Health as Social Justice
by Brean Witmer, Program Manager
“Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal rights and opportunities – this includes the right to good health.” – American Public Health Association
An education. Access to healthy foods. Opportunities for physical activity. Supportive, nurturing caregivers. A safe, stable place to call home. Our youngest members of society deserve these building blocks critical to the foundation of healthy development and overall well-being. Without them, our kids are unable to thrive. When children suffer from chronic poor health over the span of their lifetime, the long-term impacts for both them as individuals and for society as a whole are grave. When kids lack just and equitable access to proper nutrition; safe, stable environments; and nurturing caregivers, the consequences have ripple effects. Currently, UNICEF ranks the United States 37th for child well-being. That’s what Action for Healthy Kids is setting out to change.
We are proud to recognize and celebrate the United Nations 13th annual World Day of Social Justice this February 20, 2020. Social justice is central to the core of Action for Healthy Kids’ mission. In order for children to have the healthiest foot forward in school and at home, barriers must be recognized and broken down. All too often, these barriers are the result of inequities children encounter due to race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status or disability. We want to see these inequities evaporate through more just health and social policies and access to the aforementioned building blocks that will lift our children up and prioritize their well-being and ability to thrive. Health inequities are long-lasting and cyclical – in order to break the cycle, we leverage the power of school staff and families to create and sustain healthier environments for all kids.
Our children’s right to good health is as significant as their right to a quality education. When we invest in the health and well-being of our children, through equitable policies, resources, tools and support, our society can thrive. Our neighborhoods and communities become more prosperous and resilient networks that are better equipped to improve life for the next generations. At AFHK, we are working every day to promote this positive cycle of health justice and equity for all students. We encourage you to learn more about how you can get involved and take action to ensure your children’s and students’ right to good health.