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Is your community happy? stressed? Find out here. March 24, 2011

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Check out this amazing website from the NY Times where you can discover relative levels of happiness, stress, obesity, job satisfaction, community satisfaction, etc by Congressional District. A fun and very useful  site.


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Thich Nhat Hanh’s message for Japan March 18, 2011

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Thich Nhat Hanh’s Message to Japan

Dear friends in Japan,

As we contemplate the great number of people who have died in this tragedy, we may feel very strongly that we ourselves, in some part or manner, also have died.

The pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind. And the human species and the planet Earth are one body. What happens to one part of the body happens to the whole body.

An event such as this reminds us of the impermanent nature of our lives. It helps us remember that what’s most important is to love each other, to be there for each other, and to treasure each moment we have that we are alive. This is the best that we can do for those who have died: we can live in such a way that they continue, beautifully, in us.

Here in France and at our practice centers all over the world, our brothers and sisters will continue to chant for you, sending you the energy of peace, healing and protection. Our prayers are with you.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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What are we thinking? $44 billion in cuts to the vulnerable vs. $42 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy March 17, 2011

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Here is a great chart that compares $44 billion in cuts to services for the most vulnerable Americans including early childhood, job training, heating assistance, community health centers, low income housing , WIC against $42 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. What are people thinking? Or are they?


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Jamaica Plain Youth Health Equity Coalition Report March 10, 2011

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For the last few years I have the honor, pleasure and challenge of working with the Boston Public Health Commission’s Office of Health Equity and Social Justice on their racial health equity programs. http://www.bphc.org/chesj/Pages/default.aspx

Specifically I have been the coalition building, community development consultant to about a dozen of the community sites that they have funded.

The Jamaica Plain Youth Health Equity Collaborative http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=193620544737 has been an especially active and productive coalition. The Jamaica Plain Youth Health Equity Collaborative, a group of youth, health care, housing, education, and youth serving organizations, met for over a year to look at six social determinants of health areas or BUCKETS that impact young people who live, work, and play in Jamaica Plain. The six determinants were housing, education, employment, health care, food and fitness and safety.

Out of this work emerged the Jamaica Plain Youth Report. http://www.bphc.org/chesj/resources/Documents/Reports/JP%20Report.pdf

Each section of the report addresses one of the buckets (social determinants of health) and includes material generated by the young people themselves that cover:

–         A real youth experience of life in JP (names have been changed)

–         Data that supports the real experiences of youth in JP

–         A connection to health outcomes and systemic/institutional racism identified by the youth

–         A list of local organizations where good work on this issue is being done

–         Suggestions for action

The report was written for the youth of the community. The cover of the report has a picture of a “Teeny” which is a drink that is very available in the JP stores that cater to JP’s African American and Latino communities. The main characteristic of a Teeny is that it is 100% full of nothing that is good for you (mainly sugar, flavoring, water and coloring). It is usually replaced by real juice in the stores in the more affluent White parts of JP. It is thus a great symbol of the social determinants of health. Under the picture of the Teeny on the cover it says “If you know what this is, this report if for YOU”

The report was mainly the creative work of Meghan Wood (megleewood@gmail.com).

Check it out  – it is an impressive and engaging product and can be an inspiration for other communities.


They hope that in the hands of young people, their families, and the organizations that serve them, this report will aid in the fight to create a more equitable JP and Boston.

I have been inspired by the work of the JP Youth Health Equity Collaborative and their leader, Abigail Ortiz, and you will too. Take a look and then let us know what you think. Could you do something like this your community? COMMENT HERE.

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