The Healthy Chicago Equity Zones initiative deploys hyper-local strategies to confront the social and environmental factors that contribute to health and racial inequity – with the ultimate goal of closing Chicago’s racial life expectancy gap. Efforts began with community leadership of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, including outreach and engagement during 2021. These efforts focused on increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates and evolved to confront factors that contribute to health and racial disparities, including healthcare and social service access, food access, housing conditions, community safety, and the physical and the built neighborhood environment.
One form of outreach is the Healthy Southwest kickoff event SWOP held on July 16th, 2022 at Gage Park. During this event SWOP, along with many other southwest side organizations, gave community members a chance to come out and engage in arts and crafts, field games, food, yoga, and live performances. Throughout the event, those in attendance connected with community, health and social service organizations such as Esperanza, PODER, The Resurrection Project, La Casa Norte, Envision, Metropolitan Family Service and Southwest Collective. Through events like this as well as many others, SWOP hopes to be able to continue to connect the community with resources and opportunities to close the equity gaps that exist and keep the community progressing toward a healthier state of being.