As I write this column the federal government shut down has ended until February 15th. No doubt this presented a huge hardship for our federal workers but also for the workers who work in supporting roles. I was traveling over the last two weeks and one of the concourses in a very large airport was shut down. Absent and without pay were the restaurant and food court workers, the housekeeping staff, clerks at the newsstands, the taxi and Uber drivers, and parking lot attendants. Many of these important hourly workers are also patients/clients who CHWs see in their daily work.
How does this relate to the work of the Alliance? The Alliance strives to be the voice of CHWs and to provide opportunities for sharing our voice in many community venues including policy. We want to equip CHWs to become leaders in their respective spheres of influence from PTAs to local government to serving on nonprofit boards of directors. As community leaders, we want everyone to be comfortable meeting with elected officials and advocating for the needs of their respective community which is why the chw leadership training includes exposure to the media, policymakers, funders and lawmakers. Policy, communications, philanthropy, organizing and networking are among key tools for change.
To that end, the third CHW leadership cohort is about to start in February. If you are an interested CHW who has not as yet applied or if you are a CHW employer or educator with a CHW nominee for this excellent leadership development program, then please contact co-facilitators LaTanya Black at firstname.lastname@example.org or Anne Ganey at email@example.com for more information. The leadership training is free of charge to those CHWs living or working in Ramsey, Dakota, or Washington Counties as result of a generous grant from the F. R. Bigelow Foundation.
I am also excited to share the 2019 National Assn of CHWs conference theme,“Unity 2019: The 20th Anniversary of the National Conference For and About CHW’s.” https://unityconf.org/19/ The conference will be held April 14-17, 2019 in Las Vegas. LaTanya Black, Alliance Vice Chair and board member and Community Engagement Consultant will be representing the Alliance at the conference.
I am a newer member of “We Can Change the World,” a political action alliance (www.WCCW-MN.org) that supports voter registration efforts and the campaigns of women from Washington County who are running for local and state offices. Where ever we live we each can participate in ways that work for our busy lives.
With newly elected officials in city and county government, here in Minnesota, and in Washington, D.C. it is important that all perspectives be heard and that we all share our voice. Your voice as a CHW, supporter, employer, educator and stakeholder matters.
With respect and gratitude for all voices,