A pinback button for the People's Church / Iglesia De La Gente. The background of the button is light blue. At center there is a yellow cross with white accent behind it. A black chain is on either side of the cross. Black text around the top reads [People's Church]. black text around the bottom reads [Iglesias De La Gente]. The back of the button has a metal pin with a clasp.

The Young Lords: Building Power through Direct Action

Creative and strategic militancies interrupt the normal functioning of society, shift the terms of debate in public discourse, and expand the definition of the common good. Never has this been more evident than when the Young Lords barricaded themselves inside The First Spanish United Methodist Church in East Harlem.

Democratizing Governance to Advance Health Justice and Economic Democracy

Democratizing Governance to Advance Health Justice and Economic Democracy

The inequities and exclusions of the U.S. health care system are well known, but the two prevailing strategies in health law and policy—privatization and technocracy—both fail to address disparities in power that produce health injustices. To advance health justice, we need multiple pathways through which everyday people—acting both as individuals and also as member-led associations of patients, families, health care workers, and members of the public—can meaningfully shape governance and advance accountability by contesting over real levers of power. Many possible legal mechanisms incorporate empowered participatory decision-making and accountability into health governance. Here, I explore five mechanisms that hold especially exciting potential.

Democratizing Health Systems to Advance Health Justice

Democratizing Health Systems to Advance Health Justice

The staggeringly disproportionate ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic among people of color, juxtaposed with the summer’s wave of protest against police violence against Black people in the United States, make clear that population health is bound up with existing patterns of social subordination. This reality transcends presidencies and pandemics—even in “normal” times, race, gender, and income play outsize roles in predicting health outcomes in this country. Yet, while the health system is a profoundly important social institution that often determines who lives and who dies, it has rarely been subject to the same level of scrutiny that has been directed at other systems we consider integral to how our democracy functions, such as the justice and electoral systems. In our recent piece, “Democracy and Health: Situating Health Rights within a Republic of Reasons,” we set out the contours of a health system that is grounded in an understanding of entitlements to health (public health and care) as assets of social citizenship. These contours include (1) public participation; (2) fair financing; (3) transparent and fair priority-setting processes; (4) universally acceptable, accessible, and adequate care; and (5) enforceable rights.