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Takeaways from the Voices for Healthy Kids Summit

Written by
Laura Coleman, Media Advocacy Manager, Voices for Healthy Kids
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The Voices for Healthy Kids Summit, held in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico from September 20-21, allowed us to come together to learn, grow and become better advocates as we strive for equitable policy changes that make children and communities healthier. As is a critical component of all Voices for Healthy Kids meetings, our event does not just take place at a location, but the location is part of the Summit. The community and its experiences are central to the event. From the vibrant Latino and Chicano communities to the historical and present experiences of the Native American cultures.  

I have to say that I was super excited to come, even just driving in, the scenery is amazing, and it set the tone for an honest and open conversation to be grounded culturally in where we are in time and in history that has been here as well. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a conference that has really grounded us in where we are. 

-Julia Zammith, Rodel Foundation of Delaware

The summit is built around the goal that together we must address the inequities and racism that exist in current systems and policies and have intentionally marginalized or excluded some communities. We explored equity and each of our roles in building equitable campaigns and policy change. We examined how to better center community in our work because we know that by trusting, supporting, and investing in the people and places experiencing the greatest inequities, barriers that stand in the way of healthy, thriving children and families everywhere can be removed.  

Denise Barretto, entrepreneur, TEDx speaker and public servant, ignited us to action, wherever we are on our own leadership journey, as she presented our keynote, Bring Your Brave Face, We’re Talking Race, Equity and Bias in Advocacy. Our agenda included interactive, engaging, and varied sessions including plenaries, panels and breakout sessions that dig into real-world experiences and best practices of campaigns around the country. Those sessions were:  

  • "Advocate like A Mama" with Mothering Justice 

  • "Engaging Together- How LGBTQ+ Orgs & You Can Fight for Health Equity" with Equality Ohio 

  • Presentations from American Indian Cancer Foundation and National Council of Urban Indian Health 

  • "Jemez Principles" with Richard Moore 

  • "Using the Power Prism to Maximize Impact" with Voices for Healthy Kids 

  • "Relationships Matter! Developing Faith-Based Alliances & Winning Campaigns Together for Health Justice" with PennEnvironment and Black Church Center for Justice and Equality 

  • "Getting to Yes- Engaging Grassroots & Grass Tops to influence Decision Makers" with Cultiva La Salud and Roots of Change and with NOLA Food Policy and BREADA 

  • "Putting the Pieces Together" with Voices for Healthy Kids 

“I have been to my fair share of conferences and summits. I have about 10-11 years in my public relations career and out of all the events, all of the conferences I’ve attended thus far, this has to be one of the best summits that I’ve ever been present for.” 

Jaylen Christie, Bernadette Davis Communications 

Voices for Healthy Kids is committed to working with leaders from around the country to make every day healthier for every child. See you next time! 

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