By Linda Shak, Prevention Institute and Lisa Hershey, California Convergence
June 5th, 2013
The big day has arrived! For the last several weeks, our organizations, joined by our colleagues at California Center for Public Health Advocacy, California Food Policy Advocates, California Pan Ethnic Health Network, and Public Health Institute, have been hard at work on planning our yearly training and advocacy day in Sacramento -- ENACT Day 2013. We will be joined by community leaders and advocates from across the state -- from Shasta County in the far north to the Central Valley to San Diego -- to demonstrate the groundswell of support for creating environments where healthy eating and physical activity opportunities are available to all Californians. In the morning, participants will attend a training to learn about how to advocate for policy change that impacts their communities. After lunch, many ENACTers may choose to visit with their legislators to describe successful health improvement efforts underway in their communities, and ask for their support on state opportunities to improve food and activity environments.
In the Central Valley, young people will be piling into vans early in the morning to make the trek up to Sacramento. And in Santa Ana, San Diego, and Los Angeles, community leaders will be boarding planes just so they can learn together and meet with their legislators to share how they are working to improve access to healthy foods and safe places to be physically active in their neighborhoods.
Over the years, the increasing participation of residents, including youth from across the state has served as a reminder to us as to why we continue to come up to Sacramento year after year to talk to our legislators about the importance of state policy. Two years ago, during the morning legislative training, a Baldwin Park resident and member of the Baldwin Park Resident Advisory Council named Herminio Escalante spoke about why a bill on Safe Routes to Schools matters to him. This father of four said simply that, when he said goodbye to his children in the morning, he wanted to know that he was sending them out into a world that would keep them safe. Suddenly, the bill we were advocating for came to life! At that moment, everyone in the room was reminded why we were here: that state policy has powerful potential to improve walkability and safety in the communities that need it the most. As advocates, Mr. Escalante's words certainly moved both of us and have stuck with us since that day. He reminded us how critical it is for legislators to hear from their constituents about the health issues affecting their everyday lives.
Your voice matters, too. You don't need to travel to our State Capitol to make your voices heard. We hope you'll participate in Virtual ENACT Day. Join in by sending a message directly to your legislators supporting critical legislation in California.