Community

Coalition Addresses Health Inequities in Wards 7, 8

On Sept. 10, a health revolution began to take shape in the form of community outrage at the lack of equitable health care access, lack of adequate food access by way of grocery store convenience, and the apparent lack of the readily available emergency/trauma hospital care for the approximately 161,000 citizens of Ward 7 and 8.

The Healthy DC and Me Coalition charter members came together at Mayfair Mansions Community Center for an event hosted by Charles Eaves, community leader of Bridging the Gap Coalition, Rhonda Hamilton of MI Mothers Keeper, Stuart Anderson of Don’t Mute My Health DC, Joshua Ross and Ms. Mambia of the National African American Wellness Walk Committee, Menyon Douglas of the Green Scheme, Mr. Browner of The Floating Yogi, Jeff McCauley of the Community Preservation Development Corp (CPDC), and 100 Fathers Inc. CEO Franklyn Malone, the national honorary chairman from D.C. of the National AAWalk.

Ross gave spirited comments about the need for better health care and the mission and goals of the National African American Wellness Walk. The committee called attention to the lack of health care, especially for Black men, on Sept. 21 during the National African American Wellness Walk at Anacostia Park.

The committee understands even though the walk is over, the fight for better health care must continue on a new level with renewed passion, focused strategy and veracity of purpose.

“We do not need or want to die needlessly but we must wake up and fight like hell for life,” Malone said.

The collaboration of key organizations must be the mission for this health crises and it must clearly be in the hands of the people to drive the emergency nature of these impending health deficits forward for action not continued prolonged debate.

As Malone stated in his comments before the Healthy DC and Me Committee at the Mayfair Community Room, “We propose a blueprint for a referendum moving forward honoring work already on the table but not yet fully funded, that must consider five points as extrapolated from the Blueprint for Peace”:

1. Community: This health care crisis can only be solved as we include seniors with fight left, youth who are aware, families, and those currently affected by this looming health care crisis.

2. Equity: We must be willing to acknowledge the inequitable toll of lack of sufficient health care access, the need for nutritional support, the need for grocery access and trauma equipped institutions and hospitals such as free-standing emergency facilities to treat those inflicted by violence and health emergencies and lack of services to Black people due to economic discriminatory exclusionary practices that persist today.

3. Individual and Community Resilience: We must acknowledge the impact and trauma caused by the lack of adequate life-saving resources east of the river and its effect on children, families and neighborhoods.

4. Action: We must be rooted in a public health approach that involves prevention, intervention and innovation where health care, nutritional access, grocery access, and hospital care is made available using every economic, political, legislative and social means possible.

5. The church: Bring them to the table — Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Moors, Masons, Greeks, et al., together in one voice.

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