April and May were busy months in the world of health equity and sugary drink policies. After the launch of the Racial Equity in Public Policy Message Guide and Sugary Drink Messaging for Policy Change: A Resource for Advocacy Campaigns, the Voices for Healthy Kids team dove quickly into sharing and training advocates with these new tools.
At the 2021 Virtual Soda Summit, we had the opportunity to share our new sugary drink messaging findings and work on water access policies with hundreds of advocates from around the country, all working with the shared goal of reducing the consumption of sugary drinks to improve health nationwide. The three-day event, led by Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), featured multiple Voices for Healthy Kids staff members, including Lori Fresina, Vice President and Executive Director, Reena Singh, Director of Campaign Planning and Communications and Allyson Frazier, Director of Policy Engagement.
In early May, April Wallace, Health Equity Partnership Manager, Christine Compton, Policy Engagement Manager, and Terra Hall, Media Advocacy Manager for Voices for Healthy Kids, had the honor of sharing our new Racial Equity in Public Policy Message Guide and other resources with hundreds of attendees at the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) Forum. The forum is the only national gathering for and by funders supporting equitable and sustainable food systems change. The event challenged participants to understand the need for grant makers and investors to take on risks to co-create more resilient, sustainable and equitable food systems— while also providing space to connect collaborators and allies so that no one organization is going it alone.
In addition to presenting at conferences, Voices for Healthy Kids hosted training sessions with advocates, policymakers and public health experts. “Reducing Health Disparities Through Sugary Drink Taxes – A Policy Summit for Policymakers” was a two-part series hosted by Voices for Healthy Kids and the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School. The summit featured an array of sugary drink experts, including researchers, advocates and elected officials, including Emily Broad Leib, Faculty Director of the Harvard Law School Food and Policy Clinic, Larry Suffredin, Cook Country Commissioner, Marcel Pratt, former city solicitor for Philadelphia and Gloria Begay, Founding Director of the Dine’ Food Sovereignty Alliance who helped in the passage of the Navajo Nations’ Healthy Dine’ Nation Act.
There were also opportunities for advocate and campaign trainings during the month as well! We continued our Advocacy Training Series with a Sugary Drink Message Research Overview, a Sugary drinks Messaging Deep-Dive and then Reclaiming Indigenous Health: Collaborating with Tribal Nations and Organizations, a webinar that featured the work of the American Indian Cancer Foundation and collaboration with tribal nations and organizations to reclaim Indigenous health.
As we move into summer, stay tuned for upcoming training opportunities, including the June 7 Aspirational Communications Training, where we’ll share powerful insights from brain science, motivational psychology, linguistics and other fields to help advocates communicate with maximum motivating power. Also, save the date for Voices for Healthy Kids presentations at the upcoming NACCHO and APHA conferences…we’ll share more details soon!