Artu: makes impact with results-based advocacy

EAST DUMMERSTON — I met Wichie Artu at the start of the pandemic. Our initial work researched how COVID-19 impacted our Vermont community members of color in Windham County and statewide. We were at a place of identifying needs but needed to find ways to make an impact.

We evolved into a new, more powerful identity as the NAACP Health Justice Committee. The hope for marginalized community members to successfully access high-quality and equitable health services actually impacts us all for the better.

Here are examples of Wichie's advocacy:

• Wichie supported the Vermont Department of Health in coordinating with 30 community organizations to offer free and easy-to-access BIPOC vaccine clinics in southern Vermont.

• Wichie is promoting research on why some community members have vaccine hesitancy.

• Wichie obtained a $50,000 four-year grant from the Vermont Department of Health to impact youth tobacco use.

• Wichie's legislative testimony led to the creation of a Health Equity Advisory Commission passed into law in 2021.

Everything Wichie advocates for needs to be results-based. He is a data systems consultant under contract with the Vermont Legislature's Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Advisory Panel.

Wichie makes space for others and builds bridges from needs to power. He will represent us all well as a Windham County senator.

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