Forcing Black Men Out of Society –Thanks NY Times Editorial

The NY Times Editorial Board post below is in response to an article published in the NY Times on April 20, 2015.  That article, titled:  1.5 Million Missing Black Men- By JUSTIN WOLFERS, DAVID LEONHARDT and KEVIN QUEALY APRIL 20, 2015,  can be found here:…/04/20/upshot/missing-black-men.html?

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is pleased to see this analysis by the Times Editorial Board.  We highly recommend both the article and the analysis to our readers, and ask them to please share this blog widely.  It would be most helpful if more people in television media would do this type of responsible analysis of various events rather than stoking the fire to get larger ratings.  What passes for subject analysis these days on some of the more popular cable programs is not only appalling, but also distructive.

 OneWorld particularly wants to draw attention to this part of the NY Times analysis because it account for thousands of Ct prisoners: “But since the 1980s, the rising number of black men who were spared premature death was more than offset by the growing number shipped off to prison, many for nonviolent drug offenses.”  

According to figures recently provided by  Mike Lawlor, CT’s Undersecretary, Criminal Justice Division, 72 percent of the more than 16,000 people in CT’s prisons are African Americans and Latinos; yet they make up only 22 percent of the population.  Contrary to what is portrayed in the media, most of these people are not in prison for violent crimes, but for possession of drugs, selling drugs within 1,500 feet  of a school or day care center.  There is a mandartory 2 year jail sentence if you are found to be in possession of Marijuana within the designated school zone.  This possession could be in your house. In New Haven there are 49 schools; many of them are close to people’s homes.  Therefore, smoking Marijuana  in your home could get you arrested, tried and imprisoned.  People who live in the suburbs are less likely to be in these situations.   One must ask if the war on drugs was not intended to have exactly the consequence it has had.  Take a look at who invest in prisons, and at the escalation of prison building in certain parts of the USA since 1980s.  Race, Poverty and Education are interwoven into mass incarceration in America.  Whether teachers are doing so consciously or not, they contribute greatly.

An analysis in The Times “1.5 Million Missing Black Men” — showed that more than one in every six black men in the 24-to-54 age group has disappeared from civic life, mainly because they died young or are locked away in prison. This means that there are only 83 black men living outside of jail for every 100 black women — in striking contrast to the white population, where men and women are about equal in numbers.

This astounding shortfall in black men translates into lower marriage rates, more out-of-wedlock births, a greater risk of poverty for families and, by extension, less stable communities. The missing men should be a source of concern to political leaders and policy makers everywhere.

While the 1.5 million number is startling, it actually understates the severity of the crisis that has befallen African-American men since the collapse of the manufacturing and industrial centers, which was quickly followed by the “war on drugs” and mass imprisonment, which drove up the national prison population more than sevenfold beginning in the 1970s.

In addition to the “missing,” millions more are shut out of society, or are functionally missing, because of the shrinking labor market for low-skilled workers, racial discrimination or sanctions that prevent millions who have criminal convictions from getting all kinds of jobs. At the same time, the surge in imprisonment has further stigmatized blackness itself, so that black men and boys who have never been near a jail now have to fight the presumption of criminality in many aspects of day-to-day life — in encounters with police, in schools, on the streets and on the job.

The data on missing African-American men is not particularly new. Every census for the last 50 years has shown the phenomenon.

In earlier decades, premature death played a larger role than it does today. But since the 1980s, the rising number of black men who were spared premature death was more than offset by the growing number shipped off to prison, many for nonviolent drug offenses. The path to that catastrophe was paved by what the sociologist William Julius Wilson described as “the disappearance of work,” which devastated formerly coherent neighborhoods.

As deindustrialization got underway, earnings declined, neighborhoods grew poorer and businesses moved to the suburbs, beyond the reach of inner city residents. As Mr. Wilson wrote in his 1996 book, “When Work Disappears,” for the first time in the 20th century, most adults in many poor inner-city neighborhoods were not working.

Joblessness became the norm, creating a “nonworking class,” that lived in segregated areas where most residents could not find jobs or had given up looking. In Chicago, where, Mr. Wilson carried out his research, employers wrote off the poor by not advertising in places where they could see the ads. The situation was so grave in 1996 that he recommended the resurrection of a Works Progress Administration-like strategy, under which the government would provide public employment to every American over 18 who wanted it.

The stigmatization of blackness presents an enormous obstacle, even to small boys. Last year, for example, the Department of Education reported that black children were far more likely to be suspended from school — even from preschool — than white children. Federal cases also show higher rates of public school suspensions for minority students than for white students for identical behavior, suggesting that racial discrimination against black males starts very early in life.

The sociologist Devah Pager, a Harvard professor who has meticulously researched the effect of race on hiring policies, has also shown that stereotypes have a powerful effect on job possibilities. In one widely cited study, she sent carefully selected test applicants with equivalent résumés to apply for low-level jobs with hundreds of employers. Ms. Pager found that criminal convictions for black men seeking employment were virtually impossible to overcome in many contexts, partly because convictions reinforced powerful, longstanding stereotypes.

The stigma of a criminal record was less damaging for white testers. In fact, those who said that they were just out of prison were as likely to be called back for a second interview as black men who had no criminal history at all. “Being black in America today is just about the same as having a felony conviction in terms of one’s chances of finding a job,” she wrote in her book, “Marked: Race, Crime and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration.” 

In recent months, the many grievous cases of unarmed black men and boys who were shot dead by the police — now routinely captured on video — show how the presumption of criminality, poverty and social isolation threatens lives every day in all corners of this country. (Bold emphasis & color inserted by OneWorld)

Citizens Respond / Comments: There were 485 comments posted before the comment section in the NY Times was closed. As always, many of the comments are thoughtful, provocative, illuminating as well as annoying.

1) Is it about tolerance and inclusion? Or intolerance and exclusion? Is it about increasing the size of the tent? Or decreasing the welcome…

2) Poverty and lack of opportunity are, I think what should be discussed. Where I live there is a blue collar city that like so many American…

3)  The problem of “missing” black men is part of a broader American malaise. Who benefits from their “forcing out”? How is the criminalization…

485 Comments- Readers shared their thoughts on this article. The comments section is closed. To send a letter to the editor, write to

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement.  We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light and are beneficial to many in our communities.  Learn more about us at our web site:  and visit our Civic Engagement section at: We are about Civic Engagement & Public Good.  Our programs, forums and blogs are intended as constructive contributions to the Greater New Haven and the broader CT community. – OneWorld’s YouTube – See us also on:

Please share our information with others.  Watch our informative television programs on your public access channels: Frontier (formerly AT&T), Channel 99, drop down; Charter Communications Chan. 21, and Comcast (Xfinity) Channels 10, 15, 18 & 26.

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SPEAK UP! Help Get Killers Off The Street!

What Are We As A Society Doing About Gun Violence?

We Want the Police to Solve and Prevent Crimes

But What Can the Police Do When Those Who Have Answers Remain Silent? 

We Weep and Mourn the Loss of Our Young People

But by Our SILENCE Those of Us Who Have Information Collude With the Killers and the Gun Sellers.

We Are Blind to the EVIL In Our Midst

We Think Our Silence Will Keep Us Safe – Our Silence Continues to KILL.

And Before Long Our Silence Will Lead to the DEATH of Others

It does not matter much to the Scott family that gun deaths are down in New Haven.

Jericho is dead; someone used a gun to kill him. If one child is killed, or if six people are killed in 2015, versus the 13 people killed in 2014,  to every family involved

The Gun Deaths in New Haven are STILL TOO HIGH.

 Today, April 25, 2015, Jericho Scott, age 16, is put in his grave; gone permanently.  His classmates at Wilbur Cross says he was brilliant and joyful.

 Around this time last year New Haven was reeling from the murders of several young people. There were verbal pledges to stand against the killers in our communities. Police believe the same small group of murderers is responsible for the crimes all over the City. This means there are those who know who they are. Have we forgotten how many were killed by this time last year? Let’s be reminded of those who were buried only in the first 90 days of 2014:

1) Javier Martinez (age 18) was a student at Common Ground. He was buried Jan. 3, 2014.

Javier Martinez’s Shooting Death Sparks Senate Call To Action 1/9/14.  Do we know what actions have been taken so far? What, if anything,  has changed since Senator Blumenthal called for political action in 2014?

Contributed Photo Javier was an environmentalist.  He planted trees; at Common Ground School he was a committed student.

2) Durell Patrick Law, born July 10, 1993 – died January 20, 2014 – New Haven, Connecticut.  3) Taijon Washington, age 17, killed 3/24/14 

Durell Patrick Law        

4) Varnouard Hall (age 33) was killed Jan. 31, 2014.   5) Kyle Edwards, age 22, was killed on 2/20/2014.  6) Torrence Gamble (16) was killed on April 3, 2014

      Kyle Edwards, 22  Torrence Gamble, age 16.    In a period of 90 days last year, all of these young men were put in the ground in New Haven.   What has happened since Senator Blumenthal’s Call for Action on Jan. 9, 2014?!

In 2011, when Chief Dean Esserman took over the reins at the New Haven Police Department, the city was in the midst of a year that saw 34 killings. There were 24 homicides in 2010. Esserman was sworn in on Nov. 18, 2011, and quickly worked to implement the community policing strategy the department has in place today.  That strategy can only be truly effective with the cooperation of the communities being policed.  The NHPD cannot do the job alone.

On March 16, 2015, NHPD announced they had caught the killer of Thomas Mozell; he was the dashingly handsome 19 year-old who was killed on March 17, 2012. It took 3 years to the day to announce that his killer had been caught.  It was surprising the number of officers who claimed credit after that long 3 years:  The bottom line is – one alleged murder is off the street.  This is what needs to happen all the time; that is the only way to permanently prevent what has been happening in New Haven for too long now.  What is a bit bothersome is that the NHPD behaved as if catching a murder is the exception rather than the rule.  Every officer who was remotely associated with the case came to take a bow. The other side of that picture might be that it is rear that they succeed, so they felt pleased that something was accomplished.  They should have this feeling more often.

 There were 13 homicides overall in New Haven in 2014, a drop from the previous year’s count of 20. Further, one of the homicides in 2014 was found to be in self-defense during an attempted robbery. The years 2009 and 2007 also saw 13 homicides.   For such a small city it is frightening how many crimes are perpetuated.  Given the size of the City, we have a large police force; it should not take 3 years to solve one murder.  If community policing is really working solving a murder should not be the exception; it should be the norm.  We all have a vested interest in the police being able to get murderers off the street. We need to help.

Is the NHPD doing enough to change the perception of the department in the community and build genuine rapport and trust? What are the real reasons people –who are not involved in crime — would not cooperate to provide the police with good information? This is what is quite bothersome.  How do we change this so that lives are saved? The police can do a great deal to help many of our young people to avoid going in the wrong direction.  How do we get them together? how do we get back to the days when the police officer was the go to person in the community when things are getting a little out-of-control among the teens? We need to start with the parents, community leaders, elected officials, activists, clery, and all those of goodwill. We do not need posturing and pomposity.  We need people committed to leaving their egos at the door and enter a space with the goal, commitment and plan to make a positive difference.   We cannot afford to continue the way things are. See New Haven’s Murder and Homicide Map since Jan. 1, 2010. 

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Cost Effective Genetic Tests Coming Soon – Thanks to ACLU

OneWorld Progressive Institute (OneWorld), Inc. Presents: 

 A  HEALTH LITERACY BLOG – APRIL 22, 2015  Visit OneWorld on YouTube:

The mainstream media has been telling us about the “Angelina Jolie effect” involving BRCA genetic testing. This is because shortly after the actress announced that she carried a genetic mutation that dramatically increased her odds of developing breast and ovarian cancers, referrals for both genetic counseling and testing dramatically increased. We are pleased about that.  One of the major issues for testing for many women have been the prohibitively high costs involved; another has been a lack of consistent and thorough counseling and overall education for average women. The costs have been so high (more than $4,000 for both genes) because since the mid 1990s, a corporate lab called Myriad Genetics was granted patents on these two human genes.  Why was Myriad allowed to patent human genes that they did not and could not create?  That is the question; fast forward to 2013.

“Myriad BRCA Patents Ruled Invalid by US Supreme Court – Roxanne Nelson – June 13, 2013 Today’s decision puts an end to what has been a long and protracted case. Myriad acquired patents on the 2 genes in the mid-1990s. Since that time, it has become the sole commercial provider of testing services for BRCA1 and BRCA2 in the United States.” Medscape Medical News > Oncology

Myriad lost because for years the National ACLU and thousands of scientists, individuals and groups have been challenging the patent held by Myriad in the courts.  It was unethical and outrageous that this giant corporate machine would have been allowed to patent a human gene that affected the lives of millions. They should never have been allowed a patent.  Maybe if Ms. Jolie and other wealthy celebrities, whose families were affected, had joined with the ACLU, who knows, the matter might have been resolved much sooner.  It was a battle that took decades, while Myriad made millions (if not billions) of dollars and literally caused (mostly) women to suffer; if they wanted the BRCA tests they could only get it through Myriad because it had the patents to the BRCA genes; the cost of testing was prohibitive and kept rising.  Among those fighting against Myriad, at great personal costs and at times risk of jobs and career, was Ellen Matloff, the former director of Yale’s Genetic Screening and Counseling Center.  She recorded an informative television program with OneWorld in 2012: PT1 (19 mins segment)

In this program we talked about the battle against Myriad Genetics.  OneWorld wrote in support of the ACLU’s stance against Myriad Genetics.  Read about the fight led by the ACLU here:

Costs of BRCA and Other Gene Testing, Screening & Counseling Should Soon Be Affordable. We are pleased that Angelina Jolie and Rita Wilson have made their personal battles with cancer public, and that Ms. Jolie’s situation has encouraged more women to learn the importance of genetic testing.  Celebrity certainly has its benefits.   It is important to note that while Ms. Jolie’s contribution is significant because it created high awareness, the main obstacle to follow through for the average woman is the cost of the tests.  This is where the work of the National ACLU and its cohort have been so important; their work struck down the Myriad patents.  We also think it is critically important that community agencies, case workers and clinics talk to poor women and women of color about their family medical history, not only for cancer screening, but also for heart disease and diabetes.  Prevention is more effective than cure. We need to give people the tools to help themselves. OneWorld believes education is essential in empowering the broader community.

We are pleased that the National ACLU and other scientists have prevailed over Myriad Genetics, and as a result, the exorbitant fees of more than $4,000 that Myriad Genetics was charging for years will be reduced significantly; there will now be multiple laboratories performing the tests.  This is the reason that the tests will now be more financially accessible to a broad array of women. Myriad kept appealing and parsing various aspects of the case in order to try to maintain certain patents that would still allow them to maintain control; but in the end, they lost the war. It would be wonderful if Ms. Jolie, Ms. Wilson and those with star power would become advocates for women who have less financial means so that these women will have access to more specific education and counseling for their specific situations.

You can read the real story about why BRCA testing might soon be affordable for most women.  It was written on Dec. 18, 2014 in Fierce Diagnostics by Emily Wasserman

Diagnostics giant Myriad Genetics ($MYGN) suffered a stinging setback in its ongoing battle to keep rival breast cancer DNA tests off the market, as a U.S. appeals court ruled that its patents for the products are not eligible for legal protection.

A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit determined that three patents for Myriad’s BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genetic tests should not have been issued, and affirmed a trial judge’s decision to allow competing products to remain on the market–including those made by Ambry Genetics, Bloomberg reports. The Salt Lake City, UT-based company was the only company offering the tests until the U.S. Supreme Court last year exempted human genes from patent protection.

In 2012, Myriad won an appeals court affirmation of its rights to patent isolated genes related to cancer, but the following year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that human genes were products of nature and nullified 5 of Myriad’s patents. But the court also ruled unanimously that a synthetic version of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, or (c)DNA, can be patented.  However, in 2013 the US Supreme Court invalidated the two key patents.  The ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation on behalf of more than 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals kept fighting and in the end, they prevailed. This is the main reason that the costs of testing and screening will be more affordable.  Ms. Jolie’s situation has proved the benefits of testing; however, women first need to be educated as to the reasons for counseling, screening and testing. 

Ms. Jolie is informed; average women who have heard stories about aunts and grandparents who died from some form of cancers NEED to be educated about how to investigate family history so they can become better informed.  Going to a reputable counseling center is important so that appropriate investigation and screening can be done by competent professionals.  Not every facility that puts out a sign is a facility with skilled counselors.  Making money should not be the motive behind counseling and screening.  We encourage readers to listen to what certified counselor, Ellen Matloff had to say about the importance of proper investigation, screening, counseling and testing:  Cancer Screening and Counseling PT2. Please bear in mind – this program was recorded in 2012:

Below are links to various resources and articles we think readers wll find helpful.  Please share them with others.

Myriad BRCA Patents Ruled Invalid by US Supreme Court – Roxanne Nelson – June 13, 2013 Medscape Medical News > Oncology

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement.  We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light and are beneficial to many in our communities.  Learn more about us at our web site:  and visit our web health section at:  Please share our information with others.  Watch our informative television programs on your public access channels: Frontier (formerly AT&T), Channel 99, drop down; Charter Communications Chan. 21, and Comcast (Xfinity) Channels 10, 15, 18 & 26. 

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A Complete Organ Donor Can Save 9 Lives: The Ultimate Gift

A 14-Year-old Bailey Middle School student got a chance to live a normal life. A generous family donated the heart of a loved one who died so that Rajay Linton can live.  It is a very thoughtful and loving gesture of kindness.

West Haven teen doing OK after heart transplant, says he is looking forward to playing basketball (By Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register -April 15, 2015)

April is National Organ & Tissue Donor Awareness Month. Nationally, African Americans represent 36 percent of those who are waiting for a kidney transplant. African Americans are 13.6 percent of the national population.  See below for more information about organ donation

Rajay Linton is only 14 years old; he attends Bailey Middle School, but he needed a new heart if he was to continue living.  And yes, the urban myth not withstanding, many African Americans (or black people) need and get organ transplants.  This is why it is so critical that more African Americans become donors and be receptive to getting information about organ donation.

    WEST HAVEN >> Rajay Linton of West Haven — a new, transplanted heart beating strongly in his 14-year-old chest — relaxed and recovered in his New York City hospital room Wednesday afternoon after successful surgery that began in the wee hours and continued well into morning, his aunt said.

“Everything went great!” a happy, relieved Blossom Linton, Rajay’s aunt and adoptive mother, said by phone from New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. “It’s a burden lifted,” although she added, “I knew that everything was going to be OK.”

“It went well,” Linton said. “The doctor said it went well from a surgical standpoint. … We are excited!”

Rajay, a seventh-grader at Harry M. Bailey Middle School, “said he was looking forward to playing basketball” once he recovers, Linton said.  According to Linton, medical personnel began prepping Rajay for surgery after 1:30 a.m. The surgery began about 4:30 a.m.; the family was informed that doctors had removed Rajay’s old, damaged heart about 6 a.m. and finished putting in the new one at about 8 a.m., she said.

While she was talking on the phone, one of Rajay’s doctors came by to update her on his condition. “The doctor said everything is going great,” she said. “Everything is good! “The doctors here are great!” she said.

The family went to New York for the surgery, and had hundreds of families in West Haven and beyond pulling for Rajay.

Many wished Rajay good luck and offered their prayers — both for Rajay and the family of the child who died so he might live — on several West Haven-related social media sites, including the Register’s “Westies Watch,” the “West Haven Bullytin” and the “West Haven — The Way It Is” Facebook pages.

A recent crowdfunding campaign that Linton organized has raised $6,448 to date to help ensure that the family, which does have insurance, doesn’t get stretched too thin when Linton has to take time off from her job during Rajay’s recovery, which would take several months.

April is also National Organ Donation Month.  A single complete donor can save the lives of 8 or sometimes 9 people, and enhance the quality of life for dozens more.  Nationally, there are more than 123K people waiting for organ transplants; in CT, as of April 10, 2015, there were 1,262 people waiting for a kidney transplant, and another 20 who are waiting for a combined kidney and pancreas transplant; there are 165 waiting for a liver, and there are 38 people waiting for a heart transplant. What are the chances that those waiting for heart and liver will get a timely gift?  A transplant greatly enhances the quality of life for kidney recipients (by removing them from dialysis) and reducing the cost of health care in the long term.

For those waiting for a heart, pancreas or liver transplant it is the difference between life and death within a given length of time. There is a need for greater receptivity to educational information about organ donation within the African American and black community overall; too many myths prevail.  There is a much greater need for everyone to be willing to be organ and tissue donors by signing the consent on your drivers license renewal form. The ability to Save Lives is a GIFT.
Years ago, those of us who worked in the transplant field had a slogan that said:  Don’t take your organs to Heaven because Heaven knows that we need them here.
There was a Historic eight-person kidney transplant at Yale this year.  Read about that here:

There are thousands of people of all ages in Connecticut (and all across America) who are alive and doing well today only because dozens of famlies said yes to organ donation.   There are many who qulaity of life has been greatly enhance due to tissue grafts and cornea transplant.  There are those who are 5, 10, 15 and up to 30 years post transplant.  and there have been those who got an additional 8 to 18 years of life because they got a transplant.  A friend wanted to see her children become adults and  be able to take care of themselves; she got that opportunity because of a heart transplant that gave her an additional 19 years of life.  Families who donate the organs of loved ones are always pleased when they meet the recipients of those organs.  Meetings can be arranged (through mutual agreements) by the transplant (OPO) professionals.

Among the tissues donated are: Blood, bones/tendons, corneas, heart valves, marrow/stem cells, skin, veins/arteries.  One complete tissue donor can enhance the quality of life for more than 50 recipients.   

Learn much more at Organ Donation and Transplantation in CT at:  Also visit OneWorld’s web site to get much more details about Organ and Tissue Donation;  see recent videos and meet transplant recipients by visiting:

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement.  We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light and are beneficial to many in our communities.  Learn more about us at our web site:  and visit our web health section at:   Please share our information with others.  Watch our informative television programs on your public access channels: Frontier (formerly AT&T), Channel 99, drop down; Charter Communications Chan. 21, and Comcast (Xfinity) Channels 10, 15, 18 & 26.  We invite visitors to follow OneWorld on Twitter:  See program clips on OneWorld’s YouTube – 

And like us on Facebook: We welcome feedback.

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Time to Face the Problems of Gun Violence

Another day, another child lost to senseless gun violence. In a city like New Haven, this is often how it seems. There are around twenty to thirty homicides every year in our city, and on Saturday night, another life was lost. Jericho Scott was only sixteen, a popular student at Wilbur Cross High School. He was shot while sitting in a car with another man, Justin Compress, 20. Scott was later announced dead at the hospital, while New Haven police say Compress is in stable condition.

Sunday morning saw popular social media sites like Instagram and FaceBook flooded with condolence messages for Jericho, from fellow classmates and students around New Haven. A feeling of solidarity accompanies these photos and messages— we, the young people of this city, are tired of waking up to news of dead classmates, family members, and friends. It’s time for something to change. Jericho Scott had his whole life ahead of him, as did Javier Martinez, as did the children of Sandy Hook. Gun violence in America cannot simply be ignored— what will it take for people to realize that we need some kind of control? While, when we hear of mass shootings, it might be tempting to clutch our weapons close for comfort, this doesn’t solve the problem; it only makes it worse. With the deaths of children in communities across America people have to realize that guns are the problem, not the solution.

So, with the shooting of Jericho Scott fresh in our minds, it’s time to rally the youth of New Haven. It’s our city, and we want to see our classmates and friends graduate from high school and go on to live their lives. Gun violence must be stopped, to save not only lives, but New Haven’s future.

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