Racial inequities and health disparities continue to profoundly affect the lives and futures of tens of millions of Americans every day. Societal fault lines based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and other factors run through virtually every aspect of our daily lives.

Alarm bells should be ringing from coast to coast when a third of residents live in poverty in majority-minority cities such as Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit; more than four-fifths of Black fourth graders are not reading at grade level; and Hispanic women are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic white womenLife expectancy spans 20- to 30-year differences within the same city, depending on one’s race and ethnicity, and ZIP codes have unparalleled consequences for one’s life opportunities and long-term outlook.

These are not just data points. Real lives and real futures are at stake. We must confront the discrimination and systemic racism that are root causes of these heartbreaking realities facing so many children, families, and communities.

We cannot achieve racial equity if we do not achieve health equity for all Americans. If we are truly committed to upholding the ideals of our nation, together we must all serve as catalysts for positive change.

In recent months I’ve had fascinating conversations with organizations and leaders on the front lines of fighting hunger, addressing food apartheid, and advancing food sovereignty in city neighborhoods. While hunger is among the harshest daily realities of poverty, it also represents a tremendous leverage point to rewrite the narrative. And with more than 38 million people in the U.S., including 12 million children, facing food insecurity on a daily basis, there is increasing urgency to act now.

One inspiring solution is the urban agriculture movement to convert blighted properties into community gardens and urban farms with the involvement of impassioned local residents. Scaled over time, those urban farms will enable community members to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables, reduce food insecurity, and, in turn, support disease prevention, healthier living, and longer lifespans.

Read the full article about health equity by Matthew DeCamara at Philanthropy News Digest.