On August 12th the Health Equity Action Team held a press conference outside the Guild Theater in Oak Park to address UC Davis’ decision to abruptly stop accepting Medi-Cal patients. Thousands of families were left without reasonably close medical care, and now have to travel almost two hours to San Francisco to even pick up prescription medication.
Ronnie Swinburn #health4all, #ourvoiceourfuture, #togetherwerise, #TransformCA, agency alliance, Building Healthy Communities Initiative, coexisting, community empower, community volunteering, NNC Stories, social change, The California Endowment (TCE), Vota, Youth Leadership 0 Comment
During the weekend of April 15th, The California Endowment hosted a 3-day convening to uplift multicultural and gender equality policy issues afflicted on colored youth throughout California. The event also provided youth with a opportunity to participate and portray leadership in local campaigns as well as establish networking relationships directly between The California Endowment also influencers Like Boys and Men of Color and Sisterhood Rising.
Each day of the event consisted of various workshops for both adolescents and executive members to attend. The weekend conference promoted training, education, and empowerment for its attendees to delve deeper into their ability to take action onto the streets and to the consciousness of government officials. A vital aspect was a series of speaker panel forums held by TCE board members, its CEO and Vice President. They assessed the current progress of individual actions items they strive to promote as a collective effort from all 14 Building Healthy Community sites across the golden state. The conference also marked the 5 year mark out of 10yrs that this massive Building Healthy Communities project has continually established changes in justice and health for all. “Being a part of the California Endowment is wanting to be here, to be attentive, and being respectful also compassionately understanding of the peoples need surrounding you.” Says Dr. Robert K. Ross., President and CEO of TCE, “We don’t just fund the movement, we are the movement.”
TCE also gave youth and people of California a chance to take part in a non-violent protest march beginning at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, where the 3-day conference took place, en-route towards the Los Angeles airport to send a message to political candidates were passing thru the city in order to initiate the alterations they demand out of justice, respect and societal serenity.
Below is a brief video clip of the protest in action;
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The Sacramento LGBT Community Center is hosting thier third annual Big Day of Giving Event! The fundraiser launches at midnight on May 3rd, 2016, and ends that same day at 11:59pm. So far since this event initiated, with the help of local donors, $9-million has been raised for over 500 non-profit organizations in Sacramento, California. Although this year alone with the aid of 30,000 donors, they are aspiring to raise $6-million during the event’s 24 hour timespan for 600 non-profit agencies. They are encouraging many local establishments who intend to donate to take a pledge in regards to portraying their commitment to this special day.
The Gender Health Center is networking locals together to help them achieve their personal goal of attaining 400 donors in order to collectively raise $25,000, showing thier actions of support to the Big Day of Giving. They also are promoting a G.H.C Big D.O.G. Karaoke Happy Hour! Even executive members of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center are taking pledges to donate on this extravagant day.
“I pledged to give on the Big Day of Giving because I know the Center helps LGBT people not just survive, but live empowered, authentic lives,” says Board Member David Heitstuman. “I give because we all need to feel safe and supported.”
The Sacramento LGBT Community Center’s Community Resources Program fields more than 3,000 calls annually from citizens of Sacramento in need of LGBT-affirmative social, legal, housing, and health services.
“I invite you to pledge your support today to keep this important lifeline available to community members in need,” says Board President Carlos Marquez. “Through your support, we can continue to provide space for LGBT Sacramentans to feel safe, welcome, and needed.”
“By supporting the LGBT Center, I know that I am having a direct impact on helping change peoples lives for the better,” says Board Vice President Stephanie Doute. “I hope that you will join me in making a donation to the LGBT Center on this upcoming Big Day of Giving knowing that you reached out and pulled someone up who needed a hand.”
Another great aspect about this event is that for every dollar donated to a specific organization, the individual donor will recieve a bonus boost from the incentive pool of sponsors. Allowing non-profit agencies on the leaderboards to gain cash prizes based on various challenges consisting of Time Challenges, Social Media Challenges, Board Members Challenges, Donor Challenges and a Grand Prize. To donate a person must visit their websites home page than watch the second instructional video provided, which will guide them into what steps to take next and the process. Also the minimum amount a person can donate is an affordable $25! So the Sacramento LGBT Community Center is challenging anyone to support, “the celebration of philanthropy and put your money where your heart is!”
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With the city and state still struggling to provide affordable health care for its residents, many in the area are working to get California covered, or at least spread the word and educate those in the state with no or inadequate health insurance. On Saturday, May 30th, the Joe Mims Jr. Hagginwood Community Center is hosting a Health and Wellness Fair, with some notable politicians and community leaders planning to attend.
The fair, scheduled from 8 am to noon, will include important services like food distribution, information about Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”, and additional resources on health and wellness.
Among those who are attending this free event is State Senator Richard Pan, himself a doctor, health educator, and advocate for expanding health care. Other prominent local politicians like Supervisor Phil Serna, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, and Councilmember Jeff Harris will join him.
Though the fair is over at 12 pm, free eye exams are available by appointment until 4. This “comprehensive” exam also includes a free pair of glasses if needed.
“There is nothing more important than your own wellness and I want to help you and your family get and stay healthy,” says Senator Pan. “I hope you check out my health fair where I will bring a number of resources together under one roof with one goal in mind: to give you the tools you need to stay healthy.”
Anyone who needs more information on the Affordable Care Act or other health care resources is encouraged to attend the Community Health and Wellness Fair, speak with your community leaders, and possibly leave with a free pair of glasses.
For more information, click here.
Featured image from Flickr under Creative Commons.
Hundreds of community organizers, students, labor groups, and more took part in the 15th Annual Cesar Chavez March last Saturday, in order to continue the legacy of the farm worker and civil rights activists who passed away in 1993.
The event began Saturday morning at Southside Park, less than a mile from the Capitol, where a festival awaited the mass of supporters.
Traditional Aztec dancers took to the amphitheater as a crowd gathered, many donning red shirts and signs of the #RaiseTheWage campaign. The stage was filled with ritualistic smoke and beating drums as the Latino community remembered their heritage while also working for a better future for minorities in the US, as well as for the people suffering from violence and corruption in Mexico.
Besides pushing for a $15.47 minimum wage, participants rallied behind causes like immigration reform, worker’s rights, police brutality, public education, empowerment of women, and injustice from the Mexican government among other things.
Student Mildred Gonzalez spoke scornfully of the challenges Latinos and Latinas face here and in Mexico, where she, like many at the march, still has relatives.
“We have to do what needs to be done,” she said, referring to the corruption and violence that is not being addressed by the Mexican government, especially its handling of the apparent kidnapping and killing of 43 missing students in Mexico. “If something is wrong, change it,” she continued.
Gonzalez went on to advocate for higher education and increased representation for minorities in the education system.
“There isn’t anything more powerful than an educated Latina,” she declared.
Al Rojas, former Labor Commissioner of the state’s Department of Industrial Relations, spoke as well, calling on community members to hold the government accountable for its treatment of the so-called “one percent,” the wealthiest and often most influential people in the United States.
“How many CEO’s went to jail?” Rojas asked the crowd, to which it replied, “Zero.”
Rojas also made it clear that it is important to remind politicians that Latino voices matter too.
“We are coming after you,” he warned politicians and corporations who he sees as neglecting the needs of many in this country.
Speakers also included Senator Richard Pan, Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, and County Boardmember Phil Serna.
As the former Labor Commissioner left the stage, the march began, with a fleet of classic cars leading the charge to the Capitol, with dancers, banner-waving demonstrators and the media not far behind.
The march, though less than a mile long, was filled with the waling of sirens from the caravan of cars, cheering, and chanting, “Si, se puede!” or “Yes we can.”
Food trucks and organization vendors waited as the crowd poured onto the south steps of the Capitol Building. From there, additional speakers voiced their concerns to an enthusiastic audience.
One man from the organization Veterans for Peace stepped up in solidarity with the Latin American community, criticizing the amount of money the federal government spends on the US military, money that many argue should go towards public services.
“I’ve been inside the belly of the beast,” he said. He then held up a multicolor ribbon representing the federal budget. The red bar, taking up about half of the ribbon, stood for the military budget, he claimed. The other slivers of color were for everything else.
More followed, with criticisms ranging from the president’s record on deportation to the less than livable wages earned by many in the state and the country.
Professor Dean Murakami of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers responded to the assertion that the resources to raise the minimum wage and build up minority communities are just not there.
“California has the eighth largest economy in the world. One in eleven billionaires lives in California. Don’t tell me there’s no money.” Murakami went on to criticize policies that seem to allow much of the state’s wealth to remain in the hands of those billionaires.
Maile Hampton also spoke to the crowd of here experiences with local injustice. Hampton is currently awaiting trial in what many view as a bizarre and ironic case.
Hampton, a Sacramento resident, is facing a charge of what the California Penal Code defines as “lynching.” During a counter protest critical of police brutality, Hampton attempted to pull a fellow demonstrator out of police custody, for which she spent a day in jail, and will now appear in front of a judge next month.
The event took place just a few days before national Cesar Chavez Day, which is held on the iconic leader’s birthday, March 31st.
Attending to 90,000 local residents and consisting of Medical facilities, health resource centers and even a local school district, Building healthy communities partnered up with over thirty Non for profit organizations to change the current healthcare system for undocumented residents. Many of those thirty originizations already support and provide healthcare for undocumented and uninsured of Sacramento. Health access action, part of building healthy communities aims to change the current healthcare system and extend it to provide undocumented residents healthcare insurance regardless of financial status.
In an effort to build and establish healthier neighborhoods, BHC teamed up with UC Davis school of medicine to empower and spread more momentum and awareness on “health for all”. The CMISP other known as County Medical indigenous services program provided healthcare for Sacramento’s Undocumented low income residents in the past. The BHC always looks to eliminate environmental Barriers like transportation to make primary care more accessible.
According to an article published by BHC, they believe by working with stakeholders, public officials and healthcare systems they can design programs that can be implemented into place that would effectively reduce costs for hospitals, families and Sacramento countyoverall. After recognizing that their was a need for policy change in Sacramento regarding Undocumented healthcare, the BHC set out to change Healthcare and create “Health for all” in Sacramento. Building healthy communities is setting out to create solutions for all of California to create Heath care access to everyone statewide.
The California Endowment’s Health 4 All initiative advocates for healthcare for all undocumented immigrants. The purpose of its recent Health 4 All summit was to campaign for healthcare coverage for undocumented Californians. Many of the undocumented immigrants have contributed significantly to the economy and the communities in the state of California.
It is evident that many undocumented immigrants are scrambling to obtain and maintain affordable health coverage. One of the greatest challenges in our community today is healthcare for undocumented immigrants and the way it impacts their lives.
Although the Affordable Care Act has provided healthcare access to many Californians, there are still over a million undocumented immigrants in California that are still uninsured. Health 4 All is taking steps to ensure individuals are covered. One of the greatest challenges is improving in the understanding of the issues from within communities. Health 4 All works to educate struggling families on the important issues about health care and provides ways to build healthier communities.
The California Endowment partners with other organizations to campaign for undocumented immigrants of California. It takes a collaborative effort to push this initiative.
A hotly contested issue in California, healthcare for the state’s undocumented residents was the topic of a recent workshop held by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. Attendees of the nearly five hour meeting heard speakers from many different walks of life, voicing their concerns and weighing the benefits and risks of re-expanding health care options for the undocumented in Sacramento County. Support for renewing coverage for the undocumented was high.
The county hearing room, nearly filled to capacity for the occasion, heard testimony from politicians, blue collar workers, medical professionals, business leaders, and non-profit activists among others, with almost overwhelming support for bringing back health care for potentially thousands of residents in the area.
After a call to quorum, testimony began with Dr. Sherri Heller, Director of Health and Human Services for Sacramento County. Heller laid out seven potential options for restoring coverage, each considering issues like number of potential enrollees, cost and complexity, and what each option would actually cover. The eighth option, “to take no action,” needed little explanation.
The role of the Department of Health and Human Services in this hearing was not to recommend any actions, but to do its best to lay out the potential costs and outcomes of different scenarios based on its findings. Heller also compared existing models in other California counties. She went on to cite Fresno as an “unusual case” in the state for its access to specialty care.
The seven action-based options on the table offer a wide range of paths the county can take. They all, however, hinge greatly on the implementation of President Obama’s executive order that would give legal status to an estimated 40% of the country’s roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants. His executive order is currently on hold pending a decision on its legality.
Later testimony included impassioned speeches from politicians, notably from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a strong supporter of the California Endowment’s #Health4All campaign.
The chamber was filled with applause as Johnson pledged to do “whatever it takes” to restore health coverage to the tens of thousands of undocumented residents in the region.
“That’s the Sacramento we believe in,” the mayor announced to his colleagues and constituents.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty stepped up to the podium as well, offering his personal experience in the emergency room and attesting to the many people he has seen there who use the ER for their primary care.
“I don’t think you wanted to shut the door on health care for thousands of Sacramentans,” said McCarty sympathetically to the Board.
While recognizing the circumstances that caused coverage to be cancelled for those Sacramentans, McCarty also stressed a point that many others have stressed as well, the unsustainability of denying coverage to so many residents of the county. With the average trip to the ER in the hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars, the assemblyman argued that to rely on those services instead of re-expanding coverage would be “penny wise and pound foolish.”
Similar sentiments were voiced by important figures from across the state, such as Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle, who reminded the chamber of the role immigration has played throughout American history.
“Today’s immigrants are just as important as yesterday’s immigrants,” Valle affirmed.
As elected officials finished their remarks on this highly contested issue, groups granted ten minutes to speak rather than the usual two prepared their arguments.
First up were representatives of the Sacramento Building Healthy Communities, an initiative of the California Endowment, a private health foundation. They voiced concerns particularly for the “barriers” many in the Sacramento region face regarding access to health care.
Backed by dozens in the crowd wearing #Health4All campaign shirts, they made the case before the Board that restoring coverage for the undocumented helped citizens of the county as well.
Pointing out that “disease doesn’t discriminate,” they focused on the fact that keeping more people healthy, even those without documentation, would prevent the spread of illness and help to maintain a healthier, more productive community. For them, the answer is to allow those immigrants back into the health care system.
Following remarks from BHC leaders, Bishop Jaime Soto began with a sharp criticism of the 2009 decision that made this workshop necessary in the first place.
“The silence of the California leadership was deafening,” he said regarding the willingness at the time to let coverage for the undocumented disappear. The bishop also argued that the county had a moral and spiritual commitment to its undocumented population to restore health care access.
The final hours of the workshop were filled by testimony from ordinary citizens who patiently waited for their speaker slip to surface to the top of the pile.
“For two years I looked for a door that might open,” said one immigrant and mother of two who suffered along with her children from extensive medical issues. “At times I felt afraid.” She required a Spanish-to-English interpreter for her testimony, but her passion for the issue did not need translating.
More speakers requiring translation followed, all with personal experiences on the undocumented side of the health care debate.
“I just want to work,” said one man, whose insurance was denied to treat a work-related injury. “I can’t work.” The man had difficulty walking as he exited the chamber.
Despite a flood of support for the #Health4All campaign, it was clear that not all in attendance agreed. One voice of dissent came from Davi Rodrigues, a ranking member of Save Our State in Sacramento, an organization considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be a hate group.
In his opening remarks, Rodrigues began with criticism of the term “undocumented immigrant” itself. The phrase, he said was “dreamed up by people who are in support of illegal immigration.”
He went on to offer an alternative not yet heard by the chamber: repatriation. Rodrigues believes that the immigrants’ countries of origin are “responsible for their own upkeep.” If an undocumented immigrant is in need of medical care, he proposes directing them to the proper medical facilities in their home countries, dismissing the possibility that poor medical care could be what drives many people from their home countries in the first place.
Rodrigues also disparaged the amount of money each option would cost the taxpayers, something his opponents insist would, due to a healthier working population, pay for itself.
“Out here is not your constituency,” he said to the Board with a finger pointed to the crowd behind him. “They’re hard at work. They’re the ones where the money comes from, and they can’t be here because this is a work day,” he added suggestively.
After being asked to finish his remarks, the SOS leader turned his frustration towards Chairman of the Board Phil Serna, whom he claimed did not grant him the six minutes owed to him as a non-profit organization. Serna denied receiving such a request from Rodrigues, to which he struck his hand on the podium, instructed the Chairman to “read your mail next time,” and promptly left the chamber. Testimony continued shortly thereafter.
The views of Davi Rodrigues were clearly not shared by most in the room, as the remaining speakers showed their resounding support for the #Health4All cause. And after dozens of testimonies, the workshop was adjourned.
Although no measures were actually voted on in this workshop, and with no vote officially planned yet, Wednesday’s meeting was an important step forward in the conversation. For the undocumented residents of Sacramento County, basic health care, considered to be a human right by some, is finally within reach.