HLTH Conference "Dear Future We're Coming For You"
Mural design for the 2021 HLTH Conference "Dear Future, We're Coming for You." Six artists were asked how our society should imagine health equity in the future, and I centered my piece around long-term care workers. Creative Direction by Michael Hoefler
Original Artist Statement
The pandemic continues to reveal the societal cracks in this country. Injustice after negligence scratches away at rose colored glasses that portray an equal United States. Naked eyes reveal long histories of oppression towards marginalized communities and reveal how privilege makes people blind to this clarity. During this pandemic, healthcare became political. Our country divides itself between those who possess and who lack community care, empathy, and solidarity. As this conference gathers powerhouses in health and innovation, this pained country begs the question: how can those in power make living and surviving easier for everyone across all boundaries?
This mural envisions a caring future for long term care facilities. It demands a future where long term care residents and staff have more support and voices in healthcare equity. Even before the pandemic, these facilities faced disinvestment that led to overcrowded facilities, limited staff and funding, and deplorable employee wages. COVID-19 further widened these gaps, particularly for homes with a majority Black and LatinX population. According to the New York Times article The Striking Racial Divide in How Covid-19 Has Hit Nursing Homes: "The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the nation’s nursing homes, sickening staff members, ravaging residents and contributing to at least 20 percent of the nation’s Covid-19 death toll." Nursing homes with at least 25% of Black or LatinX residents have endured twice as many COVID-19 cases than those with less than 5% of Black or LatinX residents. For the future, this piece represents multigenerational and multiracial residents thriving in an environment that prioritizes open space and social bonding with lively, caring staff. Their shared space encourages joy, rest, and support.
Creative, grassroots organizing efforts like #artists4longtermcare and legislative pushes like the Nursing Home Workforce Support and Expansion Act make valuable steps towards health equity through advocacy, education, and structural change. This piece invites viewers to actively engage with the sprouting calls for action and collectively imagine a future where vulnerable people feel safe and loved.