#HLTHYLVN. We took out the vowels and laughed as we scribbled it on our notebook to-do lists and email signatures. As Healthy Living Captain at Mixte, this simple and borderline-hipster hashtag holds substantial meaning for me and my team, and it’s my hunch that healthy living in San Diego looks a bit different to us than most people.
Think for a moment about the concept of healthy living. What does it mean to you?
Most people would approach this phrase from an individualistic lens. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear people respond along these lines:
“Healthy living means I take care of myself. I go the gym 3-4 times per week. I eat regular meals that have fruits and vegetables. I only go to Plant Power once a week (okay, twice at most). I get to bed at a reasonable time and get enough sleep. I have a good work-life balance.”
Now, throw that away. This isn’t about you. Well, it is, but not about just you. Come with me, I’ll explain.
When I say #HTLHYLVN, I’m asking you to think bigger. I’m asking you to feel bigger. I’m asking you to imagine bigger, better and beyond yourself.
As the captain of Mixte’s #HLTHYLVN ship, my job is to empower all our clients and our team to tell stories with an overarching vision of making San Diego a healthier region to call home for everyone.
At Mixte, we only achieve #HLTHYLVN when we realize that we aren’t healthy as individual people until we are healthy as one.
And if some are healthy and some aren’t, we aren’t really healthy living after all, are we?
This hits at the heart of the difference between equality and equity, which I think this cartoon portrays perfectly:
At the core of #HLTHYLVN and our mission to lift everyone up, you’ll find environmental justice.
In our San Diego/Tijuana region, environmental justice means demanding a place where the communities that endure most from toxic air pollution, the harmful impacts of climate change and lack of affordable and accessible public transit are put first. Why? Simple because they need help the most.
Until targeted and long-neglected pockets of people stop having to fight for privileges other parts of our region never have to even think about (i.e. crosswalks, street lights, bus stops, the separation of industries from residential neighborhoods and more), we cannot call ourselves a healthy region. We can call ourselves partially healthy. We can call ourselves a healthy-for-those-who-can-afford-it region. We aren’t truly #HLTHYLVN until every community has a healthy and safe place to live, work and play.
I’m proud to say that we think about this at Mixte. We build #HLTHYLVN by using our knowledge about communications and the media to strategically elevate the voices and the stories of the people living every day in San Diego’s low-income communities of color.
If you were to ask me what I think healthy living means, I would say:
“Healthy living means we take care of each other. We bike and take transit because we can, and it keeps our environment healthy. We have access to fruits and vegetables in all communities. We only go to Plant Power once a week (okay, twice at most). We get to bed late sometimes because we’re up finding ways to make San Diego a healthier region. We have a good work-life balance because we’re fighting for what we believe in.”