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Voices for Health Equity

Voices for Health Equity

      

 

We stand for racial justice.

As AB 1726, the AHEAD Act (D-Bonta), reaches the Senate Floor, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) continue to stand proudly with our community-driven movement to advance the civil rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) by calling for data disaggregation of our diverse community.

We stand united with over 120 health, legal, education, and civil rights organizations in support of a bill seeking to identify differences between groups and use this information to develop solutions that will save lives. 

Together we recognize the reality that race plays a major role in determining the health and education outcomes of AANHPIs. Because of efforts to collect disaggregated data, we know health disparities exist. We know Korean men are twice as likely to die of cancer as Asian Indian men, Filipino men are more than twice as likely to die from kidney disease as Korean men, and the rate of uterine cancer among Samoan women more than doubled between 1990 and 2008, but remained stable among Native Hawaiian women over the same time period.

We Call Upon the Governor and California State Legislature to Support AB 1726

The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) stands together with over 110 health, legal, education and civil rights organizations in strong support of better data collection through AB 1726 (Bonta), the AHEAD Act.

Health data saves lives. Only from data collection and analysis are we able to understand who is most affected by certain diseases and health threats. With data, we can monitor when the medical system is not reaching a community in need. With data, we can advocate to create prevention programs that address the needs of each community in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way. From healthcare use, disease patterns, and environmental health hazards, data equips healthcare providers and policymakers with tools to make the right decisions---decisions that save lives.

Healthcare for children, families, seniors, and our communities requires a commitment not just to the individual but to the collective. Proven, scientific strategies, such as data collection and analysis, help us identify and address health disparities. Without critical information on race and ethnicity, we all pay the price.

Unfortunately, opponents have fallen prey to political tactics seeking to create a wedge between our communities. Using fear and manipulation, they are trying to invoke horrible events of our history to make political gains. They are fearful of our collective power, our growing numbers, and our powerful voices.

Let’s stand together for real change. Let’s challenge the status quo. Let’s make our lives better and continue to improve essential civil rights and services that make us stronger and healthier.

Written By: Jonathan Tran, HIP Member. Content reflects Mr. Tran's personal opinions and do not reflect the position of any other organization.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. Like so many other Southeast Asian families, my parents worked A LOT. They took multiple shifts and worked overtime whenever they could. That left the child rearing during those long hours to my “ah kong” (grandpa) and “ah ma” (grandma). One of my earliest memories was a casual day with ah kong in the garden we had in the backyard. He paused from his yard work when I came up behind him. I distinctly remember him reaching into a massive bucket, his face beaming with excitement and pulling out a giant guava the size of my head. I didn’t appreciate this until I was older, but growing a mutant-sized guava in the desert of Los Angeles is no easy task. I could feel the pride he had in this monstrosity of a fruit because of all the labor and time he had put into growing and cultivating it. 

AB 1726, the AHEAD Act (Bonta), is in the home stretch! It is time for us to show the CA State Legislature and Governor that we mean business. This bill will disaggregate health and educational data to ensure that all AAPI communities receive the support and services they need to thrive. We have until the end of August to ensure that the CA State Legislature approves the bill to get onto Governor Jerry Brown's desk.

In order to ensure the bill passes its final stage in the CA State legislature ―the CA Senate floor ―today CPEHN is joining community members and partner organizations from all over California to lobby at the state capitol in support of AB 1726. We are talking with staff, meeting one on one with legislators, and informing our elected officials why we need data disaggregation! The data will be used to measure existing disparities among the diverse APIA communities.

The opposition claims this bill is divisive and discriminatory, on the contrary, AB 1726 has received bi-partisan support and is a legislative priority for the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus---made up of twelve Senators and Assemblymembers who represent and advocate for the interests of the diverse API communities throughout California. Additionally, over 110 California-based AAPI, civil rights, education, and health organizations are united in support of AB 1726.

AAPIs are made up of 48 diverse groups, and diverse communities have different social, economic and educational outcomes that need to be addressed appropriately. Now is the time to make our communities visible! #AllCACounts

Join the movement today:

Last Wednesday, our mornings were punctured by the news of yet another mass shooting underway, this time on the University of California-Los Angeles campus. Two members of our staff were on campus at the time. On that very same day, gun violence elsewhere in Los Angeles County claimed at  least six more lives, and forever changed many more, though these deaths in neighborhoods just miles from the UCLA campus did not receive the same level of media attention.

All these events matter terribly. We’ve sadly come to expect this discrepancy in mainstream news coverage, which downplays the trauma faced by communities most impacted by violence, and the conditions that engender that violence. But this weekend, NBC Bay Area aired a remarkable segment  that explored the widening gulf between the “two Oaklands,” one shaped by economic opportunity and the other by a lack of opportunity, and showed the implications of this divide when it comes to safety and resilience. Rather than viewing incidents of violence in isolation, this powerful piece of reporting examined the broader context of violence.

PI board member and partner in our violence and trauma work, Dr. Howard Pinderhughes, was interviewed for the segment, and elaborated on the community conditions that affect safety:  “You have highly impacted poor communities, where businesses have left, where government has essentially pulled out, and where you’ve had large-scale public and private disinvestment …”  

How can California’s new majority lead policies to ensure equitable growth within local communities? How can we create and implement policies and opportunities that create good jobs for local residents? 

These are the questions people wrestled with during Greenlining’s 23rd Annual Economic Summit, "Reinventing California – Solutions from the New Majority." The eagerness and goal of the attendees, from advocates to government leaders, was clear: To engage in meaningful discussions around equity and justice for our communities, and beyond that, to move forward and turn these ideas into tangible solutions.

One of the hottest topics of the day was the issue of gentrification, evident by the passionate opinions and heartbreaking stories shared. People teared up as they shared personal stories about their neighbors who were like family but now displaced into spaces and towns far away from home. Gentrification. A word that has become commonplace in the last several years but still manages to sting every time you hear it, because its more than a word, it is a system of oppression.

The staff at Greenlining also created a Thinking Lab session to facilitate discussion beyond the very real pain of gentrification, and into a space where we could share ideas and swap strategies for action. Some of the ideas and challenges that emerged included generating political will, changing power dynamics, strengthening renter protection, and developing sustainable affordable housing. Feeling like you missed out? No need to worry, Greenlining staff created some audio podcasts of the panel discussion. Click here to check it out.

Orlando asthma

At first glance, the headline above may seem puzzling. What do hospitals have to do with climate change? Let me explain.

California’s Central Valley contains six of the 10 most polluted cities, according the American Lung Association. Sadly, Orlando (pictured above) is just one of the many residents of the Valley who suffers from asthma that is largely caused or worsened by the poor air quality. Orlando uses a nebulizer, a device that administers medication in the form of a mist, to treat his asthma during school recesses. In the Fresno Unified School District, almost one in five students have asthma.

In response to this epidemic, Kaiser Permanente donated $20,000 to help the school district buy more nebulizer tubes to treat students. We applaud Kaiser’s leadership on this, but it’s only a start. More not-for-profit hospitals need to act similarly, and most importantly, they need to go beyond short-term assistance and target the root causes of poor air quality in the Central Valley, from car emissions to fuel industry polluters. If Orlando had clean air to breathe, he wouldn’t need that nebulizer so often.

Kids Playing Fresno After School

For the past several years, Greenlining has led a statewide coalition to advocate for not-for-profit hospitals to increase investments that improve the holistic health and well-being of communities of color and low-income communities. Each year, not-for-profit hospitals receive billions of dollars in tax exemptions and subsidies – totaling nearly $3.3 billion amongst not-for-profit hospital systems in California in 2010. In exchange, these hospitals are required to provide vital investments that address the health needs of the communities they serve, with an emphasis on building community health and disease prevention. These investments are known as community benefits.

Communities of color and low-income communities, California’s most vulnerable populations, have the most to gain from community benefits when these investments target the root causes of poor health – poverty, lack of access to healthy foods, and poor air and water quality, to name a feInsufficient Dataw.

The latest issue of our Health Equity Forum newsletter came out today and it includes several great articles and dozens of resources.

CPEHN’s Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, opens the newsletter by discussing Health4All Kids implementation. Starting on May 16th, California will offer Medi-Cal coverage to all eligible children regardless of immigration status.

Our Ethnic Partner Spotlight features an article from the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) on two new briefs about obesity and other health conditions affecting the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community.

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