CAHC stands with PHI and young leaders working to fight against white supremacy and racism

CAHC Director Alison Chopel writes about recent events in #Charlottesville and beyond, and how and why CAHC and PHI stand against white supremacy and racism as a public health issue. 

Racism pervades our lives on a daily basis, and as a program that serves youth and communities of color, we must do our best to confront it, and especially to support the young leaders who fight against hatred in their communities. A first step is to speak out against it. White supremacist groups are not “just” racist—they are known terrorists and they engage in both psychological and physical violence. They injure people and communities. When they are permitted to gather and demonstrate in public, they are engaging in recruitment efforts, and targeting adolescents, many of whom have multiple reasons to be angry and to feel isolated and disenfranchised.

Christian Piccolini, founder of Life After Hate, in an interview with Amy Goodman, described this process:

“I’m a firm believer that ideology isn’t what radicalizes people. I think it’s the search for identity, community and a sense of purpose. And if there’s some sort of brokenness, a void underneath that in your life—and it could be trauma or addiction or mental health issues, anything that would hold you back or deviate your path from the intended one that you were on—you tend to look for acceptance in negative pathways.”

This is why the work that CAHC, our partners and other youth development organizations do across the country is essential to the health of our national psyche. 

Mary Pittman, CEO of the Public Health Institute, describes the connection between health and racism. Please check out her full statement on the PHI website:  

"The social determinants of health are foundational to public health work, as research shows that the conditions that surround us shape and influence our health. And the evidence points to one particularly powerful set of social determinants: racism and other forms of oppression. Systemic racism (such as policies that intentionally lock people of color out of housing or business loans), and individual racism (like targeted hate crimes), have deep and long lasting impacts on individual health and equity and broader societal illness. Racism has been linked to physical conditions like higher blood pressure—even among teens—and other stress-related illnesses, as our ACES research has also confirmed. From a public health perspective, racism and oppression can be deadly.”

Healthy Teen Network Seeks Host Sites for Study for "Generate My Healthy Future Plan"

CAHC is re-posting on behalf of one of our partner organizations, Healthy Teen Network. Spread the word!

Healthy Teen Network (HTN) seeks three community-based or faith-based organizations anywhere in the U.S. to help us in a study of one of their health promotion products. Generate My Healthy Future Plan is an activity Healthy Teen Network developed to help youth in determining the health matters of greatest interest to them, where to go online to learn more about the issue, or to get help.

HTN is conducting a study to test Healthy Future Plan with adolescents and young adults between ages 14 and 24 matched to non-parent caring adults (such as agency staff, community volunteers, mentors, coaches, youth ministers, youth workers). They want to learn from youth and caring adults how we could improve the activity. HTN will provide a $25 gift cards to study participants to thank them for their time.

They are recruiting sites with the capability of recruiting approximately 15 youth and 15 caring adults into the study and providing space for a group event. HTN seek sites that can organize their events between now and September 30, 2017 and can offer a $1,000 honorarium per site to cover event expenses and to thank sites for your time. To learn more about being a host site, please contact Bob Reeg at or 443-216-1354.

OYUnited Leaders Advise Funders and Train Youth in Civic Engagement at the Aspen Collective Impact Convening

Opportunity Youth kicking ass! OYUnited is a national advocacy network of former and current opportunity youth working to reduce the number of young people disconnected from work and school. Check out this excerpt from their July 28th newsletter:

OYUnited Leader, Lashon Amado, and several other young leaders including, Trenton Cassilas-Bakeberg, a young leader who was active in the Standing Rock organizing, advised an audience of national and local philanthropic leaders during a Funder Roundtable titled, Radical Possibilities: The Power of Youth in the Fight for Social Justice This roundtable shared models of youth-led organizing and exemplars of authentic youth-adult partnerships in the work for social change. It also showcases the radical possibilities and power of youth voice, leadership, and organizing, and how philanthropy can support these efforts. 

Several other leaders of OYUnited  - Jamiel Alexander (YouthBuild), Kimberly Pham (Aspen Institute, Philadelphia Youth Network), Shawnice Jackson (Public Allies), Shanice Turner (Year Up) and Ryan Dalton (EMPLOY New Orleans) -  also planned and facilitated a youth track for the convening for a group of over 30 young leaders from various Aspen communities. A segment of the youth track included a training in civic engagement and building community power.

Click here to view the Funder Roundtable panelYou can also view recorded live streams of several other sessions at the convening by clicking here.

Inspirations From the June 2017 H-REP Graduation

Lindsey Salcido, CAHC’s Central Valley Coordinator for the Healthy Relationships and Economic Pathways (H-REP) program, was invited to attend the Merced County Office of Education’s graduation for the Break the Code and H-REP cohort on June 23, 2017. Read about Lindsey’s wonderful experience below!

I arrived around 11:50 am on a typical warm summer day in Merced. Walking into the classroom, I saw the energetic students eagerly awaiting the graduation ceremony. To the side of the classroom, a giant vanilla cake topped with a chocolate gradation hat and box of freshly baked cookies also awaited. As the clock struck noon, it was time to begin.

Adam Lane, a Health Educator with Valley Crisis Center, called up each student individually and handed them their certificate of completion for the H-REP program. Lara Olson, also a Health Educator with Valley Crisis Center, handed each student an H-REP canteen and lanyard with a USB drive. Each student sat down and explored their parting gifts. Monica Rocha, who teaches the Break-the-Code piece that introduces students to the fundamentals of computer use by teaching various operating systems, terminology, and internet skills, then approached the front of the classroom.  She called up each student once again to present them with a certificate of completion. As everyone enjoyed cake and cookies, each student was called back to receive their stipend and Chromebook.

The excitement from the students lit up the room; they had made so much progress through the program, and it was thrilling to celebrate their accomplishments. H-REP is offering important tools to these youth and it is truly exhilarating thinking of the possibilities they have with the tools offered from H-REP and Break-the-Code. 

No More Flavored Tobacco Coalition News Release

In support of our partners at the American Cancer Society Action Network, we’re re-sharing the No More Flavored Tobacco Coalition’s recent news release. It touches on the recent update regarding Oakland’s restriction on the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco. Learn more at:


Steph McCorkle

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

916 802-4033


 Oakland Restricts Sale of Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Tobacco

Contra Costa Supervisors Also Finalize Flavored Tobacco Restrictions Today

Oakland, CA – July 18, 2017— Leading health organizations and community groups today applauded the Oakland City Council’s unanimous approval of new safeguards to keep flavored tobacco products – including menthol-flavored cigarettes – from youth. A final vote on the new measure is expected in September after which the new law would go into effect mid-2018.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors also finalized restrictions today on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes, in unincorporated areas of the county within 1,000 feet of youth-sensitive places such as parks and schools.

“Flavored tobacco products – including menthol cigarettes and candy – are a key part of the industry’s strategy to bait youth, particularly youth of color, into becoming tomorrow’s addicted users. The American Heart Association strongly supports the Oakland City Council’s decision to protect our community’s health and wellbeing from these profit-driven practices,” said Alden McDonald III, MD, President of the Board for the Greater Bay Area Division of the American Heart Association and Oakland resident.

According to a government study, 81 percent of kids who have ever tried tobacco started with a flavored product and 80 percent of current youth tobacco users had used a flavored tobacco product in the past month.

“Among the most serious challenges, tobacco companies have aggressively marketed menthol-flavored tobacco products to African Americans, often targeting youth,” said Carol McGruder, Co-Chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council. “For too long the tobacco industry has successfully blocked our community from meaningful engagement in public health policy that addresses the needs of our community. We are so proud to see the phenomenal leadership of our Black elected officials as they stand up for our youth.”

The anesthetizing effect of menthol makes the smoke easier to inhale and masks the harsh taste of tobacco, making it more appealing to new users. A report by the Food and Drug Administration found that those who begin smoking menthol cigarettes are more likely to progress to a regular smoking habit and have a higher level of nicotine dependence than those who begin with non-menthol cigarettes.

“The destructive impact on the African-American community is clear as African Americans smoke menthol cigarettes at very high rates and quit smoking at lower rates, and African-American men have notably high death rates from lung cancer,” said Cassie Ray, Bay Area government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Meanwhile, young smokers are also more likely to use menthol cigarettes than other age groups. More than half (54 percent) of youth smokers ages 12-17 use menthol cigarettes compared with fewer than one-third of smokers 35 and older. Among African-American youth, menthol use is even higher: seven out of 10 African-American youth smokers smoke menthol cigarettes.

Ending the sale of flavored tobacco products is an issue of both health and social justice. Young menthol cigarette smokers are disproportionately African American, Asian American, LGBT and from low-income communities already significantly impacted by tobacco-related disease.

“We should do everything we can to protect young people from tobacco addiction,” said Vanessa Marvin, Vice President, Public Policy and Advocacy for the American Lung Association in California. “Restricting the sale of menthol and other flavored tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, so kids don’t have easy access will reduce teen use and ultimately save lives.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed into law the most comprehensive flavored tobacco restrictions in the country on July 7th after the Board of Supervisors heard compelling evidence that the tobacco industry markets flavored products as “starter kits” to trigger a lifetime addiction in youth and minorities.

“It is no surprise that Big Tobacco is now pushing back with a greedy attempt to qualify a referendum to undo the historic public health strides made by San Francisco leadership,” said Bob Gordon, Co-Chair of the San Francisco Tobacco-Free Coalition. “Make no mistake—the tobacco industry cannot survive without seducing a new generation- they have one goal in mind and that is to lure young tobacco users into a lifelong addiction. The industry shamelessly tries to maximize profits while its customers suffer death and disease, and local taxpayers continue to foot the bill for tobacco-related illnesses.” 

Tobacco use is responsible for one-third of the cancer deaths in this country and causes nearly half a million deaths annually from all tobacco-related illnesses including heart and lung disease.

“Working with people battling lung disease every day, we know how painful, isolating, and hopeless many people feel when they are struggling with tobacco addiction and tobacco-related disease,” said Dr. Tanya Stevenson, President & CEO of Breathe California. “We also know how agonizing it is to watch people you love struggle with oxygen tanks, tests, treatments, and surgeries—all due to tobacco use.”

The No More Flavored Tobacco coalition comprises the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, Breathe California, and Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund. The group has launched an educational website to inform the Bay Area about what’s at stake if flavored tobacco products aren’t reined in. Featured on the website is the report “The Flavor Trap: How Tobacco Companies Are Luring Kids with Candy-Flavored E-Cigarettes and Cigars” that details the dangers of flavored tobacco and how it is being marketed to hook the next generation to a potential lifetime nicotine addiction.

Learn more at

 About American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. ACS CAN supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

About American Heart Association and American Stroke Association

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the American Lung Association in California

The American Lung Association in California is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy. The Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer, to improve the air we breathe, to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families, and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association in California or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-685-4872) or visit

About the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund
The mission of the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund is to improve health and save lives by reducing tobacco use, the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. We mount education, advocacy and electoral campaigns in support of public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.

About Breathe California

Through grassroots education, advocacy and services, Breathe California fights lung disease, advocates for clean air and advances public health in our local communities. Since 1908, we have addressed the most serious health threats of our time through grassroots programs that empower individual, institutional and community change for better breathing and healthier living. We have local offices in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Monterey and Sacramento. Visit us:

About Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights

Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights is the leading national lobbying organization (501 (c) 4), dedicated since 1976 to nonsmokers' rights, taking on the tobacco industry at all levels of government, protecting nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke, and preventing tobacco addiction among youth. ANR pursues an action-oriented program of policy and legislation. Visit

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