NEWS

Blog Post: “This Is What Belonging Looks Like”

Governor Gavin Newsom just announced a budget proposal to further expand Medi-Cal coverage to all of California’s residents – inclusive of the undocumented, in the 26–49-year age range.

Now, at The California Endowment, we won’t rest until we have 100 percent – nobody-left-out coverage.  For well over a decade, we have supported the relentless efforts of our advocacy grantee-partners on this issue.  It is a matter of commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.  But this week’s proposal by the Governor — with previous recent efforts supported by the Legislature to expand coverage for California’s undocumented residents – tells us what the buzzwords of “diversity”, “equity”, “inclusion”, and “belonging” looks like in practice and affirms that they are truly important to the California many of us aspire to build.

It’s hard to believe that as recently as two decades ago, undocumented Californians were relegated to subterranean, subterfuge, and scorned status in our state and nation.  They have raised our children, cleaned our homes, landscaped our yards, grown and harvested our food, contributed to our economy, and paid taxes during this time.  The contribution of undocumented residents has been core, essential, and foundational to the civic and economic life across our state and nation.

We highly recommend Homeboy Industries Father Greg Boyle’s most recent book, The Whole Language.  It is chock full of stories about what “Belonging” looks like in practice, from the “little things” in day-to-day life to the larger policy and practice implications.  He skillfully illustrates the difference between the lofty matter of “inclusion” and what Belonging looks like.  The expansion of our state’s Medi-Cal program sends a clear message about inclusion.  From a moral standpoint, it sets the table for Belonging.  It says, to our undocumented community: you matter, you have value, you belong.  Because health coverage for all is a sound and cost-effective practice, it reflects good policy.  But at this moment of extraordinary division in our nation, the moral and spiritual messages matter most.

We acknowledge the leadership of our Governor in forthrightly stating what Health for All looks like.  We acknowledge the leadership of our state’s legislature in affirming this right and much-needed policy direction for the health of California.  But above all, we acknowledge and commend the efforts of the movement leaders and advocates at the grassroots level – among them undocumented leaders such as Dreamers – who simply refuse to give up until the terrible wrong of the exclusion of too many from necessary health care has been fully righted.

And as long as they are in the fight, we will be there with them.

Bishop Minerva Carcaño                                                         Robert K Ross

Board Chair                                                                                President/CEO

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