Kern County Public Health recently hosted, “Call to Action for a Healthy Kern,” an event that brought together a number of county departments and local non-profits to talk about the common issues we deal with and ways to move forward. Under the current system, SEIU members do amazing things every day for countless people in Kern County. Because the problems here are so significant, there is never enough time or money to help everyone who needs it. By working together, we hope that we can raise the standards for everyone.
One centerpiece of the event was a Tree of Hope. Each leaf was decorated with a wish that had been expressed by a child in our community. Less crime, fewer gangs, fewer drugs, and cleaner streets and parks were on the wish list. Better food, healthier food and even vegetables made the wish list as well. Becky Lomeli, an SEIU Local 521 Shop Steward and Health Education Assistant at Public Health, talked about the piece she’d worked on. “Every one of these kids deserves these basic things. We need to work together to make sure they get it.”
Kern County Supervisor Mike Maggard was on one of panels that spoke that day. He committed to helping drive county policy forward to help low-income families. “Government is more than streetlights and roads. How do we get government to help people take back their neighborhoods? How do I get involved to help these families dream again?” SEIU 521’s Committee on Social and Economic Justice meets monthly to discuss issues like this and more.