An interview with Angela Glover Blackwell – this interview is part of the original “Voices that Make a Difference” series written by Andrea King Collier for the Food Security Learning Center’s Race in the Food System topic.
No matter where she goes, Angela Glover Blackwell keeps an unflinching eye on the needs of the underserved, whether it is on issues of health, wellbeing or food security. At a recent brainstorming meeting on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization act, Glover Blackwell, the founder and CEO of Policylink insisted that the words “ especially for low income children and children of color,” be added to a talking point demanding that all children have access to fresh healthy food. “If we are not deliberate in our language, people will think they have not done their job, if they feed just some of the children,” she says.
It is that same intention that has called Policylink to examine healthy food retailing in this country. Their report, Healthy Food, Healthy Communities addresses the limited access that many residents of low-income communities and communities of color have to affordable, healthy food. Glover Blackwell says “increasing local healthy food retailing can improve the health of residents and the broader health of the communities in which they live.”
Glover Blackwell says that “healthy food choices in underserved areas will come with investments in those areas.” She believes that communities all have positive assets, and she and the Policylink staff say, “lift up what works.”
What’s not working in many communities of color is their economic instability, which also impacts residents’ ability to buy fresh, affordable and accessible food. “Where you live will often determines what kind of food you eat .We have to make sure that people are able to live in safe and stable neighborhoods,” Glover Blackwell says. “And neighborhoods have to have supermarkets. We know that when there is no supermarket, people rely on convenience stores and fast food restaurants.”
Our thanks to Andrea King Collier for writing and sharing these powerful stories. For more information about Andrea’s work, visit www.andreacollier.com.