A couple of years ago I was in a workshop where the group leader pointed out that in 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of 250,000+ people at the Lincoln Memorial he did not say, “I have an action plan”. He did not say, “I have measurable objectives.” He did say, “I have a dream. “
Dreams are powerful. They provide inspiration and direction. I dream of a world where every child, everywhere will grow up to be a thriving adult. I dream of a world where violence is the exception and not the norm. I dream of a world in which people have the means to control the decisions that impact their lives. But, Don and Phil Everly were wrong when they sang, “All I have to do is dream.”
We do need action plans. We do need measurable objectives. We need to build “systems of advocacy” if we are going to hold the systems that impact our lives accountable.
Community Catalyst (www.communitycatalyst.org) is a national consumer health organization that works to build the capacity of advocacy organizations in more than 40 states. They have identified, through their research, the key elements of that system. There are six capacities “…each representing a different and complementary collection of related skills, abilities and resources.” (Community Catalyst 2006). The capacities are:
This is not always how we have approached our children’s health policy work in central Iowa. But, it can be. Through the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation HealthConnect Fellowship we are going to build a system of advocacy in central Iowa. It is one of our dreams.
You need to build a system to challenge a system.
Iowa funders are making shifts to center communities and advance equity.
A needs assessment of Oakridge Neighborhood residents is informing ways to improve health and well-being
An Iowa Doula Project is expanding community-based health care to improve Black maternal health outcomes.
How AMOS engaged hundreds of advocates to push for a children's mental health crisis response system
New report highlights central Iowa Latinos contributions and disparities and elevates Latinx leaders
The Vision Council has led conversations on how Iowa's families and children can be safe, secure, healthy, and well in our communities.
Outcomes from Mid-Iowa Health Foundation's HealthConnect Fellowship, October 2019-June 2021
Iowa ACEs 360 shares this story about how supervisors in the Polk County Dept. of Human Services’ Child Welfare Division are addressing trauma in their workforce.
Teenagers in jumpsuits lying on yoga mats, their eyes closed, their bodies still. This is the image Megan Hoxhalli describes as remarkable for juvenile detention, a place where youth arrive shaken, dysregulated, and scared about their future.