For the Horizon Foundation, equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to live a long, healthy life – and nobody is left behind because of who they are or where they live. However, research shows that some members of our community face barriers to good health, overall wellness and opportunity. This is especially true for our communities of color, which experience higher levels of chronic disease, deaths and disabilities.
Past efforts by other community organizations have tackled race issues, and now we must continue to engage racial equity as a systemic issue. The Horizon Foundation seeks to reduce health disparities and work toward racial equity in health by:
- Advocating for policies and practices that dismantle longstanding health barriers and promise more equitable health outcomes for people of color
- Elevating the voices of leaders from communities of color
- Strengthening the abilities and resources of community organizations to advance movements for social change
Since launching this initiative in 2018, the Foundation has held racial equity workshops, attended by over 300 people, to help provide a common language related to diversity, inclusion and equity. The Foundation also held a racial equity summit which drew 600 people to learn more about equity, to experience “backmapping” issues and to hear from acclaimed author Ta-Nehisi Coates.
In 2019, the Foundation invested in five racial equity grantees receiving a total of $306,000 along with intensive training, coaching and organizational development as part of an initiative to address health disparities affecting communities of color in Howard County. The grantees are: African American Community Roundtable, Association of Community Services of Howard County, Equity4HC, HopeWorks of Howard County and Howard County Chinese School.
The Foundation also worked closely with the Howard County Library System to present discussions with authors including Debby Irving and Richard Rothstein related to race and racial equity. We also partnered with the local faith community to host Courageous Conversations, which support congregations to host discussions about race and religion.
The Foundation will continue to support its racial equity grantees and community learning and training opportunities to address racial equity in health in 2020.
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