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Racial Equity in Public Policy

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The Call for Racial Equity

Advancing conversations with decision-makers and securing specific provisions in public policy

The policies we create—and the physical, economic, cultural and social environments they shape—too often have an unjust effect on American Indians and Alaska Natives, Latinos, Black and African Americans, and Asian and Pacific Islanders. This creates and upholds current systems of oppression, embeds racism in our structures and institutions, and limits opportunities for health, social, economic and financial advancement.

Structural racism is a fundamental cause of persistent health disparities in the United States. That’s why, in 2020, the American Heart Association issued a Presidential Advisory on structural racism as a cause of premature death [1]. It is also why cities and states are declaring racism a public health issue [2]. And it’s why Voices for Healthy Kids is calling on our staff, grantees and collaborators to speak clearly and directly to advance the conversation about structural racism and to use policy as a tool to dismantle it.

We’ve developed research-based messages to use with decision-makers to embed specific racial equity language in public policy because equal (giving everyone the same thing) isn’t equitable (ensuring everyone has what they need).

“Ruffling feathers is hardly new for advocates. It’s why we do what we do— to move one step closer to creating the world our children deserve.”

Lori Fresina, Executive Director and Vice President, Voices for Healthy Kids, American Heart Association

Download the message guide

This guide includes tested messages for advocates to use with decision-makers to secure racial equity language in public policy. We suggest you start here.

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