In September of 2023, My Brother’s Keeper-Tulsa (MBK) and subgrantees attended the 2023 Voices for Healthy Kids Summit in Birmingham, Alabama, to examine history and its impact on our world today, collectively build skills to become better local and national advocates, and connect more as colleagues igniting a movement.
In 2022, the American Heart Association’s Voices for Healthy Kids initiative granted MBK funds to serve as local support for other local organizations in their advocacy efforts at the school board level for more equitable mental health and healthier food options. Of those subgranted were Teach Not Punish, Hunger Free Oklahoma, Healthy Minds Policy Initiative and Harrison Hope. Learn more in this Tulsa People article.
The summit was extremely impactful including inspirational and informative speeches from the Mayor of the City of Birmingham, a survivor from the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing among others.
“The problems that were created by policy, typically have policy solutions. Every contributor to health inequity can be linked to a policy decision at the local, state, or federal level.” – BerThaddaeus Bailey, MPA
“Advocacy work can be a powerful tool for nonprofits seeking systems change. Changing the rules and structures that order people’s lives is often the key to lasting change.” – Courtney Cullison, PhD
What will these organizations do as a result of their collective learnings from the Summit?
- Teach Not Punish stated their organization’s commitment to enhancing parental engagement in policy change through targeted initiatives, providing parents with the necessary tools and resources to develop their advocacy skills, and fostering collaborations with community thought leaders to create a sustainable, long-term approach for parent engagement. Find them here.
- Hunger Free Oklahoma is committed to actively involving lived experts in our policy and programmatic efforts to ensure that our anti-hunger advocacy in Oklahoma is rooted in real community needs, while also seeking opportunities to engage local grassroots and grass-tops organizations to expand our network of partners and drive innovative solutions to hunger, all while remaining dedicated to reaching often-overlooked communities, such as immigrant and ESL communities. Find their website here.
- Healthy Minds Policy Initiative is committed to fostering awareness and informed decision-making by consistently sharing data and legislative analysis on the state of mental health in Oklahoma, highlighting policy successes to demonstrate their impact, and actively seeking opportunities for increased community input and participation as we continue to grow. Click here to learn more.
- Likewise, ImpactTulsa’s My Brother’s Keeper will implement a multifaceted approach, including gathering and analyzing data in historically redlined areas, collaborating closely with the Impact Tulsa Policy Director to pinpoint policies that perpetuate systemic barriers for BYMOC, integrating voter advocacy and education into our efforts to promote not just the significance of voting but informed decision-making, and emphasizing intentional communication through relevant information-sharing and impactful storytelling to advance our desired policy changes and advocate for key issues and ballot measures.