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WANDA Joins campaign for the culture to advance health equity

For International Women’s Day, leading Black women in health equity, including WANDA’s CEO, Tambra Raye Stevenson, were brought together to discuss "Creating Change from The Ground Up: How Black Women Are Leading the Way to Health Equity." Nearly 500 viewers tuned into the virtual conversation as part of the Campaign for the Culture conversation hosted by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Starting at 42-minute mark, Tambra reminded the audience that 'our existence is part of the resistance is a key mantra at WANDA. As long as Black lives matter, then our Black health matters, our Black food matters, our Black lungs matter.'

"At WANDA we know that Black women historically and currently have been the movement makers, cultural keepers, and meal healers in our communities. So centering their voices is critical to building this movement," said Stevenson. "We know that food and tobacco are the top 2 health issues reducing and ending the lives of people around the world." So she shared the importance of signing the Food Bill of Rights.

Moderated by Jennifer Hawkins, Ph.D., Global Strategist & Public Policy Leader, the panel also featured Channel Powe, CEO of Powe Power LLC; D’Jillisser Kelly, MPH, CP, Lead Project Coordinator of No Menthol Movement ATL; Ja'Leasa Nicole Bolden, Communications Director of Moss Point School District; Kiana Maria Sears, President of East Valley NAACP; and Dr. Monica Wilson, Regional Director, California Chapter  of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes.

“It was amazing to have a panel of all Black women, from each panelist to our moderator, in one room. The reminder that when Black women lead, we all win was made clear throughout this event. Each of the raw and authentic stories shared left reminders that we hope brought forth further interest in taking action for our audience,” Camille C. Sanchez, Associate Director, Community Outreach for Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

For decades, the tobacco industry has targeted Black communities with marketing for menthol cigarettes, devastatingly impacting Black health and lives. As a result, tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death among Black Americans, claiming 45,000 Black lives each year. Black Americans have a harder time quitting smoking and are more likely to die from tobacco-related diseases like lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. The tobacco industry has also deliberately targeted women and girls, luring and addicting millions, and the resulting harmful consequences for women’s health occur at every stage of life. Now, for the first time, women who smoke are as likely as men to die from many of the diseases caused by smoking.

The Campaign for the Culture is an initiative of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids focused on uniting, empowering, educating, and engaging people of color and other targeted communities around critical healthcare and human rights issues connected to tobacco use to inspire young community members to avoid or quit tobacco use. This comprehensive initiative includes a cultural conversation series, an HBCU listening tour, a virtual summit, dinner series, and advocate profiles.

"Holding big tobacco accountable is at the forefront of our work and seeing the intersection of this work and the other work in health equity that you are doing day in, and day out shows the need for more advocates like yourself," said Sanchez.

Learn more about the campaign:

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