May 1st CHC Celebrates 41st Anniversary

Below is an email sent out by Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter celebrating the 41st anniversary of CHC.

May 1st CHC Celebrates 41st Anniversary

Just a few days ago, Margaret and I journeyed to Boston to spend a week with twelve sister Health Centers from across the country who have banded together to form a network of Best Practice Health Centers.  Our ranks included Health Centers from Hawaii to East Boston; some of us care for farm workers, others tend to communities like Watts.

We arrived as the Boston Marathon was thrown asunder by a ruthless act of violence and terror. We all asked ourselves, was this the time to gather and discuss transforming health care for those living in poverty. Our colleagues from Boston were quick to respond:

Had you not come, had you stayed at home – then those that sought to terrorize our community would have won. Thank you for being here with us in our hour of need.  

We came away with lots of lessons, but the one that resonates was that we are all in this together and we need to be there for each other.  Sometimes just showing up is the most important thing you can do.

This group of Health Centers so much reminds us of the early days of CHC and our association with the National Free Clinic Council.  The year was 1972.  CHC was first opening its doors in Middletown as a Free Clinic and at the same time we were being drawn into a larger circle of community activists who were forming the National Free Clinic Council in San Francisco.   It was from this association that we watched the work of Free Clinics that cared for Gay and Lesbian communities to those dealing with youth and substance abuse issues.

We took away a lot of lessons from these colleagues as well.  We understood the importance of standing up with pride for communities that others had ignored. But we also learned, unless we tie our Clinical work to a bigger way of changing society then it doesn’t matter how many Band-Aids or antibiotics you dispense.  As Health Care organizations, we must be a voice and vehicle for social change. That message continues to animate our work today.

So to all of those young Wesleyan University Students and Middletown Community Activists who showed up and helped kick start the Health Center and the countless thousands who have kept the engines roaring so that we could be a voice for social change – we  celebrate your efforts.

Peace and Health

Mark and Margaret
Masselli   Flinter

To better understand the work of CHC in 2013 – Visit http://www.chc1.com

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