In late October, more than 3,000 advocates, activists and decision makers  from across the nation gathered to talk about equity at the PolicyLink Equity Summit in sunny downtown Los Angeles, and Community Catalyst Health Equity Executive Team members were fortunate to attend.

What is equity? It’s a concept that eludes and challenges us, and exists without a common definition. Fortunately, equity thought leaders at PolicyLink have made an effort to develop shared language. What they created is an Equity Manifesto, and it reads:

“It begins by joining together, believing in the potency of inclusion, and building from a common bond. It embraces complexity as cause for collaboration, accepting that our fates are inextricable. It recognizes local leaders as national leaders, nurturing the wisdom and creativity within every community as essential to solving the nation’s problems. It demands honesty and forthrightness, calling out racism and oppression, both overt and systemic. It strives for the power to realize our goals while summoning the grace to sustain them. It requires that we understand the past, without being trapped in it; embrace the present, without being constrained by it; and look to the future, guided by the hopes and courage of those who have fought before and beside us. This is equity: just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Unlocking the promise of the nation by unleashing the promise in us all.”

The Equity Manifesto is a call to action, and has truly inspired us at Community Catalyst as we continue to build our own capacity to understand health equity and our role in making it happen. Community Catalyst’s mission is to organize and sustain a powerful consumer voice to ensure all individuals and communities can influence the decisions that affect their health. Our work began through strong partnerships with consumer advocates from across the country who stood up to corporate interests that were threatening to take us a step backward from equity. It began because we in the health advocacy community recognized that the inclusion of all people in the health system is an essential prerequisite for all to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.

The work we are doing through our internal Health Equity team is to simultaneously build capacity of our staff and the capacity of our advocacy partners to do this work. Health equity is part of why advocates from Maine to Florida to Utah are fighting to Close the Coverage Gap in their states. It’s why we have built a robust learning community where we share template comments for nondiscrimination regulations, and host learning community calls on race equity. It’s why we are proud to shout #myhealthmyvoice.

Our work continues through the present on health system transformation, with a strong organizational commitment to health equity. (Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on how health equity is one of our top policy priorities for health system transformation).

We hope you will join us in this work.

The Community Catalyst Health Equity Team