June | 2021


Community engagement is a process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people impacted by the policy or process under consideration. “Nothing about us without us” isn’t just about a desire to be heard and included. Communities must have opportunities to voice their concerns and decide which policies should shape their experiences or we risk reinforcing obstacles or creating new ones. Done well, community engagement is mutually beneficial and results in more effective policies and programs.     


(LOB= Legislative Office Building)

The 2021 legislative session came to a close on June 9th and a special session to pass budget-related bills quickly followed. On June 14, Governor Lamont signed Senate Bill 1 into law: Public Act 21-35. This new law takes critical steps towards health equity by standardizing race, ethnicity, and language (REL) data collection, declaring racism a public health crisis, creating a Commission on Racial Equity in Public Health, defining the doula profession, and more. For details, see this factsheet.

For a more in-depth legislative wrap-up, including our notes on the state budget, check out our most recent email here. HES testimony is herePlease note that the distribution of some federal funding will be voted on soon in another special session. Thank you for your support this legislative session! Your advocacy was essential and, together, we ARE making a difference.


Have a question? Please reach out

  • Stay tuned: We are planning listening sessions throughout Connecticut. These events inform our policy agenda each year. Look out for details, which we will send soon. Questions? Comments? Reach out to Samantha Lew at slew@hesct.org or (860) 937-6432.
  • Health Equity Solutions released a “path to health equity” to show clear and achievable policy steps towards health equity; please take a look and let us know what you think.
  • If you would like your town to declare racism a public health crisis, materials are available here, or reach out for support. 
  • If your faith-based or education-focused organization is interested in hosting a #COVID vaccine event, please email info@hesct.org for more information. To register to attend a COVID 19 vaccine webinar, click here
  • Check out this video featuring Pastor Trevor Beauford (Union Baptist Church), Pastor LeRoy Bailey III (The First Cathedral), and Deputy Director Ayesha Clarke (HES) answering a few frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine!

Please join the HES team in welcoming our newest Policy and Advocacy Intern: Senyte Pierce! Senyte joins us this summer as a second year MPH student in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department with a background in clinical community health.


This month, HES discussed Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy Roberts

Published a decade ago, this book remains relevant in today’s climate of racial injustice by focusing on race as exclusively socially and politically driven/assigned while also elevating our common humanity and genetic unity. Roberts deconstructs the notion of biological race by explaining race’s colonial origins, chronicling the history of race-based medicine, and detailing how science, including genetics, has been used to perpetuate a false biological narrative of race.

Robert’s concludes: “…by embracing a racial ideology rooted in genetics, Americans are accepting a genetic ideology rooted in race that makes everyone responsible for managing their own lives at the genetic level instead of eliminating the social inequalities that damage our entire society.” 

Continuing to support race-based medicine and ideas of biological racial differences perpetuates the idea that individuals rather than inequitable structures and systems are responsible for health disparities.  No matter what field you work in, this book lays the groundwork for applying an equity lens to health. At HES, we are committed to upholding anti-racist policymaking and systems change by elevating racism’s impact on health.


Health Equity Solutions
53 Oak Street | Hartford, Connecticut 06106
860.461.7637 | info@hesct.org

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