Leading with Race

In alignment with the Human Impact Partners' Health Equity Guide (updated July 2019), the CHNA 9 is committed to policies that lead with race.

We lead explicitly - though not exclusively - with race because racial inequities persist in every system across the country, without exception. We can't find one example of a system where there are no racial disparities in outcomes: Health, Education, Criminal Justice, Employment, and so on. Baked into the creation and ongoing policies of our government, media, and other institutions - unless otherwise countered - racism operates at individual, institutional, and structural levels and is therefore present in every system we examine.

We also lead with race because when you look within other dimensions of identity - income, gender, sexuality, education, ability, age, citizenship, and geography - there are inequities based on race. Knowing this helps us take a more intersectional approach, while always naming the role that race plays in people's experiences and outcomes.

Last, we lead with race because inflaming racial tension has been a deliberate political strategy by those seeking to maintain their own power. Through subtle, "dog-whistle" coded references and, more recently again, overt racist statements, wealthy special and corporate interests have successfully divided low-income people of color from low-income whites, preventing those groups from joining forces to build power. This has been detrimental to the physical, mental, social, and economic health of people of all races, including whites and must be countered if we are to advance equity.

Advancing health equity requires addressing all areas of marginalization and understanding the interconnected nature of oppression. However, there is benefit to starting with race as we can harness tools, frameworks, and resources to address these inequities.


The CHNA 9 is a member of the Massachusetts Public Health Association and is affiliated with:

  • YWCA
  • Jane Doe, Incorporated
  • Children's Mental Health Campaign
  • Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR)
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Coalition
  • Massachusetts Food Policy Council
  • T4MA - the Central Mass Housing Alliance
  • Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
  • CARE Coalition
  • Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance
  • Other statewide and local coalitions that advocate for health equity

The CHNA9 works with these partners to provide timely information on legislation and to create opportunities for North Central Mass residents to give testimony, write op-eds, participate in listening sessions, rally, organize, and otherwise have their voices heard on the issues affecting their health and quality of life.