Compassion & Choices values diversity and appreciates the benefits of having various perspectives and backgrounds among its supporters and staff. Communities of color often have the highest rates of illness, yet are least likely to discuss end-of-life preferences with loved ones or be aware of and take advantage of palliative care. The disparities that exist are the motivating factor for Compassion & Choices’ increased and targeted outreach to communities of color.

Compassion & Choices is committed to raising awareness by ensuring that all Americans are prepared for the inevitable end of life. Learn more about our outreach to communities of color below.

Having diverse stories from people of color is imperative to our advocacy mission. We want to hear from you: why do you support medical aid in dying?

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From L to R: AALC members Shawn Perry, Beverly Morgan, Dr. Lucille Ridgill, Ottamissiah “Missy” Moore, Donna Smith, Rev. Charles McNeill

From L to R: AALC members Shawn Perry, Beverly Morgan, Dr. Lucille Ridgill, Ottamissiah “Missy” Moore, Donna Smith, Rev. Charles McNeill

In November of 2017, to commemorate National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, Compassion & Choices announced the launch of its African American and Latino Leadership Councils as part of its expanding outreach to all Americans nationwide about their end-of-life care options. These options include hospice, palliative care and medical aid in dying.

Members of the Latino Leadership Council and Compassion & Choices CEO Kim Callinan at their Council retreat in April.

Members of the Latino Leadership Council and Compassion & Choices CEO Kim Callinan at their Council retreat in April.

The councils are an extension of Compassion & Choices’ successful outreach to communities of color that was key to winning campaigns to pass laws authorizing medical aid in dying in California in 2015, and Colorado and the District of Columbia in 2016.

Both Leadership Councils have had in-person meetings to kickoff their work and are regularly working with Compassion & Choices staff to improve our work in communities of color.

Meet the members of our African American Leadership Council and Latino Leadership Council.

We want to change the way the African American community approaches the end of life.
–Brandi Alexander–
Compassion & Choices National Constituency Director

During the Compassion & Choices African American Leadership Council lobby day, the council advocated on Capitol Hill for end-of-life choice to members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Compassion & Choices staff presented or exhibited at several national conferences, including: National Black Nurses Association, National Newspaper Publishers Association, NAACP, National Urban League, and African American Mayors Association. These and other events provided the opportunity to expand end-of-life discussions with African Americans to include advance care planning and the importance of making informed healthcare decisions.

Compassion & Choices staff has made many strides with our Latino community outreach. Through the power of storytelling, Miguel Carrasquillo introduced many people to our movement. We’ve also been grateful for the continued support of Jorge Ramos, Mauricio Ochmann, and Dolores Huerta, who have helped to increase awareness about Compassion & Choices’ work. In 2018, we also secured the endorsements of the National Hispanic Council on Aging, the Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Health Network.