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ARCHI Hosts “Health Equity: Race and Place in Atlanta”

I attended the “ARCHI Health Equity: Race and Place in Atlanta” workshop April 25 at the Georgia State University Law Center. ARCHI hosted the program to educate community advocates about the intersection of race, place, and health inequity in metro Atlanta. The agenda included opportunities for attendees to speak with one another about how health disparities impact their work and how to incorporate untold narratives into their professional roles.

Guest speakers included Maurice Hobson, Ph.D. (GSU Professor and author “The Legend of the Black Mecca: Politics and Class in the Making of Modern America”), Doug Blackmon (author of “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II”), and Alison Johnson (founder of the Housing Justice League in Peoplestown).

I found the workshop especially beneficial. ARCHI began the workshop by providing attendees with a core concepts sheet with definitions for the words: health equity, race equity, racism, health disparities vs. inequities, stock stories, and concealed stories. We were told that the aforementioned words would be used frequently throughout the workshop and that we would use the definitions on the sheets as a guide to frame our discussion By setting the foundation for the day’s discussions in this way, my fellow attendees and I had common language to discuss health equity. I decided to attend this event to learn more about how I can better understand the health climate in Atlanta and the common language piece was especially important for me to do this.

Event speakers shared presentations highlighting the history of violent racism in Atlanta, the impact of large sporting events on the wellness of Atlanta’s most vulnerable residents, and the personal testimonies of current Atlanta residents being displaced from the city’s newest surge of gentrification. I learned that understanding the structural and social histories of our most afflicted/vulnerable communities is imperative to eradicating health inequities in our local communities and nationally. In addition to the enlightening presentations, I was also fortunate to speak with folks from metro Atlanta nonprofits addressing housing inequity, legal service access, healthcare access, and poverty.

I made some great connections and I look forward to speaking with several of these individuals to discuss how we can combine our respective efforts. I am also looking forward to reading Professor Hobson’s book “The Legend of the Black Mecca” (which I won a free copy of) and continue working with organizations like ARCHI to expand my understanding of what Georgia Organics can do to continue making an impact in this arena.

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