The Need for African-American Opportunity District

Dear Chairman Nordenberg and Members of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, My name is Jeanette Trauth and I am an Associate Professor Emerita of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, where I taught and conducted research for 31 years. I have also lived in Allegheny County, PA for 45 years, where my husband and I raised our two children. We are also long-time members of Pittsburgh’s Temple Sinai, which is part of the Pennsylvania Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-PA). The RAC-PA is made up of 40 synagogues comprising about 40,000 persons and Jewish communities across the Commonwealth united in advocating for fair and racially equitable legislative maps. I am writing today to state why I care about fair and racially equitable maps in Pennsylvania. For 31 years my research focused on health disparities in disease prevention in the African American community. Specifically, I was concerned with questions such as: How do we intervene to improve health outcomes? For example, how do we increase rates of cancer screening, childhood immunizations or type two diabetes prevention? The answers to these questions frequently require a public policy response–initiated by leaders who understand the needs of the population they serve. It is for this reason that I am in favor of the LRC House map that provides three “opportunity” districts, in which the minority population, predominantly African-American, has a fair opportunity to elect a minority representative, or at least a representative obligated to be responsive to minority concerns. Thank you for your service to the people of Pennsylvania! Sincerely, Jeanette Trauth,PhD