Food Equality Initiative gathered the voices from our first For The Health webinar to participate in another conversation on Juneteenth. It has been a year since Emily Brown wrote her open letter to the food allergy community, and we are here to discuss what progress has been made and what there is still left to be done in food allergies and healthcare.

“There has to be more than making Juneteenth a holiday. What policies are being put in place to continue protecting us?”

Thomas Silvera


Karen Palmer (certified professional coach/operations consultant)


Emily Brown of Food Equality Initiative
Javier Evelyn of Alerje
Dr. Lakiea Wright of ThermoFisher Scientific
Thomas Silvera & Dina Hawthorne-Silvera of Elijah-Alavi Foundation


“My goals for the conversation are to highlight the progress made toward equity over the last year. Each member on the call is doing amazing work in our community and have developed new partnerships along the way. I also want to talk about what it takes to have sustained allyship. Compassion fatigue is a real thing and I have concerns that while we have made progress, we are sleeping, with less urgency now. Funding and allocation of resources is also important to discuss; there is still such great need as the economy begins to recover, yet many black and brown families are still struggling.”

Emily Brown, Food Equality Initiative

A SUMMARY in 6 words:
Support the community. Trust the leaders.

“We have the voice in our community and [allies] need to trust that we know what we are talking about.

Dina Hawthorne-Silvera, Elijah-Alavi Foundation

PROGRESS in 2020 and beyond:

  • People are more open to having conversations about race and disparities. 
  • Conversations are easier to have and access, thanks to digital platforms.
  • Heightened sense of disparities along the lines of race.
  • Racism is being acknowledged as a public health issue and a public health emergency.
  • Organizations are taking action steps to enact sustainable change.
  • There are more and more black-owned and black-led businesses.

UPDATES since our last meeting:

“[Black-owned organizations] need more nutrients. We need more protein, and that’s what will make us strong and grow us to where we need to be.”

Javier Evelyn, Alerje


  • What has the last year revealed to you about the nature of allyship where race and food allergy are concerned?
  • What can the medical field do to reduce and eliminate disparities in outcomes of food allergy for black and brown folks?
  • What does the medical field need from allies in order to make these steps happen?
  • What role can allies play to make legislation on food allergies real?
  • What has to happen to combat compassion fatigue?


“In order to eliminate health disparities including food allergy disparities, we must acknowledge and dismantle structural racism. To effect change, we must take a multifaceted approach and create policies that address intersections of health, education, and economics.”

Dr. Lakiea Wright, ThermoFisher Scientific

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