“I'm a mother of three and I think health is a right,” said Kelle Coleman.
Kelle Coleman is fighting a battle that she knows isn't new, but says is far from over.
Coleman added, “As long as there are health disparities, and then most vulnerable of the vulnerable are having negative outcomes and higher mortality rates and morbidity rates, then there's work to be done.”
While Travis County was recently ranked one of the healthiest in the state, it faces significant health disparities among ethnic minorities.
”African American babies die twice that of whites, Hispanics have high rates of diabetes in the Asian community we have a large, significant issue for cancer,” said Shannon Jones of the Austin Travis County Health and Human Services Department.
Tuesday night, a community meeting was held to shrink those gaps.
”Both place, where you live, has an impact on your health, as well as race, the experience of racial discrimination over the course of people's lives has an impact on their health,” said Melissa Smith of the Seton McCarthy Community Health Center.
Officials say the greatest health deserts are in an area called the Eastern Crescent.
Jones added, ”We're talking about communities like Northeast Austin, North Austin, Austin's colony and then areas down south, Dove Springs, and communities around Del Valle.”
Physicians say Austin's zip codes represent a lot more than just five numbers.
Smith added, ”Whether I've got a grocery store where I can get fresh vegetables that I can afford, whether there's a park that's safe to play, whether my children walk or bike to school safely.”
But Kelle says health happens outside of healthcare.
Coleman continued, “We see what's happening just out in the street with interactions with the police, with the judicial system. My son asked me the other day why isn't Martin Luther King on a dollar bill.”
Equity she says that can only be achieved after equality.