Message on the Presidential Election
It will take us all some time to analyze the full implications of the outcome of the election and to understand the effects on food justice and health equity. As founders of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute at the CUNY School of Public Health, as public health researchers and advocates, and as individuals dedicated to social justice, we wanted to reaffirm the core commitments and values that inform our work.
First, we are committed to helping to build a world where all people have the right to achieve their full potential. This means working to eliminate health disparities and to ensure access to necessities of life such as healthy food as a right, not a privilege.
Second, as researchers we are committed to making decisions based on sound science We view our knowledge and skills, and the expertise of community members, as resources that can enable communities, policymakers, and advocates to advance food justice and health equity.
Third, in grappling with hunger and food insecurity, diet-related diseases, and inequitable access to health services, we remain focused on social determinants, which we define as the structural racism, gender inequality, xenophobia, environmental injustices, and economic inequality that are the root causes of food and public health inequities.
Fourth, we reaffirm the democratic ideal of full participation of all people in the decisions that shape their lives and their health.
Fifth, we recognize that achieving food justice at the city scale requires attending to global, national, and community-scale issues, and the concerns of people in communities across the nation and world. It also demands that we take on as a priority the development and support of leaders who can fight for these values at all scales.
Together, we three have lived through almost 200 years of political ups and downs. In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to working with our many colleagues to figure out how we can best continue to translate our values and commitments into a better city, nation, and world. We invite you, our readers, and the learning community that constitutes food and related movements in New York City, to use this new political environment to deepen and widen the work we do. Together with you, we can realize our shared values through research, public forums, advocacy, writing and in the courses we teach. Please share with us your thoughts on appropriate responses to the election at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post a compilation of your messages.
Nick Freudenberg, Nevin Cohen and Jan Poppendieck