Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen received the “Arc of History Award” from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies on Sept. 7. The award, named for the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote which reads: “The arc of history is long, but it always bends toward justice,” was presented to Congresswoman Christensen for her many years of leadership in the U.S. Congress as she fought to eliminate health inequities and ensure that all Americans enjoy opportunities to achieve good health.
Earlier in the day, Congresswoman Christensen opened the Plenary Session of the Joint Center’s national conference entitled: PLACE MATTERS: Ensuring Equitable Opportunities for Good Health for All. She reminded them that the fight for health care reform was far from over. “We have a lot to fight for if we want to remain in a post healthcare reform era,” she told the gathering of the nation’s health equity champions. “If we don’t, no one will and health care in this country will go back to the way it used to be.”
The Joint Center conference focused on the need for local, state and federal action to improve conditions that impact health in communities across the country. Its PLACE MATTERS initiative seeks to improve community health by working with interdisciplinary teams to find ways to address improvements to food quality, housing, transportation, schools and the environment.
Congresswoman Christensen said that she and her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus are fully on board with the PLACE MATTERS initiative as they work at “creating pathways out of poverty and transforming the places we live that now do not allow us or enable us to be healthy.”
Congresswoman Christensen told the group that ensuring health equity, no matter where one lives, begins at the ballot box. “It begins before that by identifying candidates who share our vision and are committed to work to realize it, and helping them to be elected at every level – in the cities and towns, the counties, the state, the nation’s capital and of course the White House,” she said. She encouraged them to support President Obama stating that we want him “to stand up and fight for us…but he needs to know that he is not out there fighting alone.”