Together, let’s take on the new year!
Happy new year from all of us at Prevention Institute. Last year was filled with challenges—from natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires to human-made disasters like threats to life-saving policies and programs. But even in the most difficult moments, our spirits were lifted by the knowledge that you, our colleagues and supporters, were proactively promoting justice, equity, and prosperity for all while also tirelessly opposing ideas and policies that violate our core values. Together, we stayed strong and made a difference!
At Prevention Institute, we’re proud of the successes we achieved in 2017, some of which include:
- We celebrated our 20th anniversary as an organization and deepened our roots in Los Angeles by purchasing the Leimert Park building where we’d rented spaced for the last two years.
- We supported community violence prevention efforts throughout the country, including Milwaukee’s first-ever comprehensive Blueprint for Peace, and community prevention efforts by health clinics, like the movement for community-centered health homes that’s particularly taken hold in the southern U.S.
- We saw legislation we advocated for, including a $4.1 billion California bond to support urban parks and safe drinking water, signed into law or placed on the ballot for voters’ consideration.
- We published groundbreaking reports on early childhood development, mental health and wellbeing, healthy community development without displacement; and health equity approaches to preventing domestic violence.
- We successfully fought off repeated assaults on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Prevention Fund, until the very end of the year, when Congress eliminated the ACA individual mandate and raided $750 million from the Prevention Fund.
- And PI Managing Director Manal J. Aboelata was awarded the prestigious Stanton Fellowship to research models for leveraging public infrastructure investments to improve health, social equity, and the physical environment.
Looking forward to pursuing our vision in 2018
No one expects 2018 to be a smooth ride when it comes to health, wellbeing, and equity. But we do expect—and plan to actively participate in—unhesitating resistance against any politicians’ efforts to scale back programs that help people meet their basic human needs and protect the most vulnerable in our society. At the same time, we fully intend to insist on a future in which ALL communities are safe and healthy, and believe that opportunities for progress are very much available at the state and local level.
You have supported this work in every way, and we are committed to carrying it out with you throughout 2018 and beyond, because we know quite simply that we can’t be safe and healthy without high quality, community-level prevention.
In 2017, PI joined with dozens of other community organizations to develop a document called Maintaining Our Gains, Leading into the Future, which was meant to be a bold statement of our vision of health, safety, and equity in California. As we embark on 2018, we hope you’re inspired by the principles in the document and can use them to guide advocacy work in your own states and cities for a future that is fair, just, and prosperous for all.
• Prioritize community-based prevention and public health to prevent illness and injury in the first place. By changing the community conditions that impact overall health, safety and equity, comprehensive prevention efforts effectively address a range of community needs at once.
• Work across sectors. We should take advantage of opportunities to leverage the skills and expertise of diverse sectors—from housing and transportation to parks and economic development—to build strategic alliances and find common cause to benefit health and wellbeing.
• Focus on health equity and social justice. Inequities in health are, by definition, preventable, so wherever inequities exist, it means people needlessly suffer. Our policies should be guided by the goal of undoing the systems and structures that have created and reproduced racial injustices and other forms of inequity.
• Ensure that all policies, programs, and investments are designed to protect against displacement. Our communities cannot truly support health and serve as sanctuaries if they are not affordable for our working families and low-income residents. We must protect people’s right to stay in their communities while we make neighborhoods healthier, safer, and more livable.