FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2021
Michael K. Frisby
Statement by Dr. Gail C. Christopher, Executive Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity
NATIONAL DAY OF RACIAL HEALING CELEBRATES THE VOICES IN AMERICA CALLING FOR UNITY AND PEACE
Dr. Christopher’s Complete Video Message is HERE
WASHINGTON – “The National Collaborative for Health Equity has a vision and a mission to eliminate health inequities and to help create conditions that will allow all people to experience optimal health and well-being. But we know that the biggest barrier to achieving that mission is racism. And so, as part of our work, we are helping this country to overcome racism and its harmful legacy. Today is the 6th annual National Day of Racial Healing. Why focus a day on racial healing? Because we need to lift up the voices for unity, for peace, for engaging communities in the process of learning how to see ourselves in the face of the perceived other. America was built on a fallacy, on a hierarchy of human value. In the early centuries of this country that belief system was enacted through the decimation and the taking of the lands of indigenous people, the forced enslavement of African people, immigration policies that were based on that racial hierarchy.
“This notion of racism is built into the systems and structures of our society. And to a large measure, we’re in denial about that as a root cause and a root threat to the very viability of our democracy. Now, if you turn on the news these days, you’ll hear whispers about the possibility of a civil war. You’ll also hear about surveys that say that a large number of people think that political violence is okay.
“I want us to recognize that we have the power to quiet those voices. We have the power to come together as a society and actualize the core tenets of our democracy. All people were created equal and all people should have an equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But that will only happen when all people, and certainly the majority of people, actually commit to that as our primary work. And that’s what the National Day of Racial Healing is about. It’s about paying attention to the unfinished business of creating an equitable society. It’s about working to eliminate the permission to devalue some people and value others based on superficial characteristics. And it’s about creating structures of opportunity and putting in place practices that understand the complexity of that work.
“We created the National Day of Racial Healing to fall every year one day after we celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr holiday. Why is that? Because it’s a day that we set aside to pay attention to the reasons Dr. King both lived and died to help us as a country believe that we could create the Beloved Community. And, the Beloved Community is built on valuing all people equally.
“I’m excited that our national partners are also committed to this work. Over 300 organizations are supporting the call for the creation of a National Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT). Many communities are implementing a version of the TRHT process. I define racial healing as our individual and collective efforts to eliminate the belief in the false hierarchy of human value. And most importantly, to replace that belief with a reverence and respect and regard for our interconnectedness and learning how to see ourselves in the face of the other or the perceived other. That’s learning how to be empathetic, how to be compassionate and how to translate that empathy and compassion into standing up for justice in this country and for fair and equitable opportunities.
“Voices are calling for unity and peace, calling for embracing our full humanity as a society, the full humanity of all of us. And we know that we must do this for ourselves and for future generations. Our democracy depends on our collective effort to heal and to transform. I hope this National Day of Racial Healing is an important day for you because you recognize the primacy of this work.”
Download PDF Version HERE.
Public Health Institute: Press Release
Thirteen major philanthropic foundations have pooled resources to launch Together Toward Health, a $20 million initiative to stop the spread of coronavirus and strengthen health and resilience in California’s most impacted communities. Supporting foundations include: The Ballmer Group, Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Health Care Foundation, Genentech, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The Sierra Health Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Weingart Foundation (Read more).
Achieving health equity requires eliminating racism. We are supportive of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s ongoing and long-standing leadership on issues of racial justice and equity. She has introduced a resolution calling for the creation of a US Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Commission. We at National Collaborative for Health Equity encourage you to educate decision makers about this important effort and raise your voices in support. Please see the related press kit and supporting documents below.
June 1, 2020
Statement by Dr. Gail C. Christopher, Executive Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity
AMERICA URGENTLY NEEDS TRUTH, RACIAL HEALING, AND TRANSFORMATION TO BRING UNITY, EQUITY AND RACIAL HEALING TO OUR NATION
“Today, the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE) enthusiastically applauds the House Resolution urging that a United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) be established. As cited in the Resolution, a devastating belief in racial hierarchy has fueled injustices against populations of color for centuries. It has resulted in structurally-based inequities in America’s systems, particularly biased healthcare that diminishes our well-being, and patterns of discrimination in public policies and private practices throughout our society. NCHE believes that a TRHT Commission can help jettison the hierarchy of human value and launch a new era where all human beings are valued and have the capacity to see ourselves in one another.
“NCHE envisions a TRHT Commission that will facilitate racial healing and shape policies and practices that will change community narratives, broaden the understanding that Americans have for their diverse experiences, and encourage communities to unite and work together towards policies that benefit everyone. As a nation, it is imperative that we acknowledge the inequities of the past, their persistence today, and then act earnestly to heal the wounds and move forward. The TRHT Commission can lead our nation in addressing this unfinished business. Americans can come together, to collectively help change attitudes and beliefs, hearts and minds and transform our country into one that embodies equity and fairness for all people. The TRHT Commission can help us hold each other accountable as the healing work proceeds in our homes, workplaces, schools, neighborhoods and places of worship. We can make a solemn commitment to unifying the nation, rejecting racism, and finding strength, not resentment, in our differences.
“In recent weeks, as COVID-19 disproportionately infected and killed people of color, it has become even more clear that racism and the belief in a hierarchy of human value has accelerated barriers to health, housing, education and economic opportunities in communities of color, creating environments where the coronavirus can spread. Further, unarmed people of color continue to be targeted by citizens and law enforcement, and are being killed at alarming rates. But the US Commission on TRHT can help build a path towards real change for our nation, thereby helping eliminate conditions that are determinants of poor health outcomes. These conditions include residential segregation, concentrated poverty, low-wage jobs, food insecurity, environmental pollution and under-resourced school systems. The nation must collectively examine how the belief in a hierarchy of human value became embedded in the culture and structures of American society, including racial violence and police brutality. Together, we can work with civic, government, religious, community and private sector leaders to design and implement effective actions to permanently uproot racism, replacing it with actualized principles, policies and practices of equity.
“This is a path towards assuring dignity and respect among populations, transforming societies to move beyond differing races, religions, ethnicities and conflict to embracing unity and a connected-approach towards creating environments where everyone, and especially children, can have equal opportunities and thrive. This work is all more urgent now, as most of our nation’s young children are children of color. Our collective futures are at stake.”
(The proposed U.S. Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) is informed by ongoing TRHT work on college campuses and in several US cities. Originally funded in 2017 by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and several other philanthropies, this model and framework for action was created by Dr. Gail C. Christopher while she served as senior advisor and Vice President for TRHT at the Kellogg Foundation. To schedule print or broadcast interviews with Dr. Christopher, please contact: Michael K. Frisby, 202-625-4328 or [email protected])
January 17, 2019
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
With the partial government shutdown nearing the four-week point, the undersigned organizations call on Congress and the President to immediately reopen the government to minimize any further impact on the public’s health and wellbeing. Several agencies’ ability to provide critical services, ranging from food and environmental risk inspections to health services, have already been drastically reduced or are threatened if the shutdown continues. We fear a prolonged shutdown will cause needless suffering and have long-lasting health consequences.
Basic health protections could be endangered by an ongoing shutdown. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is suspending its routine food inspections except at “high-risk facilities,” and its ability to enforce food safety rules may be sharply impaired as 40 percent of its workforce is furloughed. The FDA oversees 80 percent of the food supply, and regular inspections and enforcement help stop foodborne illness before people get sick. The FDA also will not be able to assess new drug and device applications if the shutdown continues, meaning life-saving innovations will take longer to come to market.
There are also increased environmental risks to the health of the public. The Environmental Protection Agency has suspended its inspections of chemical factories, power plants and water treatment operations while the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is no longer investigating and assessing environmental health threats.
The shutdown is having cascading impacts on the public’s health through loss of income and potential cuts to programs that families rely on for health and economic stability. Access to nutrition and food assistance, breastfeeding support and infant nutrition through U.S. Department of Agriculture programs is critical to maintaining health and performance in school and work. Programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are at serious risk of benefit cuts if the shutdown continues. And 800,000 Americans are furloughed or working without paychecks, which puts their ability to pay rent and utilities, access medicines, and put food on the table in jeopardy. Residents simply cannot maintain their health without stable housing, food and medical care.
Indian Country has been disproportionately impacted by the shutdown, which is curtailing health care and programs for American Indian communities. The Indian Health Service (IHS) receives its funding through the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, so tribal governments are cutting other services and scraping together scarce dollars to keep health clinics operational in the short term. Many IHS employees working without pay are already reportedly looking for other jobs, which would be a huge blow to an agency that has great difficulty recruiting and retaining medical professionals in rural and remote areas. The shutdown is destabilizing Native health delivery and health care provider access, as well as destabilizing tribal governments, families, children and individuals. Services will be cut, and serious consequences to health and safety will be the result if the shutdown is not ended
A prolonged shutdown will continue to put the health and safety of the nation’s residents at risk. It is vital that Congress and the President work to reopen the government as soon as possible to minimize the effects of the impasse.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2016
NATIONAL COLLABORATIVE FOR HEALTH EQUITY AND WAYNE COUNTY, MI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, VETERANS AND COMMUNITY WELLNESS ANNOUNCE COMMUNITY CONFERENCE AND ANNIVERSARY RECEPTION FOR FLAGSHIP EQUITY ADVANCEMENT PROGRAM
WASHINGTON DC, October 27, 2016– The National Collaborative for Health Equity and the Wayne County Collaborative for Health Equity team at the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness announce an inaugural Community Conference and accompanying 10th Anniversary reception in Detroit, MI on November 10, 2016. The ticketed event will be held at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Detroit Riverfront hotel. Funded by a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Collaboratives for Health Equity National Community of Practice (CHE) is a groundbreaking program designed to build the capacity of leaders to identify and address social, economic, and environmental factors that shape health and life opportunities.
In its 10th year, CHE will convene 30 leaders from public and private sectors to engage in conversation and share strategies for advancing equity and opportunity on a local level. This one-day Community Conference showcases how national, regional, and local organizations that focus on improving the health and well-being of communities collaborate for success and features examples of innovative multi-sector policy change campaigns, and programs from around the State of Michigan.
The theme for this year’s meeting is People. Power. Purpose. Working Together to Advance Equity & Improve Community.
CHE reflects the National Collaborative for Health Equity’s mission and commitment to promote health equity by catalyzing collaboration among racial equity advocates, grassroots and community-based organizations, researchers, public health professionals and other stakeholders.
CHE is a growing learning community of 21 teams working in over 27 jurisdictions throughout the United States. Teams work to leverage the experiences of local leaders to create just and equitable communities for vulnerable children and their families.
Commenting on the program, Executive Director, Brian Smedley, Ph.D. remarked;
“Collaboratives for Health Equity teams have successfully improved conditions for health at the local level while participating in a national community of practice which provides innovative examples of health equity work for communities around the country. With a strong focus on understanding how racism operates at many levels to increase risks for poor health in communities of color, CHE teams are supporting communities as they leverage their resiliency and power to advance health equity.”
Gita Rampersad, JD, MHA, Senior Director for Program and Strategy at NCHE, added;
“We are excited to host a Community Conference in Detroit, MI during our 10th anniversary year of the Collaboratives for Health Equity program. A key to developing national equity experts centers on supporting effective engagement and action in our local communities.”
Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, MD, Director of the Wayne County Department of HVCW also commented;
“Public health departments should have an important role in ensuring equities and eliminating disparities in health in communities and be the chief health strategists for what makes their communities well. This Inaugural Community Conference is a perfect example of how HVCW works together with The National Collaborative for Health Equity and other stakeholders to address the social determinants of health and community wellness in Wayne County.”
About The National Collaborative for Health Equity: The National Collaborative for Health Equity was launched in August 2014 as a project of the New Venture Fund to serve as catalysts of the kinds of partnerships and collaboration – between policymakers, researchers, industry, community groups, and others – necessary to create healthier, more equitable communities. The National Collaborative supports several programs and initiatives incubated over many years at the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political & Economic Studies while also working to develop new initiatives to advance the health equity movement. For more information visit http://www.nationalcollaborative.org/.
About the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness: The Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness is responsible for coordinating and administering health, social, educational, Veterans and youth services to communities and residents in Wayne County so they can lead healthy and productive lives. For more information visit www.waynecounty.com.
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