Felipe Tendick-Matesanz, Lilian Jimenez, Wesley Epplin, Maximillian Boykin

Felipe Tendick-Matesanz, Lilian Jimenez, Wesley Epplin, Maximillian Boykin
Location: Chicago, Illinois Cohort Start Year: 2016 Populations Served: Incarcerated or Formerly Incarcerated Populations, People Living with HIV/AIDS

Our team is focused on the overlapping areas of structural racism in policing and under-investment in communities of color. We aim to push back against the agenda of austerity budgeting in both Chicago and Illinois, and focusing on advancing health care access for immigrants and fighting discrimination against them. We also aim to work with low-wage workers to advance economic justice.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: The Organizing Health Institute: Prepare Health Professionals to Demand Justice
Joint Initiative (Boykin, Epplin, Jimenez, Tendick-Matesanz)

Our team’s strategic initiative is to develop and host the Organizing Health Institute, which will advance health organizing to build power with communities demanding just circumstances. We also plan to engage in narrative change, as narrative and framing are forms of power that we can engage with our organizing for power. We will develop the curriculum, recruit participants, and pilot our model for the Organizing Health Institute. The program will seek to benefit communities experiencing injustices of all types and health inequities specifically via helping health professionals understand power building and organizing. The main outcomes will be the development of a cohort of people who have engaged with the curriculum and become newly involved in organizing to build power to demand justice. Our partner organizations include the Collaborative for Health Equity-Cook County (CHE Cook County) and Resist Reimagine Rebuild (R3). 

We will house the Organizing Health Institute at CHE Cook County and help grow its membership and participation in community, labor, and immigrant organizing. We will also connect health workers at the axis, praxis of social justice and public health to engage in ongoing grassroots organizing, starting with the R3 coalition, in which our team is already involved. Contextually, structural racism, nativism, class inequity, and neoliberalism have contributed to vast health inequities, so our political economy in Cook County is not conducive to health equity; we are seeking to develop a model of building power to change these circumstances.

Felipe Tendick-Matesanz [Pictured Front Left]
Principal at Vertical Strategies, Team Lead at Collaborative for Health Equity Cook County
I am a human being. I bring the perspective of having had something, losing it and then making a conscious decision to redirect my anger and pain. I dedicate my life to human rights, to a focused dismantling of the systems of oppression and taking away power from the established elite that maintain them.

Lilian Jimenez [Pictured Front Right]
Policy Director, Cook County Board of Commissioners

I am trained as an attorney with a background as a community organizer. I strive to promote the perspectives of low-income black, brown and immigrant communities in the policy world.

Wesley Epplin  [Pictured Back Left]
Director of Health Equity, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

I am the Director of Health Equity at Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, which works to advance the health of all people in Illinois by promoting health equity. I’m also a co-facilitator and co-founder of Radical Public Health, which focuses solutions on the root causes of public health problems. I bring my public health and political science background and activist approach to fighting for justice in health and health care.

Click here to watch Wesley’s Legacy Project video.

Maximillian Boykin [Pictured Back Right]
Senior Coordinator, Black AIDS Institute 

Click here to watch Maximillian’s Legacy Project video.