Building Community in the Age of Information: fighting health disparities in the modern world
Research done at our school and elsewhere shows that use of the internet can be lifesaving, heartwarming and can help people change unhealthy behaviors, find healthcare information, spur social advocacy and so much more.
I was delighted that Chancellor Holden Thorp welcomed the group and spoke to the importance of diversity.
Robert Fullilove gave great keynote!
Here was a man who spoke without Power point slides and had the audience in his hands. He told us about growing up and through the civil rights era, a time when Blacks taking buses had to get in line and pay their fares in front and then go to the back of the bus to enter. If whites wanted their seats, Blacks had to get up. The sheer ludicrousness of demanding such a behavior boggles our minds today. He pointed out that while everyone credits Rosa Parks with refusing to give up her seat, at the time, there was a large effort to get people to say “enough.” Parks wasn’t the only one who sat her ground.
Fullilove said we’ve come to expect living in real time, using information from many sources expertly. A consequence is that we are less aware of history as an important force. He cautioned us to remember that history is about context, and that when we lose that, it becomes only heroes, and we lose the complexity of situations and forces.
In talking about his experience as a community organizer, he said the failure to engage communities is a major gap in public health today. We need people to go into communities and spend time working with the people in them to understand their wants and needs. When we do that, our capacity for change could be unlimited, and what we’d create would be a sustainable development.
I love that at a relatively “mature” age, I still can go to a lecture (not often), become completely captivated and walk out feeling that something about my life changed in a positive way. Isn’t that the best part of education!
Happy Monday! Hard to believe it’s March already. Barbara