CCHCC is Jewel of Community

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I feel privileged to have read Claudia
Lennhoff’s statement on the current projects
undertaken by CCHCC. Similarly I feel privileged
to have read Lennhoff’s written material
and whatever else has been written about
her from Internet searches. (By the way, the
CCHCC data collected through the Internet
and other sources are part of a more comprehensive
research project on the promise and
prospects of health care grassroots movements
towards the actualization of a single
payer health care system in the United States.
CCHCC was selected for this project because
it is the oldest continuously operating organization
of its kind in the United States.)
Under Lennhoff’s most able leadership
CCHCC is soaring to new heights. I do not, or
even pretend, to say this lightly. Most social
movement efforts and the organizations that
represent them have to endure a substantial
number of challenges not only to survive but
also to reach the point where their work will
be heard and taken into account by policy
decision makers, the news media, and philanthropic
foundations. Indeed, as a public
health policy researcher, I cannot think of any
other organization that has done so much to
benefit the community in which it operates,
and as of late, to benefit the entire nation
(medical debt campaign, for example). I can
say with certainty that the models and campaigns
of organizing and advocacy developed
by Lennhoff and CCHCC will play a seminal
role in the ongoing national struggle towards
a just, fair, accessible, and affordable health
care system.
But what is so impressive about CCHCC is
that over its 26 years of existence and service
to the community and the nation, it has taken
a multi-issue strategy to the betterment of life
of its constituents (via gun control campaigns,
via dental access campaigns,Medicare
justice campaigns, and so on). It is through
such a multi-issue approach that people
become empowered to see and experience the
benefits of an inclusive decision making
process. In addition, CCHCC’s campaigns
seem to be premised on the recognition that
working within the local political structure is
much more effective than working exclusively
through the national political structure
(CCHCC’s work exemplifies the fact that the
only viable arena of American politics is local
The significance of understanding and
working within the local political arena was
demonstrated (a) in research that was published
in the January 2003 issue of the American
Journal of Public Health, and (b) in
tobacco control research. As we have learned
from the tobacco wars, local politicians are
much more accountable to their constituencies
than national ones. With accountability
comes sunshine, and it is sunshine that grassroots
organizations like CCHCC are striving
for and are bringing to the community and
the nation.
It would be no exaggeration to state that
CCHCC is the jewel of the Champaign-
Urbana community, and an emerging powerhouse
in the efforts to eliminate health care
disparities and other related injusticies, locally
and nationally. I am looking forward to be
reading more about this great organization,
and the work of its charismatic Executive
Director (Claudia Lennhoff) and her staff.
Thanks so much for sharing!
Theo Tsoukalas, Ph.D.
PO Box 27690
San Francisco, CA 94127

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