Labor Day signals the end of summer, and for many of us, a move into fall even if the weather and date on the calendar don’t mark the season as official.  For Mother & Child Health Coalition, September is a time to shine a spotlight on the reason for our existence as it ushers in Infant Mortality month.

At MCHC, fall marks the time to formulate a policy agenda that will ultimately reduce infant mortality in Kansas City.  One of our most important gatherings, our legislative policy meeting, convenes on November 15.  We need your enthusiasm, expertise, and energy to put forward initiatives that will impact the unacceptable number of infant deaths, particularly for African-American babies who are dying at rates that are more than double that of white babies.

Why the emphasis on the policy meeting?  Policy change is the best way that I know of to bring broad, cultural change to our systems and institutions in a way that no other method can.  Unfortunately, education of decision-makers on issues that we care and know about deeply can be characterized by the overly broad brush of “lobbying,” causing many in the nonprofit sector to withdraw from those conversations as a precaution.  I submit that we have a duty to engage where our expertise and experience could illuminate the impact on our community and mission.

The format of the November meeting will prioritize the importance of member participation in putting forward a thoughtful agenda.  To that end, we welcome your suggestions for policies that rise to the level of priority, based on impact and feasibility in our political climate.  As we get closer to November 15, MCHC members will receive background information on potential policies that have emerged from our coalition work.  Please send us your suggestions and we will provide them to members so they can make an informed decision at the November meeting.

Your participation is vital to our success and I look forward to seeing you on Friday, November 15! Registration will open in October