By Juliet Sims
June 27, 2013
Since it began in 2001, Strategic Alliance has been committed to shifting the conversation around healthy eating and active living here in California -- from one focused on what parents and individuals can do, to one focused on what government and the food and beverage industry should do to improve community health. Because we're focused on reframing the debate on food and activity, a big part of our work centers on helping the news media tell the story of California's communities - and why policy change is so critical to improving community health.
That's why I was honored to announce the winners of Strategic Alliance's first-ever Award for Excellence in Media Advocacy at last week's Childhood Obesity Conference. This award honors California advocates who are shaping media coverage that shifts how policymakers and the public understand food and physical activity-as issues that demand policy change, corporate accountability and social justice.
This year's award winners and finalists are an inspiration - their advocacy provides the evidence that media is a critical tool for amplifying the call for healthy, safe, and equitable communities.
Strategic Alliance 2013 Award for Excellence in Media Advocacy
Winners: Maria Cabildo & Genoveva Islas-Hooker
Juliet Sims & Veva Islas-Hooker at the Childhood Obesity Conference
- Maria Cabildo, Executive Director, East Los Angeles Community Corporation.
Maria works to expand access to affordable housing, drive economic development, and foster community leadership in Boyle Heights. Her efforts have led to stories in the media that make the case for a thriving, equitable community and strengthened resident power through community organizing and leadership development.
- Genoveva (Veva) Islas-Hooker, Regional Coordinator, Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program.
Veva has been a tireless advocate and a key leader, building momentum for healthy and safe communities while also drawing attention to social injustices in the Central Valley. In particular, Veva has used media to shed light on stark regional inequities, including lack of access to fresh produce and healthy food within farmworker communities, and issues of safety within underserved neighborhoods.
Here are a few samples of Maria and Veva's media advocacy efforts in action:
I'd also like to acknowledge the stellar work of our three finalists:
- Brandie Banks-Bey, Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program's media coordinator, works behind the scenes to ensure that local efforts to advance health and equity receive media coverage. See "Ceres Unified holds Walk to School Days."
- Jeff Ritterman, former Richmond City Council member, led the charge in a bold effort to promote and pass a sugar-sweetened beverage tax in Richmond last fall. In this KQED broadcast, Jeff went head-to-head with beverage industry spokesman Chuck Finnie.
- Miguel Villarreal, director of Food and Nutritional Services at Novato Unified School District, has effectively used local and national media to build momentum for healthy school food policy, most recently advocating for a city ordinance to put limits on mobile food vendors near schools.. In "Can School Cafeterias Save Our Nation's Health?" Miguel discusses the critical role of school food environments in reducing chronic disease.
Please join me in congratulating Veva, Maria, and our terrific nominees! And for more tips and resources to help you make the case for healthy food and activity environments in your community, join our Rapid Response Media Network today.