Investing in community leaders is essential
Applications to the 2024 Restuccia Health Justice Fellowship are now open!
We’ve done incredible things when we’ve organized together to change the health system. We got the Affordable Care Act passed against massive opposition, and with that came some of the biggest expansions in coverage and benefits — ever. We have protected — and are still protecting — those gains from endless attempts to repeal the law.
When the Supreme Court made Medicaid coverage expansion a state option, we organized together in states across the country to build coalitions, knock on doors, and tell the story of why expanding Medicaid coverage is so important — not just as a health issue, but as an economic and race equity issue.
Today, we are organizing together to push for Medicaid expansion in the remaining 10 states — almost all of which are located in the South.
For decades, we have organized together to win countless battles at the local, state, and national level — from lowering the cost of prescription drugs and passing policies that protect people’s access to hospital care, to innovating and scaling major coverage reforms like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Together with partners, we have built power by seeding organizations at the state level, bolstering organizational infrastructure, and launching leadership development programs. We have worked to ensure policy agendas are infused with community leadership and perspective, and established grassroots engagement programs focused on issues that are important to communities — from ensuring immigrants are not excluded from insurance coverage, to ensuring people with disabilities are centered in health system innovation policy.
We know that opponents of health justice, from corporate interests to extremist politicians, will spend endless resources and exert tremendous power to keep the status quo — a status quo that disproportionately hurts systemically excluded communities, including LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, women, immigrants, and Asian, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Pacific Islander communities.
We are up against a complex system of corporate interests, and we need an even stronger, more united movement where we work together across local, state, and national levels.
We cannot out-spend corporate interests in the fight for health justice. But we can out-organize them. And we can build and leverage the power we need to make structural health system change. Because the truth is, we need to build more power if we’re going to create a health system rooted in race equity and health justice — a health system shaped by and accountable to all people.
Our collective power is steadily growing: through grassroots base building, by raising and sharing resources, and by expanding our capacity in organizing and digital communications.
And, because we believe what Audre Lorde said — “we do not live single issue lives” — we are working to form stronger connections with aligned movements, including reproductive justice, economic justice, democracy reform, racial justice, environmental justice, and immigrant rights.
Large-scale, systemic change takes time, patience, and perseverance. But it also takes guts, vision, and collaboration among the people most impacted, community leaders and organizers, policy experts, as well as policymakers and health care leaders who share our vision for change.