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7 Community Health Rights
You have heard of the patients bill of rights. This is to guarantee a certain level of care, dignity and privacy when a person enters the healthcare system or setting. Unfortunately, it applies to individuals after they are sick or seeking medical care. It does not provide rights that reduce the onset of disease, develop healthy communities and spaces nor does it address health inequity and disparities, especially among communities of color.
H.E.A.L. Has composed a list of rights that all communities should be guaranteed to preserve and promote health. We reaffirm these rights especially among communities of color.
1 Right to a healthy environment,
· We have a right to clean air, land and water.
· This includes the right to reliable, clean drinking water, good air quality. The right to provide input on local land use.
· The right to restrict or limit polluting facilities in our community. This includes eliminating the unfair distribution of commercial waste facilities, incinerators, landfills and other potentially toxic facilities. This right forbids the displacement, destruction or dividing of a community by transportation infrastructures such as highways, bus depots and railroads.
· The right to sufficient green spaces to enjoy and exercise. The right to tree lined communities to improve air quality and presentation.
· The right to have appropriate investment in roads and infrastructure.
· The right to a government who invest in and evaluated reduction strategies to climate change.
· The right to knowledge of and resources for natural sources of energy.
· The right to have equal clean up and services by sanitation.
· The right to be free of blight and excess abandoned buildings.
· Right to accessible and clean-air transportation.
· Right to live without fear of displacement, segregation or overcrowding.
2 Right to healthy food,
· We have a right to affordable, easily accessible healthy food options.
· This right includes increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables in local stores and markets.
· The right to use of, knowledge of and access to community gardens and farmers markets
· The right to expect quality and local food stores and supermarkets, which are held to the appropriate standards to eliminate infestation or the selling of expired, damaged or spoiled foods.
· This right includes reducing the predominance of fast food restaurants and the elimination of “food swamps”. This right includes reducing the aggressive marketing and selling of fast foods, processed foods, sweets and sugary beverages to communities of color.
3 Right to health care and emergency services.
· We have a right to accessible medical care and facilities that provide culturally competent care.
· Right to affordable health care.
· Right to wellness and preventative services.
· Right to health care providers who are knowledgeable to the unique medical and psycho-social challenges among all communities, including of color and disabled persons.
· A right to ethical medical practices, without coercion or manipulation. Right to community practices and community health centers held to appropriate standards.
· The right to emotional well being which includes being free from constant stress associated with racism, harassment and prejudice and free from constant fear.
· Right for appropriate coverage of mental health services including holistic mental care facilities that are fully staffed with psychology, psychiatrist, trauma informed per counselors, includes access to affordable mindfulness, meditation services and culturally relevant expressive arts, for healing.
· And finally, the right to expect and receive appropriate aide, assistance including appropriate response time of local and/ or federal emergency services during individual and community emergencies
4 Right to healthy housing
· We have a right to live in housing that provides safe and clean shelter and environment.
· The right to live in housing that does not exacerbate or cause health problems.
· Right to housing free from toxins and contaminants including lead-free, mold-free, pest-free.
· Housing with appropriate heating, cooling and ventilation.
· Housing with all appropriate fire codes and protection.
· This right includes expectation of building owners and city officials to maintain plumbing and water infrastructure that doesn’t allow for chronic leaks, floods or lead poisoning.
· Right to expect reasonable modifications that may eliminate barriers to healthy living. Right to have building cleaned and repaired timely.
· Right to housing with community and outdoor space.
· Right to affordable housing. Right includes counties, cities and districts investing in and developing affordable housing and accessible housing.
5 Right to healthy school and school zones
· We have a right for our children to expect a substance-free and violence-free experience in, en-route to or in proximity to school.
· Eliminating aggressive marketing of fast foods, alcohol and tobacco to youth around schools.
· Right to healthy breakfast and lunch at schools.
· This includes the right to healthy options snacks, in schools and within proximity to schools. Right for school districts to terminate or eliminate contracts with beverages companies who do not offer healthy options.
· Right to appropriate services to address learning disabilities, trauma or mental health issues among children. This right includes investment in trauma informed care and therapy in communities with higher rates of violence and trauma.
· This right includes eliminating the school-to prison pipeline and providing effective unbiased method to reduce school violence and behavioral issues.
6 Right to healthy work spaces,
· We have a right to jobs that promote health by providing decent working hours, work spaces free of toxic material, jobs providing a living wage, health coverage and encourages wellness.
· Right to have equal access to jobs. Right To have equal promotion and compensation.
· Right to be protected from excess work hazards, including providing appropriate protective equipment and precautions, minimizing occupational hazards and being transparent about all potential work hazards and adverse exposures.
· This right includes a supportive work environment free from harassment, bullying and discrimination.
· The right to a job that allows basic self- care through suitable break time, lunch break, and appropriate paid sick time. Right to work - life balance.
7 Right to be free, respected,
· We have a right to live and walk freely without threats of arrest, racial profiling, police brutality , harassment or barriers.
· This includes elimination of mass incarceration and the elimination of detention of immigrants.
· Right to fair immigration laws and for all immigrants to be treated equally with the right to seek jobs, health and education while pursuing citizenship.
· Right to expect full investigation into crimes against by other citizens or law enforcement.
· Right not to be harassed or arrested for minor violations, or unjustly accused.
· We have a right to freedom.
Created by Health Empowerment for African Americans and Latinos, December 7,2018