TACKLING STRUCTURAL RACISM
THE 14-YEAR DIFFERENCE
IN LIFE EXPECTANCY IN
METRO CHICAGO IS
PEOPLE PLACE AND POWER MATTER
"People living in Chicago-area neighborhoods with a median income greater than $53,000 per year had a life expectancy that was almost 14 years longer than that of people living in areas with a median income below $25,000 per year." (Health Equity Report July 2012)
The Collaborative for Health Equity Cook County (CHE Cook County) works to change the maldistribution of money, power and resources that produces this gross injustice.
We belive we can make that change by raising awareness. By advancing policy. By building power.
To achieve health equity, we focus on the root causes of health inequities. Not the consequences.
Those root causes can be found in mass incarceration, predatory lending leading to housing foreclosures, evictions and loss of wealth, structural racism in education financing, systematic discriminiaton in employment, wages that do not support a good life for workers and their loved ones, exclusion of people based on their sexuality, marginalization of people with disabilities, exploitation of immigrants, police killings, and community disinvestment.
Emphasizing personal responsibility and 'choice' as solutions to health inequities ignores the existence of systems of advantage and disadvantage in our society. "Being oppressed means the absence of choices," in the words of bell hooks. Michael Marmot and Ruth Bell observe that "having a workplace free of hazards or having a municipal water supply that is safe for human consumption is not primarily a matter of individual choice and responsibility."
CHE Cook County is part of the National Collaborative for Health Equity. We are a learning community devoted to examining and confronting structural racism, and other forms of oppression, so that all of us can reach our full potential for wellbeing and health.
People power is stronger than 'money power.' CHE Cook County emphasizes people power as a strategy to win. We make alliances with community and labor organizers working to build a base supporting social justice. We create relationships with people from other sectors--business or education, for example, who share our emphasis on the value of fairness. Why is this important? In the USA people with great wealth have disproportionate influence over policies that destribute the resources necessary for people to be healthy. The political opinions of the 0.1% are significantly different than the opinions of 'ordinary' middle-income and working people.
Some of our work over the last few years is on these pages (some with our old name "Cook County PLACE MATTERS) as well as work we are doing now.
In the video below Dr. Linda Rae Murray, Past President American Public Health Association; parent Rameka Aton, Restaurant Opportunities Center Chicago; and Dr. Lisa Green, Family Christian Health Center, Harvey, speak at the April, 2015 South Suburban College screening of The Raising of America on early child development.
Listen to the 2014 interview of health equity champions Bonnie Rateree and Johnnie Owens, pictured in the WBEZ studies on this page.
Be a part of the movement for health equity! Join us by leaving your email address, or sending a message to info@CHECookCounty.org.
EQUITY: A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
Poverty and income inequality increase infant mortality-- the chance that a baby will die before their first birthday (Williams & Rosenstock 2015)
52% of fast food workers, 48% of home care workers, 46% of childcare workers, and 25% of part-time college faculty rely on public assistance to feed their families and make ends meet (Jacobs, etal 2015)
A wage increase would decrease the risk of premature death by 5% for adults ages 24 to 44 living in households with an income of about $20,000. (Bhatia 2001)