In Good Health

The Colorado Health Foundation’s blog is designed to share perspectives, personal stories and what we are learning in our efforts to ensure that, across Colorado, each of us can say: “We have all we need to live healthy lives.”

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Coloradans are facing unparalleled health, social and economic setbacks as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While this crisis may be temporary for some, it’s slamming the door on stability and well-being for others – deepening inequities that keep health out of reach.

People who have historically had less power and privilege due to race and socioeconomic status are bearing the brunt – losing jobs, health care (if they were lucky enough to have it in the first place), child care and even their homes. These families have defied the odds time and time again, yet this new landscape is buckling their knees and testing resilience. Where is their relief?

Organizations working on the front lines to address rapidly

Discriminatory changes to the Department of Homeland Security’s regulations about the U.S. immigration process went into effect last Monday, sending a surge of fear, and negative health consequences, across communities of color and immigrants living on low income.

The Colorado Health Foundation strongly opposes this new rule, commonly referred to as “public charge,” because it directly contradicts our cornerstones centered on creating health equity. These policy changes roll back progress Colorado has made to bring health in reach for historically marginalized and underserved people.

This Is What Systemic Oppression Looks Like

While the public charge test has been around a long time to estimate an immigrant’s need for public assistance, the federal government’s latest changes significantly broaden the factors

I remember what it was like working on the nonprofit side of the funding equation. I remember thinking of foundations as a “big black box” where your grant application goes in and (if you’re lucky) a decision comes out months later, often without any context. I remember the guessing game, and thinking program staff were powerful, even scary. Every site visit elicited anxiety from myself and my coworkers. The whole experience was stressful, and the unbalanced power dynamic was uncomfortably obvious.

When I transitioned to the funder side of the equation, I made a promise to myself to remember what that was like, and to treat people differently both inside and outside of the Foundation. In my role as a

I woke up in Durango on my first day back in the office this year to hear from Coloradans who are experiencing homelessness, food insecurity and addiction – an opportunity I take often in my role to connect directly with Coloradans and their families. This never fails to ground me.

I visited a local homeless camp and a soup kitchen, met with youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer, and spent time with staff from area nonprofits. At one of these visits, I ran into a woman I met last year. I’ll call her Amanda to protect her privacy. 

Amanda Reminded Me Why We Must Listen

As Amanda caught me up on her life, I noticed her young