HERE4Justice (Health Equity + Racial Equity for Justice), the MPH@Simmons student-found and -led activist group, provides students with opportunities to put their organizing, advocacy, and leadership skills to action throughout and beyond their MPH studies. At APHA's 150th anniversary meeting, themed "Leading the Path Toward Equity," MPH@Simmons alumni will share their experiences in two oral presentations.
On Monday, November 7 at 4:30pm, Jennifer Ware, a 2021 graduate of the program, will give the presentation, You Don’t Need to Wait Until You’re Hired to Fight for Justice: An MPH Student-led Approach to Advocating for Health Equity and Racial Justice. During this presentation, Jennifer will illustrate how HERE4Justice provides MPH students with a profound space of practice to engage in community organizing and movement building for health equity and racial justice. This space has provided opportunities for students to work alongside organizers and activists and has proven consequential in their preparedness to meet the challenge of joining the public health field ready to enact change.
On Tuesday, November 8 at 8:30am, 2022 graduate of MPH@Simmons Roxanne James will delve deeper into the work of HERE4Justice, with the presentation Dismantling systemic racism: Student-led activism for health and racial equity sharing insights on the group’s strategy and action. Roxanne will highlight several campaigns and the impact of HERE4Justice’s organizing and advocacy work among student organizers and within the broader community. Honoring those powerful historical and present student movements, the presentation will confirm the continued importance of student activism, enthusiasm, and perspective in the struggle for social justice and health equity.
Currently, HERE4Justice is organizing a campaign to raise awareness about the close link between voting and health equity and to get out the vote for the 2022 Midterm elections. The group has joined Center for Common Ground, a non-partisan voting rights organization led by people of color, in their fight against voter suppression. HERE4Justice is aiming to send postcards to 1000 voters in voter suppression states, especially Black and brown voters, to make sure they are fully informed to exercise their right to vote in the November 2022 elections.
The MPH@Simmons program concentrates on Health Equity and leads with a racial and intersectional justice lens and political economic analyses of health. Students are encouraged to engage in critical, historical, structural analyses and interventions on health inequities locally, nationally and globally. Delivered through online learning, live sessions, and two in-person immersions focused on racism and oppression and on migration and environmental justice in the US-Mexico borderlands, students develop skills through applied, interactive, and collaborative learning. HERE4Justice extends students' class-based learning into student-led activism for structural change.