Big wins for public health in Howard County’s FY 2023 budget
Great news! On Wednesday, the Howard County Council voted 4-1 to approve the FY 2023 budget, which includes millions for many important public health initiatives like school-based mental health services, maternity care and bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects. We would like to thank County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball for his leadership and commitment to building a culture of health in our community, as well as Councilmembers Jones, Jung, Rigby and Walsh for their work to make good health achievable for everyone in Howard County. We also want to thank our partners in the Mental Health Matters Coalition, the Streets for All Coalition, CASA and every community member who raised their voice in support of improving public health in Howard County.
Mental health: the post-pandemic pandemic
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year it seems more important than ever that we all recognize its importance. Both local and national data show that indicators of anxiety and depression have spiked since the start of the pandemic, and those trends show no sign of slowing down. For our youth in particular, mental health challenges were already on the rise even before COVID-19. We are only just beginning to understand the scale of the crisis after years of intense stress and loss. It will require all of us to double down on our work, and to step up for those around us who are struggling.
Free virtual lunch and learn for Howard County nonprofits!
It’s an election year, and even though nonprofit organizations are unable to support or oppose candidates, they can still do much to advance their issues. How can nonprofits navigate election year challenges? Join us, along with Association of Community Services and the Howard County Local Health Improvement Coalition, on June 1 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. for Keep Pushing for Change: How Nonprofits Can Thrive During an Election Year, and have your questions answered on the do’s and don’ts of election year advocacy.
Join the Healthier Choices Coalition!
Howard County ranks among the top 10 healthiest counties in the nation – but healthy food and drink options can be expensive and hard to come by for many. Rates of diabetes and prediabetes are also rising dramatically in our community. When healthier food and drinks are more widely available and affordable for everyone, it is easier for all people to have them on hand in their homes, workplaces, schools, organizations and faith groups. Join the Healthier Choices Coalition to help us build a healthier Howard County for everyone, at every stage of life. No matter who you are or where you live, EVERYONE should be able to access healthy and affordable food and drinks in our community.
Fighting injustice: A note from Nikki
Recent progress in Howard County to improve racial equity seems inadequate when we continually witness historic injustices perpetuating themselves. The leaked Supreme Court draft decision that could overturn Roe vs. Wade will disproportionally impact women of color. We grieve for the 10 beautiful lives lost in Buffalo – lost by targeted gunfire due to extreme racism and hatred. And, although we do not yet know the motives of the shooter in Uvalde, we do know that too many young, innocent Hispanic children and their educators died before their time in yet another horrific shooting incident. Our hearts are with the families, the cities of Buffalo and Uvalde, and with Black and Brown communities across the county for these crimes and for the ongoing impact of race and racism on the health and mental health of our communities of color.
Not only must we stand together and condemn hate crimes, acts of violent extremism and racism in all forms, but we must also recognize that systemic inequities that are perpetuated through policies that continue to devalue others. As we reflect on these recent events, and as we acknowledge the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder and the nationwide reckoning that followed, the need for action and systemic change is as clear as ever.
Staff picks: what we’re reading, watching and listening to
- The New York Times: U.S. Soccer and Top Players Agree to Guarantee Equal Pay
- Nonprofit Quarterly: Collaborating for Equity and Justice: Moving Beyond Collective Impact
- The New York Times and Serial: Nice White Parents
- Our Body Politic: Preparing for and Fighting Against a Post-Roe Future
- The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams