5 Reasons Why Community Voice Matters Now More Than Ever

On January 22, 2021
In Blog

In his 1963 Letter from Birmingham Jail, the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned the poignant statement, “whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” We could not have seen the manifestation of this more emphatically than what we have experienced in the last nine months of 2020. With the range of challenges faced from the global pandemic, social injustice, increased unemployment, and food insecurity, there was not one issue that did not directly or indirectly impact us and our communities in one way or another.

Rewind to just months prior in 2019. The Alliance for Health Equity rolled out its strategic plan which included two goals. The first was to build on community capacity and leadership to increase personal responsibility, voice, and decision-making skills that influence systems, policies, and distribution of community resources. The second was to stimulate investment policies, practices of institutions, donors, and grantors to leverage public and private partnerships in order to create blended funding models to advance community health. The Foundation’s Community Voice approach lifts, at its core, arts and culture, advocacy, partnership, and a platform for the community to shape its own narrative at a time when transformation is happening all around us. As a responsive foundation, we have dedicated our efforts to promoting community health through the lens of understanding social determinants of health (social, physical, economical, societal factors) that impact a community’s well-being. Through discussion, engagement and listening to the community, we believe:

  1. Our Coatesville community will thrive more when each other’s voices are heard.
  2. Our Coatesville community is resource rich in arts, culture, and innovation.
  3. Our Coatesville community is collaborative and ready to uplift a new narrative for impact and change.
  4. Our Coatesville community is interconnected with artists and creative movers and shakers who are ready to create and share collective voices.
  5. Our Coatesville community has a voice that needs to be heard and a story to tell about its resiliency, influence, and ability to sustain meaningful growth and overall influence.

As we enter the new year and sunset the former, we believe the time is now to support the voice of Greater Coatesville through the Coatesville Black Media Renaissance (CBMR) project, a new initiative centered around arts infusion in the community and engagement of grassroots audiences and local and mainstream media outlets. Now in its beginning phases, the CBMR will be sharing what is to come this winter. We look forward to growing with this movement and listening for the resounding messages and greater “direct and indirect” impact through the arts.

As Strategy Officer with The Alliance for Health Equity (AHE), Kimberly Daye-Hardy leads community engagement, grant making and oversees AHE’s health initiatives, scholarship, and philanthropic programs including Community Voice. The Alliance for Health Equity is a responsive philanthropic organization that focuses on changing the persistent inequities in health care, housing, education, and economic opportunities in the Greater Coatesville, Pennsylvania area.