Tuesday, March 3

Communities of Color Network clears the smoke

Louisiana statistics indicate that students engage in the harmful practice of smoking at early ages. To combat this, the Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network continues its mission of reducing tobacco use, consumption, and second-hand smoke exposure among Louisiana’s African-American communities. The CoC Network builds solution-oriented coalitions and provides educational experiences to teach citizens about dangers of tobacco and the industry’s marketing strategies.

CoC staff actively participates in more than 14 coalitions statewide and are established many and with more coalitions on the horizon. Regional coordinator Latricia Dixon provided a general tobacco workshop to students at Jackson Middle School.  Dixon engaged the children in activities and allowed them opportunities to express concerns about tobacco in their environments.

Educational opportunities and interactive activities were provided in Avoyelles Parish where Shawntell Harrell, CoC Network regional coordinator, taught Bunkie Middle School students about the chemicals found in such products as cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco.

Paula Jordan, CoC Network regional coordinator, presented a tobacco basics workshop to patients of the Lydia Outreach Clinic, January 20.  Jordan provided the group with useful tips on how to keep their homes and kids tobacco-free. She also introduced the tobacco curriculum to Second Baptist Deliverance Church in Eunice, January 25.  It was the first of a series of workshops to encourage a 100% tobacco-free church, based on criteria and guidelines established by the Communities of Color Network.  The curriculum is customized to fit the needs of Second Baptist.  The importance of the workshop was further emphasized when the ministers correlated the message with a biblical passage for the parishioners.

Regional coordinator Eric Murphy utilized visual presentations to engage approximately 15 participants at the Adult Learning Center at Southern University, Shreveport, in interesting dialogue concerning the health risks associated with smoking.

Program director Linda Early Brown persistently encourages the citizens of Louisiana to seek opportunities to get their communities involved in the initiative provided by Communities of Color Network in tobacco education of Louisiana citizens. “Coalition and educational opportunities are available statewide,” said Brown. 

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