On May 12th, the California Assembly Health Committee will hear a new bill seeking to address one of the major health crises of our time. AB 1357 (Bloom) – The Children and Family Health Promotion Program – will create a dedicated revenue source enabling California to start to address the diabetes epidemic that is impacting our communities with devastating consequences. Comprehensive prevention efforts to reduce the diabetes epidemic in California will be supported through a 2 cent per ounce fee on sugary drinks that are distributed in the state.
California must get out in front of this preventable disease that is disproportionately affecting communities of color.
To “get” diabetes in our communities has become normal. As I travel across California where we host regional meetings from as far north as Eureka to El Centro in the South and all points in between, it saddens me when I ask those in the audience to raise their hands if someone in their immediate family has diabetes. It saddens me even more when I ask them if they have diabetes and they answer me, “Not yet” or “Todavia no.”
We cannot afford to wait any longer to take action.
The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California has worked tirelessly for the past year to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption both in Berkeley and across the state, and we’re gearing up for a new battle this year. We're talking about an urgent social justice issue: one out of every two Latino children will get type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes unless things change. These statistics are simply unacceptable, which is why we’re working to engage our community across the state to become informed advocates on this issue.
After successful forums last year in Fresno, Stockton, Berkeley, Santa Ana, and Baldwin Park, where we presented to over 100 people, we are heading back to Southern California to spread the word about the type 2 diabetes epidemic in the Latino community.
We’ll cover why diabetes has become so common among Latinos, what California advocacy and community groups are doing to prevent it, and how you and your neighbors can join the effort. This forum is ideal for community members concerned about diabetes and healthy food access, promotoras/community health workers, teachers, parents, and local leaders. All are welcome.
The forums are all from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm and will be held in English and Spanish. Dinner will be provided and admission is free.
CPEHN hosted its third town hall meeting today in San Diego to discuss the California Reducing Disparities Project draft Statewide Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities. Dozens of mental health professionals, advocates, and community members gathered at the Sherman Heights Community Center to discuss the plan, which will establish priorities and recommendations for addressing mental health disparities throughout California’s communities of colors and LGBTQ population.
As in the first two meetings in Fresno and Oakland, the crowd appreciated the opportunity to comment on the plan. Many wanted to make sure that programs supported through the strategic plan have the necessary resources to be sustainable beyond the four-year pilot project. And like the other meetings, cultural competency was a recurring theme, with many pointing out the need for more Spanish-language resources in the Latino population.
Another key focus was on the importance of affirming all identities. In particular, some LGBTQ people of color identify as their race/ethnicity first and then as LGBTQ, so it is important that mental health providers (and all health providers) recognize and affirm each of these identities in order to effectively meet their needs.