Health: Closing the Gap on Health Disparities in the United States
Through her work with the Office of Minority Health, Tonya Lewis Lee has spoken across the country about reducing US infant mortality rates, specifically focusing on the disparity between the rates at which black babies die versus white babies – a two to one ratio. Lee discusses raising awareness around the issue of health disparities in the United States. She explores such questions as: What are the causes? What can we do to bring down these staggering rates?
Creativity: Trusting in the Creative Process
Tonya Lewis Lee left a legal career and went on to become a television producer, co-author of several children's books, and author of an adult novel. Making the transition from a standard practice to embracing a full, fun, creative life can be scary but it has its rewards. Lee will share her guiding principles, her "up" moments and her "down" moments, as she made her own transition and continues to push the boundaries.
Activism: Showing Up is the First Step
When called upon by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) in 2007, Tonya Lewis Lee took that first step toward raising awareness on an issue that became a passion for her and the team of people she worked with. Through a Pre-conception Peer Education Training program, Lee and OMH have fueled a movement about winning back the civil right to a healthy life. In this discussion she talks about how she and OMH set out to create a program for college students nationwide, sharing the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices for their own sake and for the sake of future generations.
I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. the Board of Education
In the presentation of the documentary film I Sit Where I Want, Tonya Lewis Lee discusses the process of engaging Buffalo, New York, high school students in a conversation about race, segregation, integration, and what it all means to their lives. Through the eyes of nearly a dozen students of different ethnic backgrounds, the film takes a journey to understand why these kids at a racially mixed school segregate at lunchtime in the cafeteria. It is the age-old question: Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? At first glance the answers may seem simple, but as we get to know the students and their environments we come to realize that the issues of why people choose to self segregate can be more complex than we initially thought. Whatever the reasons, the world is a better place if we face our fears, mix it up and try something new. The students in the film come away from their experience understanding the importance of becoming aware of their actions and with a feeling that cross-cultural exchange makes for a better, more productive world.