Deep breath. We have been taking a lot of those in the last few months, as CHC continues to work towards our mission of achieving equity and promoting social justice. As we enter the last quarter of this year, I am inspired by the amount of mobilization and collective efforts to better strategize around the issues facing us today – threats to our constitutional rights, growing income inequalities and affordable housing crises – to mention a few. As the Co-Chair of the Community Prevention and Population Health Task Force, and the CEO of a policy organization, I know that we have some of the most talented and committed leaders addressing these issues in our city and county. In August, I was honored to participate in Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ and the Department of Public Health’s launch of the Los Angeles County Health Agency’s Center for Health Equity Action Plan. You can view a video and listen to the interview on NPR about the action plan which outlines the goals for
- Reducing the gap in black infant mortality by 30% in 5 years;
- Eliminating congenital syphilis entirely in 5 years;
- Reducing hazardous exposures to harmful toxins in low-income communities;
- Improving health outcomes for residents with complex health needs;
- Ensuring health agency services are accessible and culturally and linguistically appropriate.
November is just around the corner and as a life-long activist and advocate, I am energized by the monumental efforts being made to educate and enroll voters to turn out on election day. Systems-change work is what social movements are all about and exercising our right to vote is how we affect change. It is the united voice of individual people, from all walks of life, that make our communities strong. In the last few months, CHC has been training residents in our Healthy Kids Zone project in South LA, and creating strategies with other residents living near the Oil Fields to advocate for healthier, safer neighborhoods. On October 18th, we will host our 2nd Annual Exploration Community Based Research Summit: Tools of the Trade, designed to lift up Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) as an essential tool for guiding policies and interventions. All of these activities are about transforming our communities.
There are times when, as advocates and activists, we feel like Sisyphus, being crushed under the weight of our tasks. These are the moments when I appreciate being reminded, as Obamarecently did, that progress doesn’t always move in straight lines. We have so much to be proud of, from fostering the future of our Youth to transforming communities like South LA into centers of research and innovation.
So, please remember to breathe deep and stay vigilant, because we need each and every one of you to help reach our mission to achieve equity and promote social justice for all.