1) Community Leaders in Health Equity
CLHE was a free 18-month education and leadership training program and curriculum with a focus on equity and health equity that was devised and implemented by Transformative Alliances LLC. This included an in-depth overview of equity and health equity with specific explorations of race and racism, socioeconomic class and classism, gender and sexism, nation of origin and nationalism, and language and language oppression. Participants also engaged in project work to help them understand how to put their knowledge into practice.
Grantee organizations from across the state reached out to and selected the community members who participated from their region. These grantees then supported their participants throughout the entire program. Most regions/grantees supported 12-14 participants, and more than 90 people from across Colorado participated overall. To ensure that participants had enough support, each grantee organization had at least two paid staff members who dedicated a portion of their time to guiding participants.
As a part of CLHE, participants engaged in:
- Convenings: Three- to four-day conferences focused on specific equity and health equity issues. Participants stayed overnight (often with their family members). Convenings took place at different locations across the state.
- Day-longs: One-day workshops to help prepare for convenings and provide specific regional support/attention. These took place in four consistent locations across the state. Participants attended the day-long workshop that was closest to them.
- Midpoints: Two- to three-hour activities that participants completed locally with their participant group.
- Personal project: Participants were supported in developing a plan for a personal, equity- and health equity-based project.
- Community project: Participants developed a plan for an equity- and health equity-based group project with others from their region.
To implement equity values and ensure the accessibility of the program, the following resources were provided for CLHE events:
- Lodging (when applicable)
- Transportation support
- Child care support
- Language interpretation and translation
- Other accessibility support (e.g., disability accommodations, lactation space, prayer space, etc.)
- Help with lost wages for people who didn’t have paid time off.
2) Continuing Track
Devised and implemented by Transformative Alliances LLC, the continuing track allowed participants who completed the CLHE program to further their leadership development and learning. Participants cultivated and implemented a community-based equity or health equity project and grew their skills and understanding. Program topics included but were not limited to:
- Exploring different community organizing models
- Developing workable plans for equity- and health equity-based change
- Building relationships and support networks
- Organizing and facilitating community gatherings
- Community outreach and engagement
- Engaging and influencing policymakers
- Grassroots fundraising
- Community conflict resolution
- Addressing dynamics of privilege and oppression in community and organizing work
- Sustainability, community care and self-care
In its original form, the program consisted of nine full-group, in-person gatherings that were one or two days in length and eight small-group coaching sessions to help people with their projects and community work. Adaptations to and extensions of this format were made to support the cohort due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure that program participants had the necessary backing to complete the program, a grantee organization supported and coordinated participants. This included helping to arrange transportation, child care and partial to full replacement wages for missed work (for participants who did not have paid time off). Transformative Alliances LLC also engaged participants in periodic check-ins. Lodging, meals, materials, interpretation, translation and accessibility support were provided for all continuing track gatherings.
The grantee organization providing participant support was the Rural Communities Resource Center.
3) Speaker Series and Associated Community Events
Chosen and arranged by Transformative Alliances LLC, featured speakers gave talks designed to help listeners increase their knowledge and awareness of specific equity and health equity issues. These events took place in Denver.
To help extend the reach of these important concepts, speaker presentations were recorded and then integrated into three-hour events facilitated by Transformative Alliances LLC team members. Grantee organizations across Colorado hosted these events to support community members in more fully engaging with the associated equity and health equity topics and concepts.
The Body Is Not An Apology: The Impact of Sexism and Sizeism on Our Bodies and Health
Sonya Renee Taylor (she, her, hers) is an award-winning performance poet, activist and transformational leader, and author of The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love. In her talk, Taylor delved into an exploration of sizeism and fatphobia as well as patriarchy and sexism, side-by-side with other oppressions and considerations of health and health equity. This recording was part of Community Leaders in Health Equity in partnership with Transformative Alliances LLC.
Exploring Patriarchy and Sexual Harm: Impact, Accountability and Healing
Sonya Shah (she, her, hers) is a social justice educator who works to seed models of restorative justice and trauma healing in her community and across the United States. In 2016 she initiated the Ahimsa Collective, an organization that works to respond to harm in ways that foster wholeness for everyone. Her experiences as a survivor of child sexual abuse are critical in her analysis and approach to this work. In her talk, Shah spoke about types of sexual harm, their specific connections to sexism and patriarchy, and considered ways to address and heal this harm through restorative, transformative and healing justice. This recording was part of Community Leaders in Health Equity in partnership with Transformative Alliances LLC.
The video below, created by Transformative Alliances LLC, provides more details on the Community Leaders in Health Equity program and its components: