Over the past 8 weeks, Center for Health Progress staff have been engaging in an intensive, focused period to build our base of leaders in Fort Morgan, Pueblo, and Metro Denver. We’ve been knocking on doors, setting up one-to-one conversations, and have met with more than 500 people. Each day, we hear stories of our health care system exploiting patients and workers to make record profits. We hear stories across race and class that illustrate the ways that our health care system dehumanizes people.
We’re creating several ways for prospective and new leaders to understand our approach to organizing, and to begin building deep relationships based on courage and curiosity, hunger for collective power, and shared self-interest.
Creating Change through Campaigns
Carly Weisenberg, Health Care Organizer, and Dana Kennedy, Co-Executive Director, recently led a training on how to build and lead a campaign. Health care workers were introduced to the process we use to reach transformational, systemic change, shifting focus away from direct service or advocacy work.
We challenged the common phrase “knowledge is power” and explored how power building differs from traditional policy advocacy. As health care leaders move into more leadership, they’re learning what it means to govern a campaign cycle from start to finish-from identifying what we fight for, to celebrating the win.
What the Health?!
Rayna Hetlage, Director of Political Strategy, developed and led our What the Health?! training, which uncovers the underlying truths about health and health care by exploring questions like, What lies are we told about our health and communities? What are our truths? How have communities fought back against these lies? How did we get to our current reality, where patients and workers are exploited for profit?.
As we’ve facilitated this training, it’s become more apparent that our societal ideas about race and health often go unchallenged. Most of us, whether we’re a patient or provider, have been taught to believe that the differences we see in health outcomes are due to inherent biological differences between races–which simply don’t exist. In order to address the root causes of health inequities, we have to shift from thinking about race as the cause of poor health and start seeing how the racism embedded in all of our systems creates poor health outcomes.
As we build our base of leaders, we are creating intentional opportunities to build solidarity across class, race, industry, and geography; embrace our power; move through fears and hesitations; and create the world we wish to see.