The Praxis Project  

United States
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The Praxis Project works to center community and build power for health, justice, and racial equity so that our communities can thrive.
We are a national movement support intermediary committed to capacity building for social change. Our emphasis is on developing fields of work in ways that encourage multi-level, trans-disciplinary learning and collaboration across issues, across the country, and across the globe.

Watch our most recent Communities Building Power for Health video!

Watch our 2020 Disaster Justice Learning Circle Facebook Live! Learn more about our Learning Circles!

 Show Specials

  • Praxis Healthy Investment Series shows the incredible impact of community-led health policy via the Berekley, CA Soda Tax Investments.

    The possibilities for improving health justice and equity are vast when there is an authentic partnership and inclusive engagement of community based advocates and organizers. In a special CBPH mini-series, Praxis is featuring the community-led efforts to improve health that have been been funded in part through investments from Berkeley’s soda tax. This series presents the grounded stories of the impact that this funding is having at the community level.


  • (Aug 18, 2021)

    The Praxis Learning Center is a call-to-action; values a commitment to ongoing shared learning; and supports the reflection and practice of community organizers, nonprofits, government, education, health care, labor, faith institutions, philanthropy, community advocates, and other partners working to change the structural conditions that disproportionately impact opportunities and well-being among marginalized communities. The Praxis* Learning Center translates and builds upon the knowledge and expertise of basebuilding grassroots organizers into training, technical assistance, and impactful action to achieve health justice and racial equity. Praxis emphasizes institutional- and systemically-focused strategies that address the root causes of inequities. We utilize an intersectional framework, and center the dismantling of racism and other systems of oppression in our analysis and action. Praxis values authentic voices in all aspects of our learning center; when we design a training, it is often in collaboration with a community partner who has extensive practical experience in the topic.

    Praxis Learning Center learning events are offered both in-person or online. In addition to our listed topics, our team can tailor the learning opportunities to your organization’s specific needs and context.

    Check out our topics or submit an inquiry!

  • (Aug 18, 2021)

    Our In Praxis podcast shares the stories of our community-based partner organizations and how they are impacting health disparities through local initiatives, policy change, and advocacy. You can also tune into In Praxis on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.

    In Season 2 of the In Praxis podcast, we explore Sugar Sweetened Beverage Taxes. We have compiled interviews from advocates working on issues surrounding the reduction of sweet and sugary beverages as well as the taxation of these products. Participants of this podcast are community members, public health practitioners, health department representatives and concerned parents that span across the country. In each episode, you will hear about their phenomenal work as well as their perspective on the health effects of sugary consumption and in what ways policy can be used to combat this and lead to re-investment our communities.

  • Praxis reports and resources focus on centering community and advancing health justice and racial equity. Our reports and resources are developed in close partnership with basebuilding organizations and honors their lived experiences and wisdom. These reports and resources aim to spread their valuable insight to peers and cross-sector partners.

  • Praxis creates videos to highlight and amplify the incredible work being done by community power building organizations across the nation.

    Watch our video series: Communities Building Power for Health (CBPH) to learn about the transformative ways community organizers are shaping public health. These short video highlights show examples of how community organizers address the Social Determinants of Health through multi-pronged and intersectional approaches and strategies. Organizers strengthen residents' ability to address various issues over generations: in turn, building long-term power and solutions that are unique to the terrains of their communities.

 Press Releases

  • Learning Cohort of More than 40 Community-Based Organizations Introduces New, Innovative Framework for Defining, Addressing Disaster

    A newly-released report expands the definition of disaster and provides concrete steps for public health officials, philanthropy, and government to adequately serve all communities.

    For Immediate Release: May 6, 2021
    Media Contact:
    Michael Givens
    Associate Director of Strategic Communications
    Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
    Phone: +1-857-540-0617
    Experts available for interview

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Over the course of six months, 44 community-based organizations across the nation worked collaboratively to understand local and national responses to disaster, how disasters are defined, and the efficacy of current efforts to allocate resources in the wake of crises. The dialogues culminated in the release of a new report, Moving from Disaster Preparedness to Disaster Response: Centering Community & Racial Justice for a Transformed Future.

    The 16-page report examines the narrow definition currently used by entities like the United Nations that focus “on the impacts of so called ‘natural disasters,’ triggered by catastrophic events like hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and storms.” After a series of learning sessions between May and October 2020, the group formulated a new definition of disaster, one that includes a broader analysis of social inequities.

    “We collectively recognized the need to move away from the traditional public health definition of disaster as a ‘natural’ occurrence, and shift to encompass the range of social, intentional, human-made disasters that community organizers and advocates are fighting against every day,” said Jenna Gaarde, the program director for research and training at the Praxis Project, the lead convener of the learning cohort.

    According to the group, disasters:

    • Are often human made;
    • Expose and exacerbate existing inequalities such as racism and ableism;
    • Are experienced by some more than others;
    • Illustrate how ineffective our current systems are when addressing the needs of communities; and
    • Typically evoke temporary sympathy from the general public that vanishes after media attention moves on.

    “We want to encourage people not just to go through COVID, but grow through COVID,” said Denisa Livingston, an organizer with the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance (DCAA), a New Mexico-based community health nonprofit prioritizing the health needs of Indigenous peoples. Livingston said that the pandemic has been a challenge for her community, but that having a new way of approaching disaster helped her better organize a collective response to public health risks. “We are grateful that the learning circles [helped us] get prepared. We’re still in crisis mode, but we are prepared to go forward.”

    Tomás Aguilar, disaster recovery coordinator for the Texas-based Living Hope Wheelchair Association (LHWA), presented the learning cohort with a revised Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) that the institution implemented in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that took the lives of roughly 100 people and decimated parts of Louisiana and Texas in 2017. A COOP is a tool used by aid agencies such as the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop and implement appropriate responses and infrastructure in the wake of natural disasters.

    “The traditional COOP model was great, but didn’t speak to our realities as a community-based organization,” said Aguilar. “We already had a series of checklists, emergency response plans, volunteer lists—all elements of a good COOP. We started with what we already had to make a highly functional COOP. It has allowed us to keep our essential programs going during multiple disasters. We didn’t start over with a COOP, we built on what we already had and made it better for our needs.”

    “UUSC is incredibly proud to have been a part of this learning cohort,” said Rachel Gore Freed, vice president and chief program officer for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). “Reports like this show just how invaluable the popular education model is as a tool for learning and change from the grassroots up.”

    An often-used framework in the social justice movement, popular education “is a commitment to acknowledge the history and context of participants as well as their experiences and expertise and to design training sessions that honor this and holds spaces where we can all put our experiences and stories in dialogue to learn from one another,” according to the report.

    A number of recommendations for philanthropic institutions, community organizers, public health workers, and public policy makers are presented at the end of the report. A few of the recommendations urge these stakeholders to:

    • Rely on grassroots organizers to offer disaster justice plans that center communities currently facing oppression;
    • Center racial and social justice in response efforts; and
    • Implement policies that are equitable and accountable to the communities in most need of help.

    To read the full report, click here.


    The Praxis Project is a national non-profit organization that works in partnership with national, regional, tribal, state, and local partners to achieve health equity and justice for all communities. Our mission is to build healthy communities by transforming the power, relationships, and structures that affect our lives and communities. Praxis supports policy advocacy and local organizing as part of a comprehensive strategy for change. We emphasize developing fields of work in ways that encourage multi-level, trans-disciplinary learning and collaboration across issues, across the country and across the globe.


    Living Hope Wheelchair Association is a community-based non-profit organization formed by people with spinal cord injuries as well as with other disabilities working together to improve our quality of life and promote our rights. The majority of its members are not entitled to benefits, lack medical insurance, and do not have a stable source of income. Living Hope works at the intersection of disability rights, healthcare justice, and immigrant and workers’ rights providing medical supplies and equipment, as well as spaces for leadership development and a community where everyone can feel included, respected, and loved.


    The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a human rights and solidarity organization founded as a rescue mission in 1940 during the Holocaust. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and with a membership of more than 35,000 supporters across the United States, UUSC’s programs focus on the issues of climate change, migrant justice, and crisis response.

    May 17, 2021                  

    MEDIA CONTACT: Candace Cross
    PHONE: (510) 652-5250


    Health Groups Praise Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian and Coauthors for Courage and Resolve to Keep Fighting Against Big Soda’s Deceptive Tactics

    (Sacramento, CA) Today, the deadline passed with no action on AB 1163, a bill that would overturn the statewide preemption on local sugary drink taxes. Passed in 2018, this measure was described by the Los Angeles Times as “extortion.” Though the conventional policy deadline has passed for the year, Big Soda’s 2018 “extortion” was done unconventionally and outside deadlines through a budget trailer bill and forced upon the Legislature. It can be similarly undone with a simple majority vote at nearly any time the Legislature is in session.

    Public health groups united as Californians For Less Soda spoke out against the crooked tactics from Big Soda following a Kaiser Health News report showing about $5.9 million in lobbying and contributions specifically made by the beverage industry.  Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian said in the report that the soda industry was “gaming” the political system.

    “Big Soda has no good excuse for their continued extortion of California since 2018, so Big Soda had to follow it up with $5.9 million in hush-money payments to California politicians and lobbyists,” said Xavier Morales, Executive Director of The Praxis Project, which is one of the public health groups represented by Californians for Less Soda.

    Public health groups praised the courage of Assemblymember Nazarian, who along with Assembly Health Committee Chair Jim Wood and Assemblymembers David Chiu, Kevin McCarty and Richard Bloom, and Senator Scott Weiner, are coauthors of AB 1163. AB 1163 would overturn Big Soda’s law, which has been described as an industry-supported voter control that stops local communities from standing up to the soda industry and passing local laws to reduce sugary drink consumption.

    “The national dialogue right now has focused on holding those accountable who abuse and harm our communities, and that includes big soda. We are inspired by the courage of Assemblymember Nazarian and these five brave coauthors who are willing to keep fighting a soda industry, which spends millions of dollars in our State on predatory marketing campaigns that target communities of color and target our kids.  This isn’t just a health issue. It is also a social justice issue as AB 1163 would have allowed power to be restored at the local level,” said Eric Batch, a Vice President of Advocacy with the American Heart Association, one of the founding members of Californians for Less Soda.    

    Californians for Less Soda has nicknamed the Assemblymember and his five legislative colleagues “Nazarian and the Fearless Five” because they aren’t scared of Big Soda and will keep working to persuade their colleagues to stand up and join them until they have a majority.      


    Californians for Less Soda is proud to have the support of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; American Diabetes Association; American Heart Association; Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership; California Black Health Network; California Dental Association; Latino Coalition for a Healthy California; The Praxis Project; Public Health Advocates; Public Health Institute; Roots of Change; and Social Justice Learning Institute.


    Thursday, February 18, 2021

    (Sacramento, CA) Today, Assemblymember Nazarian (D-Van Nuys) introduced legislation to eliminate the statewide preemption on local sugary drink taxes, a measure forced upon the legislature by the soda industry in 2018 that was described by the Sacramento Bee as a "shakedown" akin to “extortion”. As California counties and cities are considering all options to close their unprecedented budgetary shortfalls, Assemblymember Nazarian believes the legislature should give municipalities access to every revenue-generating option, especially one that simultaneously improves public health outcomes.

    “Our cities have their hands tied behind their back by sugary special interests who place profits over people during a public health crisis,” stated a fiery Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian. “A tax on sugary drinks has been proven to decrease diabetes rates and improve health equity while providing our cities additional revenue to help our COVID-19 response.”

    Removing the preemption is not a tax, rather it would provide governments another tool in their toolbox to address health equity and fund critical services.   Four cities enacted a local sugary drink tax before the preemption.

    As COVID-19 continues to disproportionately affect Black and Brown communities in California, research shows that communities of color also have a disproportionately higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in their lifetimes, in part due to the overconsumption of cheap sugary drinks flooding into their communities. Diabetes is a risk factor for severe COVID and the LAO has also highlighted the health proposition behind a sugary drink tax “of potentially leading to improvements in health—such as reduced rates of heart disease and diabetes.

    “The proliferation and targeted promotion of sugar-sweetened beverages to marginalized communities makes it a racial and health equity issue,” said Rod Lew, MPH, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL), “And in this era of renewed attention on racial justice, we must support proven policy initiatives that puts the health of our communities first. One of the first steps is to remove State preemption banning local taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages.”

    Six cities including Los Angeles and 3 counties including Contra Costa have already either passed a resolution or written a letter in support of lifting preemption, and dozens of additional cities and counties are currently reaching out with interest. Currently, the City of Berkeley’s soda tax is raising $1.5 million annually for its residents, Oakland around $7 million, and San Francisco $15 million. Revenues have been directed towards schools and nutrition programs, both of which have served as critical resources for families during the pandemic.

     “California voters who passed sugary drink taxes have given their cities millions of dollars in revenue to address critical health and funding needs. The American Heart Association is proud to support Assemblymember Nazarian’s bill to restore power to local municipalities to improve the health of their residents and their local economies during these unprecedented times,” said Kathy Rogers, Executive Vice President of the American Heart Association Western States Region.

    Assemblymember Nazarian added: “Special interests should not be dictating policy to our cities. This bill gives power back to the people.” 

    Assemblymember Nazarian is proud to have the support of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership, California Black Health Network, California Dental Association, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, The Praxis Project, Public Health Advocates, Public Health Institute, Roots of Change and Social Justice Learning Institute.


    Adrin Nazarian represents the 46th Assembly District, serving the San Fernando Valley communities of Hollywood Hills, Lake Balboa, North Hills, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Universal City, Van Nuys, and Valley Village

    “Local governments interact with their constituents daily and are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of people in their communities. Their ability to solve local problems and go beyond state laws to make healthier living easier for all who reside, work and play in their community should prevail over special interests.” – Autumn Ogden-Smith, Director of California State Legislation, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network 

    “California voters who passed sugary drink taxes have given their cities millions of dollars in revenue to address critical health and funding needs. The American Heart Association is proud to support Assemblymember Nazarian’s bill to restore power to local municipalities to improve the health of their residents and their local economies during these unprecedented times.” – Kathy Rogers, Executive Vice President, American Heart Association Western States Region.

    The proliferation and targeted promotion of sugar-sweetened beverages to marginalized communities makes it a racial and health equity issue.  And in this era of renewed attention on racial justice, we must support proven policy initiatives that puts the health of our communities first. One of the first steps is to remove State preemption banning local taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages. – Rod Lew, MPH, Executive Director, Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL)

    “The coronavirus pandemic has shined a bright light on the inequities that exist in our communities. Now is the time to prioritize health equity and promote effective public health strategies to address health disparities. The State preemption banning local taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages is a barrier to equity and must be removed.” – Eugene Canson, Health Policy Consultant, California Black Health Network

    “As health care providers, dentists see the devastating effects of sugar-sweetened beverages on teeth every day in our practices. Communities need the flexibility to protect residents, especially children, from tooth decay, which is the number one chronic childhood disease, affecting their ability to chew, speak properly and learn in school.” – Dr. Judee Tippett-Whyte, President, California Dental Association

    "California’s Latinx community has been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which has exacerbated existing social and economic disparities. Lifting preemption will give cities and counties the opportunity to raise local revenues to fund community-driven solutions to address the short and long-term effects of the pandemic. The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California strongly supports legislation that lifts preemption so we can fund innovative programs to meet the evolving health and social needs of our community and achieve health equity for all Californians." - Dr. Jeffrey Reynoso, Executive Director, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California

    “In 2018, the Beverage Industry took a page from the ALEC playbook and engaged in a shakedown of California's legislative process by forcing a 12- year preemption of local soda taxes. The soda taxes raised in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and Albany have given the local governments more flexibility to directly fund community efforts to address impacts from COVID-19.  It's time to repeal soda tax preemption so that other California can be freed to raise funds to help their communities most impacted by COVID-19.” – Xavier Morales, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Praxis Project

    "It is our duty to lift the concerns of our most vulnerable communities. To find the best ways to bring resources that support healing practices for those disproportionately affected by social determinants of health. Lifting this preemption will shift power dynamics and help to provide lifesaving services for all Californians. Public Health Advocates supports this legislation." – DeAngelo Mack, Director of State Policy, Public Health Advocates

    “In 2018, Big Soda stole the ability of California communities to decide for themselves how to stay healthy. Amidst the devastating impacts of COVID, this legislation will untie the hands of communities: giving them back power, choice and another tool to restore health and equity, and rebuild economies.” – Matthew Marsom, Senior Vice President, Public Health Institute

    "Whether due to Covid illness, loss of jobs, lack of access to healthy food or affordable housing or the impacts of natural disaster, I have never seen Californians suffer more egregiously. Our communities large and small need options for raising revenue to address the multitude of complex challenges. Taxing harmful beverages that increase suffering and financial costs to us all makes economic and public health sense. We call on the Legislature to make it possible once again.” – Michael Dimock, President, Roots of Change

    February 8, 2021 

    Rev. William H. Lamar IV, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Washington DC.
    Rev. Delman Coates, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, Clinton, MD.
    Xavier Morales, The Praxis Project, Washington, DC.
    Maia Kats, Kaplan Fox LLP
    Andrew Rainer, Public Health Advocacy Institute


    Praxis, Lamar, Coates withdraws complaint filed in the DC Superior Court in 2017 against Coca Cola and the American Beverage Association 

    Today, Rev. William H. Lamar IV, the senior pastor at DC’s historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, DC; Rev. Delman Coates, pastor at Maryland’s Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD; and The Praxis Project from Washington, DC; withdrew our complaint filed in the DC Superior Court in 2017 seeking to stop Coca Cola and the American Beverage Association from making deceptive statements about the health risks of consuming sugar sweetened beverages.

    The Praxis Project and Pastors Coates and Lamar had united back in 2017 to help stop the confusion and mixed messages our communities were receiving from the soda industry about the healthfulness of their sugary drinks. 

    The Praxis Project, as a national health organization that mostly works with frontline organizing groups working in areas where chronic diseases—type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, fatty liver and tooth decay—are greatest, and knowing the research that points to sugary drinks as a primary driver of these preventable diseases, was compelled to address this issue in any way we could. Life expectancies in many of the areas where our grassroots partners work are typically lower than average, and oftentimes it is these preventable chronic diseases that drive it down. 

    Pastor Coates and Lamar, who provide guidance and comfort to mostly African American congregations in the Washington, DC area, have seen first-hand, the pain these preventable chronic diseases bring to families taking care of a loved one. They felt they had delivered too many funeral sermons for grieving families who had lost love ones to diseases linked to sugar-sweetened beverages. 

    The good news is that, since we filed our suit, Coca Cola and the American Beverage Association have moved away from claiming that their products have no connection to chronic disease. As advocates who have to deal with the human toll resulting from the consumption of sugary drinks, in the face of so much research pointing to the health dangers, we are happy that we have not recently heard beverage industry executives continue to publicly mislead through statements like “there is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity.”

    However, we still need more action from the beverage industry to improve health in our most vulnerable communities. We need the beverage industry to:

    • Stop “shaking down” state legislatures to pass laws that preempt local soda taxes.
    • Stop lobbying ($67M in 2016) against state and local efforts to raise revenues to address the root causes of preventable chronic diseases caused by their products and to warn consumers of the health dangers of sugary drinks.
    • Stop predatory marketing to communities of color.
    • Stop funding research and advocacy designed to shift blame for obesity away from sugary drinks.
    • Stop trying to influence agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization to minimize attention and blame for chronic diseases away from sugary beverages. 

    The beverage industry’s manipulation to protect their sales, especially in communities of color and communities with lower incomes, is killing us. Literally. The current Covid-19 pandemic that is extremely lethal in our communities shows that underlying conditions matter. The beverage industry needs to stop hindering our efforts to increase healthy beverage consumption as we seek to decrease the underlying conditions that have made our communities more vulnerable to the Coronavirus.

    The work of Pastors Coates and Lamar, and The Praxis Project is centered in a profound love for our communities. It is difficult for us to be innocent bystanders when we have to deal with the consequences of these dangerous beverages. 

    The Praxis Project is a national non-profit organization that works in partnership with national, regional, state, and local partners to achieve health equity and justice for all communities.


    Notes to editor

    For images, more information, or interviews, please contact Diana Lieu, The Praxis Project at, (510) 827-1876.

  • January 14, 2021

    Biden-Harris Transition Team
    Office of the President Elect

    Contact:  Xavier Morales, Ph.D., MRP, Executive Director, The Praxis Project

    A Federal Agenda for Health, Justice, & Racial Equity from The Praxis Project Network

    Dear Biden Harris Transition Team:

    Congratulations on your win in the 2020 election! We want to honor and uplift the incredible community organizing and engagement of Black communities, Indigenous communities, and other communities of color that helped your administration secure this election. We are looking forward to seeing you remedy many of the harms that were caused to these same communities over the last four years, and move the United States towards a place where equity and justice can be achieved for all communities. 

    The Praxis Project is a national nonprofit organization that works with over 200 base-building community organizers and organizations across the nation seeking to advance racial and social justice among their communities. Organizers in Praxis’ network represent Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other communities of color, from urban and rural areas. We advocate for health, justice and racial equity, specifically focusing on human rights and the social determinants of health. Community organizers like Black Lives Matter have been leading the way for justice movements to protect communities and our natural resources for years. Our organizing partners have continued to effectively advance community priorities throughout COVID-19 and its inequitable impacts on people of color; it’s necessary for public health and our federal administration to follow the priorities of these leaders to truly effect change. 

    Requests and Recommendations to the New Administration’s Transition Team: 

    Community organizers advancing health, justice and racial equity in their communities throughout the nation have established priority areas that need to be addressed at a federal level. This list is not exhaustive, but reflect urgent needs identified by over 50 basebuilding grassroots organizations across several social determinants of health. Throughout all of these important areas, we need to name and address the disproportionate impact many of these conditions have on women and girls, queer, trans and intersex communities, immigrant communities, people with disabilities, communities of color, and others who have been marginalized. Lastly, it is critical to center racial justice and follow the leadership of the Black communities, Indigenous communities, Latinx and other communities of color that laid the foundation to your election. We call upon the Biden administration to ensure the following basic human rights are afforded to all communities: 

    Immediate, concrete actions that will improve health, justice and racial equity: 

    • Renew the CARES Act to support economic justice and security for workers, families, and small businesses during COVID-19 recovery.

    • Pass the THRIVE Agenda/Green New Deal to combat racial injustice and invest in Black, Brown & Indigenous communities . 

    • Pass the BREATHE Act to support racially-just community safety efforts. 

    • Follow the Movement for Black Lives’ COVID-19 Policy Platform.

    • Protect the rights of all voters so that communities can contribute to advancing equitable policies.

    Community organizers and organizations are improving the social determinants of health by advancing the following priorities that need your support:  

    Economic Justice: Ensure the availability of safe, reliable, high quality employment opportunities that provide individuals with living wages and salaries.  

    • Ensure federal-level fair, livable wages for all workers.

    • Implement rights for low-wage workers, including access to health insurance, paid sick leave, protections against wage theft, and other basic workplace rights.

    Environmental Justice: Fight pollution and toxic exposures; guarantee safe and non-toxic water, indoor and outdoor air, and soil for all communities.

    • Pass and implement policies to protect Tribal lands and resources.

    • End hydraulic fracking and the use of pesticides in agriculture

    • Advocate for investment in renewable and clean energy

    • Strengthen and enforce the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act to address racially-based environmental injustice.

    Fair & Just Legal System: Re-think our present legal and justice systems to ensure that all people, regardless of their identities, are treated equitably by members of the justice system, including law enforcement, lawyers, prosecutors, and judges.

    • Ensure police-free schools.

    • Redirect funds from police departments to restorative justice practices and other forms of community supports.

    • End money bail and pretrial detention.

    • Critically analyze the prison-industrial complex and move towards prison abolition.

    Food Justice: Ensure all communities, regardless of race or income, can have both increased access to nutritious, affordable food and the power to influence a food system that prioritizes environmental and human needs

    • Support values-aligned, universal healthy school meals.

    • Create food sovereignty through local farming and youth education.

    • Support small-scale farm operations.

    • Direct food aid to low-income residents.

    Healthcare Justice: Provide universal access to high quality, accessible, culturally appropriate clinical care that is responsive to an individual and their community’s social conditions.

    • Continue to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes by addressing racism.

    • Continue to advocate for abortion access and reproductive justice protections.

    • Ensure universal access to affordable healthcare.

    Housing Justice: Ensure stable, high-quality, safe, and affordable housing to residents of all income levels. 

    • Advocate for affordable, quality housing for low-income immigrants and BIPOC.

    • Call for emergency moratorium on evictions & foreclosures.

    • Implement federal-level rent control.

    • End criminalization of homeless communities.

    • Address the shortage of low- and middle-income family housing.

    • Reinstitute regulations to affirmatively further fair housing in the Fair Housing Act.

    Migrant Justice: Protect immigrant and refugee families from being separated, reduce fear in communities, protect individuals’ livelihoods, and facilitate access to quality, health-affirming services.

    • Demilitarize communities at the U.S.-Mexico Border and reunite families who have been torn apart. 

    • End criminalization, detention and deportation of immigrants and refugees.

    • Advance meaningful immigration reform with a path to citizenship. 

    • Continue Temporary Protected Status for immigrants.

    • End new asylum policies requiring waiting at the border.

    • Dismantle U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Starting in January, and throughout the next four years and beyond, we urge you to keep these priorities at the forefront of your justice efforts. When we meaningfully address the needs of those who have been the most marginalized by our systems, all of us benefit. Creating a reality in which we can achieve health, equity, and wellness requires leadership on all levels. We are in this work together and we at the Praxis Project offer to help implement any of the above recommendations in any manner you deem appropriate.


    Xavier Morales, Ph.D., MRP


  • Praxis' Social Determinants of Health Framework
    Praxis' comprehensive SDOH equity framework approaches the SDOH from an explicitly systemic lens....

  • The Praxis Project is excited to present our Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) equity framework. We approach the SDOH from an explicitly systemic lens and believe that the root causes of health inequities are derived from deeply ingrained power relations within our society including racism, sexism, and capitalism. 

    The Praxis Project’s work with community power building partners consistently shows us that building power through supporting community organizing is crucial to improving health justice and racial equity across issues, and that community power itself must be considered a condition for healthy communities. We believe that in order to truly put SDOH theory into practice, there must be authentic and strong collaboration between public health and community power building efforts. Our framework aims to inform these conversations.

  • Centering Community - Sugary Sweetened Bev. Taxes
    Praxis initiative supporting community-led health initiatives with revenues from taxes on sugar sweetened beverages (SSB)....

  • Praxis believes that centering communities as part of the solution to health issues, especially preventable health conditions, can lead to more effective and equitable solutions.  Investments from soda tax revenues have the potential to transform the systems and structures that lead to inequity through harnessing community agency as the foundation for norms change.  In our experience, soda taxes advance equity the most when:

    • Funds are significantly invested in those areas with the highest rates of preventable chronic disease linked to the sugary drink consumption including type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease and dental decay;

    • Investments address community defined priorities from across the social determinants of health;

    • Community organizations are integral to any programmatic interventions; and

    • Investments build health promoting community capacity and infrastructure that will extend beyond grant periods.

    Praxis feels that precisely because communities of color and those with less economic resources are targeted by beverage industry marketing and are bearing a significant disease burden, investments should be intentionally directed toward community organizations to lead the effort to change norms towards healthy beverages and to address other locally defined priorities.

  • Principles for Health Justice & Racial Equity
    Praxis' principles for health justice and racial equity help guide our work in partnership with allies to center community interests in the design, promotion, implementation of policies and initiatives....

  • To make a positive impact on health inequities, radical shifts need to occur in many of our day-to-day activities, practices and approaches. The current status quo is not working; we see health and racial disparities continue to increase across sectors, geography, and issues. As such, Praxis’ underlying goal is to promote the authentic engagement of basebuilding community organizers in health- and justice-affirming transformative policies and practices while acknowledging and learning from the historical and contemporary injustice of policy processes and outcomes shaping where we are today.

    To help us get to a place where everyone has the same opportunity for health justice and racial equity, Praxis offers these Working Principles for Health Justice and Racial Equity to ensure that our programmatic, community, and policy work aligns with our intended impact of supporting health justice and racial equity for all.

  • From Disaster Preparedness to Disaster Justice
    This brief informs public health, philanthropy, and other allied fields how to support and invest in community-led disaster justice efforts....

  • From the inequitable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to fires ravaging the West Coast, from migrant children being forcibly separated from their parents at the border to continued police violence against the Black community, we have witnessed an array of disasters in the last year and beyond. The Praxis Project, Living Hope Wheelchair Association, and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee present this brief, which investigates the concept of “disaster justice” within the context of disaster preparedness and response, and how grassroots organizers have integrated disaster justice into their work. The purpose of this brief is to inform public health, philanthropy, and other allied fields how to support and invest in community-led disaster justice efforts. 

  • Organizing Against Systemic Racism During COVID-19
    This brief shares findings about the priorities of organizers in 2020, particularly around challenges elevated by COVID-19 and systemic racism, and how public health, philanthropy, and other allied fields can support our diverse communities’ shared goals....

  • In 2020, many of Praxis’ community partners have answered the call to leverage years of building trusted relationships to facilitate the distribution of emergency resources and aid, and to continue advocating for community needs. However, the challenges elevated in 2020—the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing, systemic racism, and their subsequent and intersecting impacts—are not new to community organizers. They surface for a broader swath of the population the fractured health, social service, and political systems that have long needed transformation. Advocates and basebuilding organizers from across the nation have consistently stood on the front lines in contests over social issues that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) and other historically oppressed groups. For years, Praxis’ organizing partners have been engaged in fighting racism in all of its forms: government divestment from BIPOC communities, inadequacies presented by many facets of our healthcare system, policing of Black and brown children and adults, and a range of other key issues that need to be addressed to achieve justice. Community organizers have had a vested interest in demanding equity before 2020 and will continue these efforts beyond 2020; our communities do not have the privilege to look away or lose interest in dismantling racism and fighting for justice. The purpose of this brief is to share findings about the priorities of organizers in 2020, particularly around challenges elevated by COVID-19 and systemic racism; and how public health, philanthropy, and other allied fields can support our diverse communities’ shared goals for health, justice, racial equity, and liberation.

  • Healing-Centered Community Practices
    This brief shows the importance of addressing trauma through making space for healing-centered practices that communities have evolved over time, acknowledging and understanding the roots of trauma, and addressing the structural causes of trauma....

  • There has been increasing attention towards the need for interventions to address and mitigate the role of trauma in individual and community wellbeing. The list of trauma-informed services and interventions seems to grow by the day. While these service developments are a welcome change from previous methods to improve community health and wellbeing, discussions with basebuilding community partners in 2018 have uplifted community-centered healing practices that have helped our communities to endure and survive over time. In 2020, with the unveiling of inequities by COVID-19, continuation of Black Lives Matter protests, and ongoing trauma caused by systemic bias and racism, these community-centered findings need to be (re)introduced. The purpose of this brief is to showcase the importance of addressing community trauma through identifying and making space for healing-centered practices that communities have evolved over time, acknowledging and understanding the roots of trauma, and addressing the persistent, structural causes of trauma. From Praxis’ intentional dialogues with basebuilding and frontline community organizers, we describe how trauma shows up in our communities and institutions, how it can be addressed through community- centered healing, and the role that trusted partners can take in supporting community healing.
  • Health Equity-Driven Policy and Practice
    This brief informs the broader practice of public health in the necessary and authentic engagement of basebuilding organizers to advance policies, systems, practices and environmental change designed to improve health justice and racial equity....

  • The Praxis Project is proud to share this working brief, which highlights the vast efforts to improve community health and justice led by our partners who are organizing across the United States. The purpose of this brief is to inform the broader practice of public health in the necessary and authentic engagement of basebuilding organizers—those who represent community’s interests—to advance policies, systems, practices and environmental change designed to improve health justice and racial equity across four thematic peer-learning cohorts, known as Communities of Praxis (CPs).

  • Measuring the Impact of Building Community Power
    This brief provides a summary of our discussions and recommendations to measure the impact of building power as a strategy to improve health justice and racial equity....

  • Building community power is increasingly recognized as a valuable and necessary strategy to improve health justice and racial equity, with both immediate and long-term results. However, there is limited research or documentation of authentic discussions on the definitions, nuances, and front-line measurement of building power. In the fall of 2017, The Praxis Project hosted five learning circles with some of the nation’s most impactful basebuilding community organizers to engage in deep reflection and discussion about building and measuring power. This brief provides a summary of our discussions and recommendations to measure the impact of building power as a strategy to improve health justice and racial equity. 

  • Civic Participation for All
    This brief informs public health, philanthropy, and other allied fields how to civically engage our communities beyond the ballot box...

  • The brief highlights how basebuilding community organizers promote civic and community-centered engagement to enact change for justice and equity. In 2020—with the increased visibility of inequities that Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities regularly experience by COVID-19, elevated discussions of the need to advance racial justice, and a pending election being threatened with voter suppression—the need for robust, accessible, and authentic civic participation is more necessary than ever. The purpose of this brief is to inform public health, philanthropy, and other allied fields how to civically engage our communities beyond the ballot box. We describe how organizing builds community, advances civic participation for all, and fosters connection in health justice and racial equity work.

  • School Nutrition, Food Procurement, Equitable Dev.
    In this Praxis Brief, we highlight how nutrition policy and procurement in K-12 institutions can advance health, justice, sustainability, equity, and community power....

  • Advances in school nutrition policy help provide more K-12 students with a range of healthy and affordable foods. Food served in schools is important to individual student health and can affect community health throughout the entire food system. Nutritional and budget considerations drive many of the choices school districts make regarding what food is served in schools. However, the complexity of the food system offers opportunities for advancing health equity by focusing not only on the nutritional quality of food served in schools, but also the sourcing practices of those foods. Providing access to nutritious food in K-12 institutions that is sourced in alignment with the values of food justice* and racial equity* can promote overall health and well-being for students and communities. In this Praxis Brief, we highlight how nutrition policy and procurement in K-12 institutions can advance health, justice, sustainability, equity, and community power.

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