From March 18th to 22nd, an IMAN delegation visited Washington, D.C. for the National Association of Community Health Centers’ (NACHC) Policy and Issues Forum, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of U.S. Community Health Centers. The Forum engaged leaders in the community health field, hosted discussions on best practices, and, most importantly, was a site of intense advocacy. Health care funding is at a critical stage: If Congress does not act, the Health Center Fund will expire on September 30, 2015, reducing funding up to 70%.
During this four-day trip, we heard IMAN’s community health model being confirmed — that our present health clinic and future health center must always be an integral part of community organizing work. While in D.C., IMAN staff learned from Congressman Danny K. Davis and other long-time activists that the history of community health centers in the United States is steeped in intentional community activism. Dolores Huerta, who famously organized with Cesar Chavez, delivered a passionate speech stating that community organizers should be part of every community health center’s staff. Steadfast in commitment to dignity and justice, we must never lose sight of the fact that health care is a human right and protecting resources that provide these services is critical.