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Liveblogging Momentum 2008: Health plenary

jpozners Icon Posted by Jennifer L Pozner

July 21st, 2008

This morning offered a vibrant plenary on Democracy, though I wasn’t able to liveblog it. Hopefully the video will be available. Here, now, are my notes from the Health plenary of the Momentum conference, which is taking place right now. As always, I’ll be doing my best to type presenters’ comments as they speak, though I can’t promise to get every word. Just the gist. Disclaimers aside:


Robert Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment:

There is a huge, grand canyon-like canyon between hope and meaningful change.

Three stories:

Got my start as a pediatrician when crack cocaine was causing devastation in a hopeful community. Crack cocaine opened my eyes completely about the limitations of health care. We have to reform the notion of health insurance.

2nd Chance, a grantee:
Help recently released felons reintegtrate into their communities. on surface doesn’t sound like it’s about health care, but… after three years, 80% are out of prison and gainfully employed today. reverse of state of CA, where 80% are back in prison. So, hope v. change.

program called Handshake 101, where the staff - all ex-felons themselves - teach how to smile, give a firm handshake and eye contact to potential employers. “I don’t care if yo u have one tooth in your mouth, I want to see a smile with that one tooth glimmering.”

Our prison industial complex needs to change.

Community Coalition, Coco, in South Central, developed by Karen Bass
become good @ how to take a toxic environment, bad neighborhood, and turn it into a health place to live.
closing down a crack house. how do you close a crack house? not a course @ harvard biz school. takes courage, daring…
close down motels - biz for prostitution and drugs
how do you turn these into a farmers’ market
how do you go from hope to change?

3rd story:
Santa Clara, every child deserves health care. they cobbled together private foundations and etc. to make sure that everychild in that community can have health coverage. grassroots partnership between health care workers, labor, business, etc. 80% of kids have heath care regardlesss of immigration status.

our sector is knowna s the non-profit sector. i HATE that name. we are we defined as being non-somethng? a relative has a baby and you say “your baby is so non-ugly”?

as if we have to apologize for being non-profit? we’re warm and fuzzy people who just give out sandwiches, make sure people have a place to sleep?

what about a new name? Delta Sector.

Change, Not Charity

the stories of hope are ways to solve problems. not coming from DC but from local communities, chicago, south central, etc.

mathematical equation for turning hope to change:
1. you need stories of hope, to scale. we have no lack of innovation and new ideas, we just don’t have ways to scale up.
2. then you have to have numbers. that for cheaper $ there is a better way
3. you need to be messaged
4. you have to deal with power, and thepwoer in the world of philanthropy. it’s called funding advocacy. and so we doubled in 5 years our advocacy funding, going from grassroots to treetops. impose the will of what the community orgs have learned [onto larger institutions]

If you look at each of the major systems: health and health care, public ed, afford housing, environment, education — we don’t have a national, coherent, effective strategy on any of those?

we’re at a moment now where stories of innovation, hope, real change have to be lifted up and owned by us.

my favorite philsopher, moms mabley — “if you always do what you always did you’re gonna get what you always got.”

Jacob Hacker, talking about a very strategic, practical plan for getting to universal healthcare

I was unable to liveblog this presentation because my laptop battery died. Will pick up with next presentation now that I’ve found an outlet. If video becomes available, I’ll try to post it. Not only did he provide really common-sense ideas for getting Americans covered, he also quoted Winnie the Pooh.

Here: Working Families party rep jumped in just briefly, not for a full presentation, about how people can vote for Obama on the Working Families party

Stephen Lewis, U.S. based Co-Director of AIDS-Free World

Opens with a discussion of sexual violence against women in Darfur and sexual violence and domestic violence in many areas throughout the world.

Not a day goes by without hideous sexual violence against women and it is a huge issue of public health. There’s not a region of the eorld that’s exempt. It’s happening in Iraq, it’s happening in Afghanistan, and before too many people get smug about it, women serving int he US military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq. 41% of female veterans told of being sexual assault victims while in military. No cuntry, including this one, is exempt. It’s happening in the middle East, it’s happening in Columbia. During the Balkans and Ruwandan genocide - genocide and rape inextricably linked. It never ends.

Mugabe’s thugs raping with impunity. A pattern of sexual violence shocking in its brutality and ferocity. A sharp rise in pregnancies shows new depths of cruelty… dozens of teenage girls have been raped in tortue camps by Mugabe’s forces…

Attacks on girls between ages of 8 and 14.

Catalyst for increasing worldwide concern. In the Congo, gruesome rapes… visit to the Congo by Eve Ensler in 2007, and remarkable piece of journalism she created on return - 200,000 women is the most reliable estimate. Followed by a sudden surge of interest by media after Ensler’s piece.

None of this is new. UN aegncies, etc., have known for a decade about these brutalities done to women, and nothing has been done. Eve Ensler uses the word Femicide to talk about what is going on to women in this world. And when she uses this world a toerrent of misogyny is heaped on her in response. But what elsr can we call what is being done to women and girls…

[[This man is a very quick speaker and I can’t get even a small percentage of his presentation, but he is BRILLIANT and incredibly forceful…]]

What would you call an international community that does nothing about [the tortures that are being heaped on women] until it comes into attention in the mainstream media?

Not only were the raped women not given voice in the peace table, but the peace treaty cam with amnesty to the rape brigades. And the accord was orchestrated and signed by the UN peacekeeping frce in the Congo. How vile is that?

So extreme has this war on women become, that the UN adopted something on women that sexual violence is an international peace and security issues.

Appalling levels of brutality. Sexual violence is used as a tactic of war to forcibly relocate or remove members of an ethnic group.

“It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict.”

There is a terrible assult on women taking place in the international community and in every way, ther espons thusfar has been negligible. Sexual violence has elevated from a violent tactic to a systematic part of war. the cheapest way to dstabalize and dismember a province is to rape and torture women and girls. it eviscertes the women and girls, their families, the ultimate sabatoge of physical and emotional health and also the communities. women are incable afterwards to play the role that society demands of them, as the bearers of children, providers for families,

in a final diabolic touch, a significant number of these raped women find themselves the recipients of HIV.

the shredding of women is the shredding of entire communities.

shrewd and calculated gender analysis, the militias know that strong health women allow communities to thrive, ans sexual violence tears communities apart.

how can complete mental, pjhysical and social well being [happen alongside] sexual violence?

by failing to respond, the world and the United Nations are complicit.

i’m speaking to an overwhelmingly American audience. the US can in now way keep distance between itself and global citizenry, when it comes to international peace

the obsession with boys and guns and war has to be transformed into an obsession with preventing the rape of women and girls, to repair the reproductive tracks of women, to repair safe houseing for women… and the culture of impunity can be expunged on the planet…

in 1990 when i was working with UNICEF, the findings were terribly distressing to war consequences on children.

there is no shame, no microscopic shame, on the part of the tortureres of women. it’s open season on women, unashamed, unabashed… sexual violence defines the most important struggle of all, the struggle for gender equality.

their will be neither justice or health for the women of the world without equality for women.

for three years at the end of the 90s, i was part of an org of African unity panel on genocide in Ruwanda. we spent three years interviewing vicitms and visiting sites. it w most harrowing experience of my life. we met with the women who had been sexually assaulted who came togethr for solidarity and solace at a holy clinic.

There’s a world out there and we can’t continue to marginalize 52% of the world’s population or we will never achieve equality and there is no bjective more hoorable than that.


Joel Solomon, CEO of Vancouver-based Renewal:
Tells a personal story about his own health care issues, re. kidney failure and links to health care policy.

Dr America Bracho, founder and E.D. of Latino Health Access

When I was practicing in Venezuela, one of the most disheartening things was to see the same child with a different disease every month. I said to myself, I don’t want to see the same kid with a different [heath problem every week.

I saw a town where all the kids in town were immunized with a shoe rack and index cards, a list of cards saying which children, house by house, had been immunized.

I decided tht what makes the differene between health and presure of institution to change things was your ability to participate.

The most important behavior we need to encourage people to develop is to participate.

[Lost power again, couldn’t transcribe the rest. Sorry!]

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