The well-being of Black people in the United States has long been threatened. As SEI establishes partnerships with care groups located in the Bay Area (including but not limited to wellness networks, fitness groups, public health departments, hospitals, etc.), we actively work toward a thriving community. Where Health & Wellness are concerned, we envision a reimagining of a healthcare culture that emphasizes and empowers people to care for themselves and one another to the extent that they can. To promote a new culture requires an increase in health information literacy, building trust with medical and research institutions, and developing community-centered, need-focused programs. Breaking ground for a community garden, creating a culturally safe space for people to decompress, or establishing a regular series of community events are just a few initiatives SEI plans for community members.
We have partnered with Breathe California of the Bay Area, Golden Gate, and Central Coast on two community-focused anti-tobacco projects. The first focuses on working with young community leaders to protect youth-sensitive areas in San Jose from tobacco retail and ultimately against initiation of youth into tobacco use. SEI’s contributions to training, strategy-development, public communications, and general outreach support the goals of the project, specifically as they pertain to reaching youth at high-risk of exposure to tobacco product retail. The second focuses on increasing access to tobacco-cessation services for the Black community. The cessation aspect of this project directly links to a decrease in secondhand smoke exposure as well as a decrease in youth interest in the use of tobacco products, especially the increasingly popular vaping products. The tobacco industry’s eye for profit and targeted advertising unmistakably undermine the well-being of our people. With the long-established evidence of the negative effects of nicotine on the lungs and heart, each of these projects aligns with the aims of SEI’s Health and Wellness interest of our community, to defy practices and policies that impede positive health outcomes and to optimize the programs and procedures that show efficacy.