The COVID-19 pandemic, the racial justice uprisings of 2020, and the onslaughts of anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion legislation at the state level – and soon possibly at the federal level – have spotlighted the health inequities that persist across the United States. While these inequities and impacts of white supremacy continue to cause deep harms, partners working in the Voices for Health Justice program are making significant inroads to push back against such injustices. Over the last year, Voices for Health Justice state advocates have been working tirelessly to enact health system changes that are rooted in health equity and racial justice that aim to reduce these disparities and make quality, equitable health care affordable and accessible for all.
We are thrilled to share with you a video that celebrates the accomplishments of the Voices for Health Justice partners over the last year and a half! Press play below to watch:
The Voices for Health Justice project’s work focuses on three main areas: health care access, affordability of care, and improving the ability of the health system to treat all people with dignity. The project is overseen by Community Catalyst and our partners on the steering committee: Community Change and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Voices for Health Justice consists of a cohort of nearly 100 state and community-based partners that span 25 projects across 24 states.
Our Voices for Health Justice partners are working on a number of health justice issues, ranging from “Cover All Kids” – a campaign to extend health care coverage to all children regardless of immigration status – to Medicaid expansion, birth equity, organizing community health workers, and so much more. All Voices for Health Justice projects have a strong racial justice framework and recognize that health justice work must be rooted in race equity in order to truly respond to and challenge systems of oppression that have structurally kept care out of the hands of people who need it the most.
Voices advocates are now on their second year of the project, and as a collective, have secured numerous organizing and policy victories. For example, Colorado partners achieved historic protections for reproductive rights and access to health care, Illinois expanded health care coverage to all adults 42 and older regardless of immigration status and Maine advocates organized the first healthcare-focused coalition for immigrant rights policy change in Maine. Georgia partners established Voices for a Healthy Georgia, a leadership program to build community power and advance health equity and Oregon advocates secured significant investments for mental health services to meet the needs of communities across the state. Read more first year outcomes here.
The Voices for Health Justice team is excited to continue this work in pursuit of Community Catalyst’s broader mission as it relates to our recently released Strategic Plan. Our values of Race Equity & Health Justice, Boldness & Action, Collaboration & Humility, Learning & Adaptability, and Transparency & Integrity are woven throughout this project and we are thrilled to share the work of our partners to advance the health justice movement. Stay tuned for more updates from Community Catalyst and our partners as we continue onward in this second year of the program!