The Inland Intercultural Health Equity Coalition: Elevating the Voice of Communities of Color
Integrating different cultures, origins and experiences leads to rich perspectives, ideas, and innovation. In this spirit, FIVE organizations came together in 2021, disenchanted with failing traditional power structures and wanting to create an inclusive collaborative that focused on harnessing the strengths of different cultures and building inclusive community power. As one member states, “We are leveraging the strength that is drawn from our diverse backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences.”
Inland Intercultural Health Equity Coalition (IIHEC) Members
Community Action Health Desert Network
Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement C.O.P.E
El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center
M.A.L.O. Motivating. Action. Leadership. Opportunity.
A collective of 501(c) (3) service providers, each organization specialized in serving unique populations or delivering specific services, and have strong footprints in the region for decades.
Who we are individually:
Community Action Health Desert Network provides a variety of programs related to health, education, and finance, to residents of the Victor Valley region of California. With a model based on client participation, CHAN is focused on assisting clients to invest in themselves and positively change their own circumstances.
Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE) is a 501(c)3 faith-based organization, established in 2000 by a core group of pastors to train and develop the capacity of religious and lay leaders in congregations and across the Inland Empire to protect and revitalize the communities in which they live, work, and worship.
El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center (El Sol) is a pioneer in Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Promotores programs in the Inland Empire. El Sol is the leading agency focus on identifying training, deploying, and supporting CHWs and promotores in the region.
MALO, or Motivating Action Leadership Opportunity, a nonprofit organization that serves Tongan Americans in the Inland Empire area through youth mentorship, job readiness, resource literacy, and cultural gathering events.
Who we are together
Collectively, IIHEC leaders have 60 years in total serving their community. Within this collective legacy of service exists deep wisdom and a hunger to create more equitable structures. The vision of the Inland Empire Intercultural Coalition (IIHEC) is to bring a welcoming spirit to build power in regional communities, leveraging the diverse assets of the partner organizations and cultures to remove structural barriers to health, well-being while transforming Inland Empire communities. We came together because
A Vision for the future:
Community-based organizations such as the members who comprise IIHEC are some of the Inland Empire’s largest assets. These members have served Black, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Asian and white communities for more than 30 years collectively. Their focus is to elevate their organizational foci beyond service provision to enact positive policy changes because they recognize that structural changes are critical to create health equity in the Inland Empire.
This is because in the U.S., health and racism are inextricably linked. Racism and discrimination are deeply ingrained socially, politically, and economically. The organizations and the people they served witnessed first hand how for Black, Native American, Latinx, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and other low status communities, there exists unequal access to social and economic opportunities. Quality education, employment, livable wages, healthy food, stable and affordable housing, and safe communities are factors that shape health, known as the Social Determinants of Health. But service provision alone will not bring positive change. The IIHEC partners recognized that systems shifts and policy development are also critical to shaping equitable worlds. And they realized that IIHEC can achieve more working together.
Through the many years of community-based work that these leaders have achieved, the leaders deliver insight regarding improved structures for sustainability, more equitable income, affordable housing for the long term, and building Inland Empire communities who have qualities that exist in higher status communities, features like robust schools, community spaces that exude cultural and artistic vibrance, jobs that impart dignity and high wages with room to grow– essentially, communities where members can grow and thrive.
They envision an Inland Empire where funding, resources and benefits are shared equitably
They envision an Inland Empire where policymakers understand that they are held accountable to residents’ priorities and best interests
Collective impact efforts such as the IIHEC result in accountability structures that can re-envision how different cultures work together to leverage and maximize individual and collective strengths. By leveraging collective power, existing structures can be changed to foster health equity and policymakers can be held accountable to community priorities and interests. Contact Alex Fajardo, Executive Director at email@example.com to learn more and get involved.