Opportunities to be healthy are the conditions and circumstances that enable us to prevent illness and injury and maintain the best possible quality of life when disease or accidents occur.
These are the daily context in which people live, work, play, pray, and age and that affect their health. Systemic racism and its consequences have led to Black, Indigenous, and other people of color being more likely to experience barriers to health, including higher-wage jobs, health insurance, education, healthy housing, clean air and water, and more.
To advance opportunities to be healthy, Health Equity Solutions recommends:
- Strengthening healthy housing initiatives such as lead poisoning prevention and asthma mitigation programs
- Securing environmental protections so all communities have clean air, water, and soil
- Establishing ample, affordable housing that offers geographic choice
- Ensuring access to safe roads, sidewalks, green spaces, and affordable, reliable, and efficient public transportation
- Strengthening employment protections such as paid family leave and sick leave policies
- Funding education programs that promote high school completion such as vocational training, social-emotional learning, mentoring and counseling, community service, and case management
- Ensuring access to fresh foods through programs by, for example: improving SNAP benefits and “full shelves initiatives”
- Instituting anti-racist criminal justice policies to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system