What can activists for health justice learn from history?
Steven Woolf, MD, MPH, national health expert and author of the report Deeply Rooted: History’s Lessons for Equity in Northern Virginia, explored this question during a session at the American Public Health Association’s 2022 Annual Meeting and Expo.
“The first step in addressing racial inequities in any community is to acknowledge the past, with honesty and full transparency,” Woolf said, examining the historical origins of racial and economic inequities in Northern Virginia. “History reminds us that policies of the past literally drew the maps we see today, and that means that today’s policies have the power to change our future.”
Deeply Rooted examines Northern Virginia’s history, beginning in 1649. It shows how today’s marginalized neighborhoods evolved from policies of exclusion that barred access to freedom, property, education, jobs and civil liberties. Today the residents in those neighborhoods, largely people of color, face a multitude of health and economic challenges.
Download Deeply Rooted or visit www.historyfortomorrow.org to learn about policy opportunities to advance equity in important issues such as housing, education, employment, transportation and civil rights.