Tag: equity

Connectors Program Builds Community Power

In a place as diverse as Tukwila, where over 80 languages are spoken, it’s not easy for the city to engage all of its residents—particularly communities who face language and cultural barriers. In 2013, the city began working with G2L and Forterra to create the Community Connectors Program to help boost civic engagement.

Through this partnership, we recruit Community Connectors from groups that the city has a difficult time reaching through traditional outreach. Tukwila Connectors include members of the African-American, Latino, Somali and Burmese communities who have deep connections in their communities, and who are committed to facilitating outreach and communications.

Connectors join “City 101” trainings where they learn about things like how the city is structured, what different departments do, how the budget is developed, and what city council does.

“Knowledge is power — especially for people who are new to the country. They need to know the processes,” said Leadership and Engagement Manager Niesha Brooks, who runs the Connectors program.

Next, G2L and the city work together with the Connectors to identify priority projects that the Connectors can support, reaching out to their communities to seek input on things like the comprehensive plan, housing, safety, and economic development. Connectors also provide guidance to city staff on how to design and undertake comprehensive and effective outreach. These efforts ensure that the priorities of previously underrepresented groups are heard and incorporated into city work.

Community leadership advances community health

The Community Connectors program is key to G2L’s efforts to advance health equity in our region. We started our work in 2010 by asking community members to describe what a healthy community looks like to them. Many talked about feeling connected to their community, being able to access and navigate systems, and having a voice.

“This program is letting the Connectors and community members know that their voices are valid,” said Niesha.

As the Connectors program builds community voice, it also invests in the capacity of individual leaders.

“We want for the Connectors to gain experience and skills,” Niesha said. “They can take what they learn here, and join task forces and boards, and take on other leadership positions.”

Learn more

  • After pioneering Community Connectors in Tukwila, we partnered on a similar program with the City of Burien. Cityvision Magazine recently highlighted Burien’s Connectors program in an article on the city’s efforts to better serve its residents. You can read “A Right to Be Heard” online; the article starts on page 16.
  • Read Community Connectors program descriptions on the Tukwila and Burien city websites.
  • Keep visiting our website, where we’ll feature stories of Community Connectors. To receive updates about all things Global to Local, subscribe to our email newsletter.

The GOOD and the BAD of Technology

Watch out, Seattle is climbing to one of the city top tech cities in the U.S.   With this new wealth, comes both benefits and problems.  If you tallied up the value of all of the housing stock in Seattle in 2017, it would add up to about $645 billion, more than the gross domestic product of Argentina.  Even more remarkable, that figure shot up nearly 12 percent in a single year, compared with 2016.

Ongoing construction in Seattle’s downtown core.

The net worth of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, meanwhile, soared to $105.1 billion in January, placing him ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose net worth was valued at a slight less-astounding $93.3 billion.  Both of their companies provide nearly 100,000 tech jobs opportunities.  Based on a recent report, there are 134,000 tech jobs in Seattle, a 33 percent increase since 2011. And these workers are well-paid, with an average wage of $113,906.   With many jobs opportunities comes many newcomers.

 

 

According to King5 News, nearly 21, 000 people— 57 per day—moved into the city between July 1, 2015- and July 1, 2016.  As a result, Seattle placed 10th as the most expansive market for both apartments and office spaces.  To illustrate, the prices for the average apartment rent in the Seattle metro area at $1,640 per month, a 37 percent increase since 2011.  Furthermore, Seattle’s new median price for a single-family house is $729,000, up by 13.7 percent from a year earlier.  Skyrocketing housing prices and increasing traffic congestion are eroding our quality of life and causing many residents to relocate to other parts of the country.  In Silicon Valley’s case, this resulted in many becoming homeless.  And to add injury to insult, many of the homeless work regular jobs, in some cases serving the very people whose sky-high net worth is the reason housing has become so unaffordable.

Brian Biege, first vice president in CBRE’s Bellevue office claimed “Although rental rate in core submarkets in the region have gone up, it’s clear that dollar-for-dollar, Seattle continues to offer more options than some of the other large technology hubs across the nation” As a result, it often seems like Seattle is getting younger all the time, and there definitely has been a big influx of fresh-faced techies into the city in recent years.  Seattle’s population of 20-somethings living in the downtown core increased by 16 percent since 2010.  Correlated, Seattle is the most educated market in the nation according to the same report, with 62.1 percent of all resident over 25 possessing at least a bachelor’s degree.

Higher education should improve one’s quality and quantity of life.  According to an article from Sightline Institute, “If Seattle were an independent nation, its life expectancy would rank second, just a month behind Japan’s”, Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world of 83.84 years. However, which population does this data represent?

With this new culture way of life, they are many good outcomes and many destructive results.  The disparity in many social, political, and economic aspects of life fall beyond our control as the Seattle’s market getting more competitive each day. What can be done about this growing inequality? And how do you define your role in this community?

 

By: Sopheakvatey Chey

In light of DACA lets revisit the Federal Real ID Act of 2005.

As you consider renewing or getting your WA State ID, please consider the following about the Federal Real ID Act that was passed in 2005. You could help prevent placing a target on people in our community.

 What is it?

The Real ID Act of 2005 is a federal law intended to help prevent terrorism and identity theft. It was placed after the terrorist attacks of September 11th. For 12 years the Real ID Act did not go fully into effect in some U.S. states. Now the final day for anyone to use their regular ID in Washington state as identification for domestic flights is January 22, 2018. Washington became the latest state to seek federal ID compliance and last one left standing in this battle to stop the Real ID Act from going into effect. Real ID is supposed to tie a person’s residency to their identification card.

 What does this mean?

Real ID can be more harmful than we think. Withall thesepolitical barriers being thrown at people who immigrated to this country in hopes of fulfilling their dreams, this can actually be a weapon used to target them. The Real ID Act will individually targetwhois an immigrant and who is not.  After January 22, 2018, they can no longer fly domestically. This is unfair, and we are also seeing injustice being done to our DACA students. The “Dreamers” who came to this country at a young age at their parent’s will, and who know nothing more than this country which is their home.

What can we do?

WA state will give their residents two options when going to get the WA state ID. You can either get the enhanced ID that falls under the Real ID Act allowing someone to know you’re a citizen or resident of the United States, or you can get the regular WA state ID, and also get a passport card separately.  A passport card is a great identification card to have in your wallet. Here is why:

  • Real ID compliant.
  • Costs $30 for adults if you already have a passport book and $55 for first-time adult applicants.
  • Same validity as the passport book: If you’re over 16, your passport card is valid for 10 years. If you’re under 16, your passport card is valid for 5 years.
  • Can be used for entering the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.

Even though the Real ID Act will soon go into effect in WA state, there is something we can all do to protect and help everyone in this state. Go get a passport card or book additionally when it is time to get or renew your current state ID. If you need to travel domestically or internationally, having a passport card will be convenient.

More information:
DACA Resources:

If you or anyone you know is a DACA recipient and is in need of financial help for the renewal application, please visit:

•     DACA Renewal Fund

•    https://unitedwedream.org/groups/#wa

•    https://unitedwedream.org/

WA Medicaid Needs Input!

New Washington Medicaid projects need input!

Why is this important?

Medicaid (not to be confused with Medicare) is our health care program for families and individuals with limited income or resources. Our most vulnerable communities access health services through Medicaid.

Projects like these have the potential to set our standards of care higher. We can ensure a holistic approach to health that includes equity and social issues outside of just health care (i.e. housing, transportation, etc). However, these projects will only be successful with community buy-in and participation. Please give feedback by September 8th, 2017. 

 

Confused by the language? Here’s the low-down.

What is the ACH?

ACHs are where public and private entities come together to work on shared health goals. Washington State has nine, some are divided by county and others include several counties. Here’s a fact sheet for more info and a map of our state’s ACHs. King County ACH is a formal LLC enterprise with an Executive Director.

What are the ACHs in WA tasked with?

A Medicaid Transformation Demonstration Project. WHEW. That’s a mouthful. This basically means that the federal government has agreed to give WA state money in order to test new ways of providing health care and insurance to Medicaid (Apple Health) clients.

The ACHs are each selecting 4-8 projects that they will be testing over the next 5 years. These projects focus on a variety of issues and have been pre-determined at this point. Once the projects are chosen by each ACH they will be monitored and evaluated based on defined metrics for success. Projects that achieve improvements in metrics outlined in the toolkit will be eligible to earn incentive funds.

Who are the people designing this?

In King County, “Design Teams” of medical providers, social service providers, local government, health plans and community members developed the draft project plans.

What are they asking for feedback on?

The King County ACH wants public comments on the 8 possible projects. I’ve listed all of the projects below. The survey is designed to elicit feedback one project at a time and it asks detailed questions about whether these projects will address community needs and how achievable the outcomes seem. Detailed information on each project can be found in the 86-page Project Toolkit.

  • Bi-directional Integration of Physical and Behavioral Health through Care Transformation
  • Community-Based Care Coordination
  • Transitional Care
  • Diversion Interventions
  • Addressing the Opioid Use Epidemic
  • Reproductive and Maternal/Child Health
  • Access to Oral Health Services
  • Chronic Disease Prevention and Control

 

Still Confused?

Well, you aren’t alone. Feel free to contact us if you want to give feedback but need help navigating the form. (disclaimer: we can’t provide opinions but can help define and explain lingo, terms, or context)

How is inclusion practiced?

How is inclusion practiced?

I came across this wonderful article recently, “All Voices on Deck: How Inclusiveness Can Help Define Your Leadership Style” by Rebecca Shambaugh. I highly suggest every person read it. Especially those who want to be leaders practicing inclusion.

Inclusion has been on my mind a lot lately (hiring processes will do that). It’s easy to think as non-profits that we’ve got this covered. And of course, we all use the words equity and inclusion so often that, why wouldn’t we? But these words are such a totem in our industry. I wonder what we miss by throwing them around so casually. The Shambaugh article isn’t written for non-profits but applies all the same – if not more since our work is in the name of social good.

Inclusion Confusion

From my experiences talking with many other non-profit professionals, our

Turns out inclusion is a lot like a community conversation…just everyday.

industry is pretty good at giving clinical definitions of equity and understands inclusion as a way to practice equity. But what does inclusion really look like? How do we practice it? Does it exist in both our programming and our organizations? When asking these questions, I’ve found it much harder to get a clear and tangible answer.

Recently asked what equity and inclusion means to me, I gave the same canned and romantic response I often hear from colleagues. I talked about bringing people to the table and said something about my shoes not fitting all feet. This re-played in my head for the next few days until I realized what was off about my answer. It was a regurgitation of definitions that didn’t speak to mindfulness or action. Many of us solidly understand the concepts and it certainly isn’t hard to intend to be inclusive. It does, however, take action and commitment to actually practice them.

When asked again, this is how I will answer:

Equity must go beyond intent (although intent should be examined–  doing this work out of privileged guilt makes it about you and not equity). It is not enough to be intentional. True equity requires us to engage in constant awareness, have humbling conversations, and most of all – create transparency in our actions. It is a constant cycle of listening, adjusting, and recognizing patterns of behavior and history.

But at any given moment, it should be easy to point to concrete actions – as a person or an organization. We are all, each and every human being, responsible for doing this. And this should be the ultimate requirement we have for our leaders. One of my concrete actions is my commitment to asking for and giving honest feedback – especially the hard kind that digs at my ego.

Taking actions

The article linked above outlines 10 solid actions for leaders to take. Shambaugh includes actions to increase equity across race, gender, cognitive styles and more.

If you prefer listening or watching to reading, try Chimamanda Adichie’s TEDTalk – The Danger of a Single Story. Another great resource that goes hand in hand with the Shambaugh article.

 

-Allison Mountjoy

Prioritizing Cultural Competency in Hospitals

A new article from the Harvard Business Review makes a case for hospitals to prioritize cultural competency. The article speaks to the importance of social determinants of health and addressing an often wide cultural and socio-economic gap between doctors and patients that can adversely affect health outcomes.

Pointing to cultural competency training as an immediate and tangible step hospitals can take, 3 best practices are outlined as the first places to start.

  • Be creative and expansive about addressing language barriers.
  • Be alert for, and responsive to, mental health challenges.
  • Be mindful of stereotypes.

 

https://hbr.org/2017/05/why-more-hospitals-should-prioritize-cultural-competency

Honoring Women Everywhere

In honor of International Women’s Day and in solidarity with Day Without Women, Global to Local is providing a paid day off for our female employees. This might sound like a small gesture, but if you take a look at our staff page you will realize that this really means our Executive Director will be working in an empty office on Wednesday. Yes, that’s right – until next Monday (when new-hire Jojo starts), we are an organization of 8 diverse women and a single man. While this is just one example of many where the non-profit industry is full of women, we still have a ways to go to achieve gender equity, even in the female-friendly non-profit realm. A recent study, Women in the Workplace finds that “women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager – so far fewer end up on the path to leadership – and are less likely to be hired into more senior positions.” Women also receive “less access to the people, input, and opportunities that accelerate careers.” As a result, the higher the professional position, the fewer women you see and the more imbalanced our organizations. This is also reflected in our cultural lens of the feminine “to be” versus the masculine “to do” (feminine and masculine: not to be confused with man and woman).

These management qualities, summarized in the report, might be labeled ‘feminine’ and are embraced by remarkably few women and men alike but exist within us all:

  • leading with the power of language,
  • cultivating relationships, building teams that release the energy and potential of others,
  • building an inclusive organization that “makes the strengths of their people effective and their weaknesses irrelevant”

In the words of Francis Hesselbein: “some might call this feminine management, others would call it the enlightened way that we all must lead.”

For every women and man in the world, I would leave you with this: Gender inequity hurts everyone: women and men of every race, creed, and affiliation. We are being given a great opportunity to bring balance back into the world and break free from the boxes we’ve imposed on each other and ourselves – let’s take the opportunity.

My challenge to you for the month ahead is to read up on gender equity (I’m even giving you a list of great reads to make it easy). Start learning about the long history of women’s rights, patriarchy, racism (yes, racism is deeply tied to feminism – both systems of oppression), and gender fluidity. Read up, start observing, then start a dialogue. Stumped for dialogue? Start with the question: what could the world look like if we started to value feminine qualities more?

In Solidarity,

Allison

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Suggested Reading:

If you can’t find time to read: