16:43 PM

Grassroots OPEN: Social Justice, Equity as Key Oral Health Advocacy Issues

The 2019 Oral Health Progress and Equity Network (OPEN) Grassroots Convening, Disrupting With Inclusion, took place in Washington, D.C. last week. These members of OPEN represent those “on the ground” in their communities working to achieve and help inform network goals.

Roughly 100 OPEN grassroots representatives came together to continue shaping the future of the network, build capacity for impact, and strengthen partnerships among community-based organizations.

The meeting began with a trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where attendees had an opportunity to explore the ongoing efforts to promote greater social justice for black Americans. Over the following two days, attendees provided input into OPEN policy priorities – a clear messaging process driven from the bottom up.

A Frameworks training further deepened attendees’ ability as a grassroots community to craft advocacy messaging that leverages the most effective framing to open new opportunities for change. As part of that work, we had a conversation about health equity designed to build both collective understanding and capacity to best elevate equity as a priority in our communities.

Finally, we learned from additional examples of effective grassroots advocacy, further highlighting the critical role grass roots play in OPEN efforts. The priorities identified during this meeting set the stage for OPEN’s upcoming advocacy day in October, where members will convene to speak to their Congressional leaders face-to-face. OPEN also will use input from this event to further define the role of grassroots going forward, knowing there is more change ahead as we approach the 2020 election cycle.

Interested in more about OPEN? Visit www.oralhealth.network.