children, too."
Participants at the workshop included Dr. Antronette Yancey, co-director of the UCLA Center for Health Equity professor; Niele Anderson, former Sentinel Religion Editor and Faith and Community Coordinator for Let's Move LA. ; and Chris Draft, a NFL linebacker active in men's health outreach initiatives. Recording artist and KJLH owner Stevie Wonder was also present along with Assemblyman Isadore Hall and L.A. Council members Jan Perry and Bernard Parks to show their support of health awareness.
"Women of faith bring an extra dimension of going back to their churches and sisterhood groups. Women take care of everybody in their house, so when you're communicating with a women of faith, you're communicating with the entire community," said Perry.
More communication about spiritual health came from Kevin Nash, KJLH on-air personality, who conducted a session and observed, "This is my second workshop and I believe it is part of God's purpose that I share the message that spiritual health is intimately connected to physical health. You have to start from the inside out. It doesn't make any sense if you're only working on the physical because we are spiritual beings first. Take care of the inside, then the outside."
The result of the KJLH Women's Health Forum was overwhelmingly positive according to many in attendance. Members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority said they attended to empower themselves and others toward a healthier tomorrow.
"I learned a lot because I got a chance to find out that I was four points away from being at risk in levels of cholesterol and I also learned that I need to lose 12% body fat in order to be among the healthiest within my height and age group," said JoAn M. Gregoire.
Making similar comments, Yvette Williams, first lady of Brookins Community A.M.E. Church, said, "I believe women can help not only ourselves, but educate our children and our communities about the importance of leading healthy lives. Also, I plan to incorporate what I learned today into some of the activities we're already doing at our church."
Summarizing the spiritual and physical aspects of the forum, Dr. Bill J. Releford, founder of the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program and author of "Five Colors to Better Health," said, "Jesus walked everywhere and I think He was in pretty good shape, so we need to get our people moving more. Health care reform begins in your house, not the White House."