by Cindy Miller, intern, CCA
Mothers and Others for Justice (MOFJ), a New Haven grassroots advocacy group sponsored by Christian Community Action (CCA), is welcoming new members to join us in our efforts to enact positive changes around the lack of affordable housing, healthcare disparities, safe communities and other quality of life issues.
Many of the group members are single heads of household women of color who use their individual and collective voices to influence state and local policy and decision-makers to implement solutions that help people to become self-sufficient. Participation in MOFJ has proved transformational for many members as they return to school, serve their communities, work on political campaigns, and run for office.
Many of the members of MOFJ are committed to the HEALTH sub-committee (Helping Everyone Achieve Lasting Trusted Healthcare) in order to identify and advocate for changes in the healthcare system. We recognize that access to safe, affordable housing is closely related to achieving optimal health outcomes.
Over the years, the members of MOFJ have become empowered by sharing their life stories locally and at the State Capitol. In the coming months, the group is enthusiastic about the opportunity to have their stories recorded in a new grant-funded story lab. Like the cliché, a picture is worth a thousand words, one story of a member of MOFJ and his or her unique struggles tells much more than pages of statistics.
MOFJ will co-host a January legislative breakfast where they will have the opportunity to communicate directly with members of the local and state government the areas in which they believe legislation is necessary. Benefit cliffs and affordable housing top the list of concerns, the latter concern being evident at a recent aldermanic meeting where a number of members of MOFJ presented testimony about inclusionary zoning.
During the pandemic, healthcare disparities between low-income people of color and others were starkly demonstrated — further evidence that those whom CCA serves do not have lasting trusted healthcare. In order to better understand the gaps and areas of dissatisfaction, a survey of 200 members of the community is underway, and there is an online town hall meeting scheduled for Monday, January 10, from 7-8:30 p.m. to encourage conversation and possible solutions on ideas where participants feel need improvement. This meeting has been entitled, “Tell ’Em Why You’re Mad!” It is important that the participants be entirely forth-coming as that will enable CCA to plan its advocacy work through which change can be achieved. Furthermore, it is hoped that the participants will bring up areas about which they want to be educated in a five-part “Health Institute” that will be open to the public to be held in the Spring.
MOFJ has monthly meetings on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in New Haven at which there is frequently a speaker on issues of interest. All are welcome to attend meetings as well as to participate in the upcoming Town Hall Meeting on healthcare issues and the HEALTH Institute.