The Collaborative for Health Equity Cook County (CHE Cook County) previously known as Cook County PLACE MATTERS 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.
What are these root causes?
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.