On Sunday, August 30th, the Health Justice Working Group held the second of two meetings envisioning a more just healthcare system for America. In our first meeting, we conducted a collective analysis of the current healthcare system with over 40 members and non-members, asking the question, “Who does our healthcare system serve?”
In our second meeting, we envisioned the better world we know is possible. Together we asked the question, “What does a just healthcare system look like?” We envisioned a system with no racial disparities – one that is accessible to everyone regardless of socioeconomic status and provides reproductive and gender-affirming care to those who seek it. A system that engages with social determinants of health and includes dental care and mental health as well. A system that is completely separate from and not at all tied to employment.
These meetings have been part of the Health Justice Working Group’s recent strategies for building power. We have been working to grow our group’s membership, develop our members’ organizing skills, and build the collective capacity of our group as a whole. In organizing our visioning meetings, we distributed the work broadly across our membership and especially worked to activate new members. At the August 30th meeting, 11 different members took important roles such as opening the meeting, framing the session, and facilitating small breakout groups. After Sunday’s meeting, these organizers will contact meeting attendees and have one-to-one organizing conversations about health justice, and what we can do to fight for it.
We know that in order to make change, we have to build collective power, and that’s what our efforts have been all about. Another recent example of collective power in action includes TCDSA cross-branch cooperation and mobilization. On August 24th, a DSA member actively involved in the sanctuary movement asked Health Justice to organize a phone zap against the Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board, calling on them to stop the cruel and violent evictions of residents living in encampments in Minneapolis city parks. This policing is not only cruel, but it violates CDC guidelines for encampments during a pandemic. In our one-day zap, eight call captains guided 48 individual callers in light civil disobedience by calling MPRB members and city councilmembers every ten minutes for eight hours of the day. Though we don’t have the capacity to wage a larger campaign yet, we will soon as we develop power in numbers. In Health Justice’s organizing this summer, we are bringing in new members, developing leaders, and growing capacity—all crucial steps in building power.
This recent growth is exciting, but our work is far from done. We know that a just healthcare system is possible, but we also know it will take sustained work and collective power to make it happen. If you’re interested in joining the Health Justice Working Group to bring health justice to the Twin Cities, sign up here to get connected and make sure to join the #healthjustice channel on Slack!