Our drive for wellbeing is universal. Our access to wellbeing is not.
So many American systems build on and reinforce racism, poverty, ill-health, ableism and more. This is structural — it goes deeper than the individuals who work in these systems. These structures mirror public narratives and attitudes: people caught up in systems are the ones who need to change. This has caused deep harms, cut lives short, separated loved ones and systematically denied opportunity.
We have to focus the change where it belongs: on the systems themselves. If we fixed our systems, fewer people would be hurting to begin with.
To only re-imagine each system individually — child welfare, housing, courts, hunger and more — misses the opportunity to create a far more just, impactful and hopeful way forward. We have to start with people and communities, centering on what every person needs to thrive.
Our country needs something fundamentally different, yet we also need to know that where we’re headed is possible and will create the change we seek.
The path we’re laying out in the Wellbeing Blueprint is different:
- We start with people and wellbeing, not fields or problems.
- We focus on structural change to remove the barriers to wellbeing that reinforce racism and poverty in this country, rather than adding programs without changing structures that increase needs for many programs.
- We expect change from the inside of systems in concert with pressure from the outside, and for systems to truly work in partnership with communities.
The path we’re laying out in the Wellbeing Blueprint is known:
- Wellbeing isn’t a theory. There’s a lot of data, and far, far more human experience that points to how much it matters, and how damaging it is when we don’t have access to it.
- The recommendations aren’t new to those who have been working for change. People and communities facing oppression and adversity have been advocating for these changes and what is needed for decades and generations. Power often hasn’t listened.
- The are bright spots across the country — places where we and other leaders in communities and systems have driven changes that are aligned with people’s drive for wellbeing.
The Wellbeing Blueprint skews towards long-term structural change, recognizing that we need to change the rules to better align with people’s strengths and drive for wellbeing. Some of the recommendations are very specific concrete policy changes. Others are concrete in a different way: they call on systems leaders and policymakers to use different thinking and consider different factors in making decisions and creating policies.
The Wellbeing Blueprint is a living document that we invite you to help us shape and realize. It is also a diverse, growing community acting on a piece of a larger shared vision for a country grounded in equity, wellbeing and justice.