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Civic Engagement Advances Wellness

Sandra Martinez

In California, diversity is one of our state’s most powerful assets, with the potential to advance wellness for all Californians. Latinos are now 39% of California’s population; Asian Americans are 13% and African Americans are 6%. How do we harness the power of diversity to make positive change? One way is through civic engagement.

What is civic engagement? Civic engagement is when people get involved, build power and work to make a difference in their communities. That work might include volunteering time with a local nonprofit, taking a leadership role in local government, getting involved in a campaign to improve the neighborhood or organizing an event to build a sense of community. Interestingly, civically engaged communities tend to be healthier than other communities. To amplify this effect, for many years, Cal Wellness has provided grants to organizations that help community members get involved in community organizing efforts, develop leadership skills and bring the community’s efforts and voices to the attention of decision makers.

Why does voting matter? Voting is one method of civic engagement that ensures our voices are heard on important issues including, access to health care, good jobs and the conditions in our neighborhoods and communities. In California, people of color now are the majority of the state’s 39 million residents. But rates of voting in California among communities of color remain low. We know we want a healthier, more equitable California. Ways to help make that happen are getting active, involved and voting!. So, let’s encourage our communities, neighbors, family members and friends to do just that!

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