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"Building Healthy Communities:Changing the POWER SCHEMES" with Makani Themba l December 12, 2012

"Building Healthy Communities:Changing the POWER SCHEMES"

                                               LIVE AND CALL IN

Executive Director, The Praxis Project

Saturday, December 15, 2012               10 pm ET

Executive Director, The Praxis Project

Makani Themba is executive director of The Praxis Project, a nonprofit organization helping communities use media and policy advocacy to advance health justice. Under her leadership, The Praxis Project has raised more than $20 million for advocacy organizations working in communities of color nationwide. These initiatives include Communities Creating Healthy Environments (C-CHE), an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support policy advocacy to advance healthy food outlets and safe places to play in communities of color and Building Capacity Building Power, a partnership with Ford Foundation to support grassroots civic engagement.

Makani was previously director of the Transnational Racial Justice Initiative (TRJI), an international project to build capacity among advocates to more effectively address structural racism and leverage tools and best practices from around the world. While at TRJI, she co-authored and edited a "shadow report" on institutional racism and white privilege – the first of its kind.

Prior to that, she directed the Grass Roots Innovative Policy Program (GRIPP) a national project to build capacity among local organizing groups to more effectively engage in media and policy advocacy to address institutional racism in welfare and public education. She was a staffer for the California State Legislature, served as media director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference/Los Angeles, and worked five years for the Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems, including three years as director of its Center for Media and Policy Analysis.

Makani has published numerous articles and case studies on race, class, media, policy advocacy and public health. She is author of Making Policy, Making Change, and co-author of Media Advocacy and Public Health: Power for Prevention, a contributor to the volumes Community Based Participatory Research for Health, Prevention is Primary: Strategies for Community well Being, We the Media along with many other edited book projects. Her publications have helped set the standard for policy advocacy work and contributed significantly to the field’s current emphasis on media and policy advocacy to address health problems. She has also co-authored with Hunter Cutting is Talking the Walk: Communications Guide for Racial Justice. Her latest book, a collaboration under The Praxis Project with contributions from Malkia Cyril and others, is Fair Game: A Strategy Guide for Racial Justice Communications in the Obama Era.


The Praxis Project is a nonprofit movement support intermediary and an institution of color that supports organizing and change work at local, regional and national levels. Focused on movement building for fundamental change, our mission is to build healthy communities by changing the power relationships between people of color and the institutional structures that affect their lives.
Healing what really makes us sick. It is no secret that across nearly every indicator of health status, low income people and people of color are more likely to be sick, injured, or die prematurely. Social determinants – where we live, our race and gender, our employment and income status, even our access to democratic participation are critical factors in our health status. Improving health status will require addressing these root causes through sustained action for change that transforms the current systems of neglect, bias, and privilege into systems – policies, practices, institutions – into a social contract that truly supports health for all. 
Our internationally recognized staff employ their broad experience in training, advocacy, policy development, media relations and technical assistance to support local organizations as they work to advance their vision of a healthy, just community.

The Praxis Project and Racial Justice

Developing an Equity Impact Statement for local policy making: This document provides a framework for jurisdiction interested in advancing equity as part of the policy making process. It is not a legal document but a concept paper that will provide ideas for findings and procedures that in many cases can be incorporated into existing frameworks for the consideration of proposed ordinances and other rule making.

Building public support for racial justice niche by niche: This snapshot from our publication, "Fair Game: A Strategic Guide for Communications during the Obama Era" offers suggestions for identifying key audiences for advancing racial justice.

Disrupting the Discourse: Framing at the Intersection of Racism and Opportunity,While talking about race has been declared passé in some communications circles, any examination of conservative framing on crime, public school funding, welfare and more show that they seem to talk about little else. Affirmative action, public school funding, income supports – virtually every major political battle underway today banter race somewhere close to the surface. Race and more precisely racism, is where the contest for the “dominant frame” is most intense and where, when we don’t pay close attention, we often lose the battle. Creating a Collaborative Demand Process

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Tags: Makani, Praxis, Project, The, Themba, building, community, development, economic, empower

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