One City, One Parish at a Time
Louisiana adopted a statewide smokefree workplace and restaurant law in 2007, a significant accomplishment, but one that left thousands of bar and casino workers behind to work in toxic environments filled with secondhand smoke. Cities then began to close these gaps to provide equal protections all workers.
Raegan A. Carter recently joined the ANR/F team to help us with our on-the-ground community organizing and educational efforts. Raegan is a tireless advocate for public health, health equity and social justice and played a critical role in the SmokeFree Baton Rouge Campaign. Raegan continues to maintain relationships with local policy makers, coalition members, business leaders and musicians and entertainers in the area to ensure the ongoing success of SmokeFree Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Blues Festival and the Blues Festival Foundation continue to be a major partner in our smokefree efforts throughout the state and with our national Smokefree Music Cities project. She is currently working on three smokefree efforts in Louisiana, including Jefferson Parish, Shreveport and Lake Charles. These campaigns are in varying stages of development but the overall goal remains the same: to make Louisiana Smokefree, one city, one Parish at a time.
“I was drawn to this work because as a black woman and public health advocate, I recognize that secondhand smoke exposure disproportionately impacts women, children and families of color. Far too often, communities of color are dealing with health disparities because of the lack effective public health policies, including smokefree air policies. My health, the health of my family, my friends, my community, and my State, keep me motivated and tirelessly committed to the work.”
Building Towards a Smokefree Lake Charles
Work in Lake Charles is a prime example of how ANRF is the leader in Smokefree policy, engagement, education, and training. The Lake Charles community contacted Raegan and requested assistance to develop a Smokefree campaign. Raegan, along with other ANRF team members including Onjewel Smith, Randy Hayden, and Clinton Isham, began working with multiple public health, health care, and community based organizations, providing training and technical assistance and to build capacity for SmokeFree Lake Charles.
Lake Charles is a destination for gaming, so community education and coalition outreach will have a huge impact in the city and create improved health outcomes for workers in Lake Charles and the surrounding area. Most recently, the Lake Charles coalition began collecting video stories from local community members, business owners, and musicians. The overwhelming level of support for this campaign and the hard work and commitment of multiple organizations working together will ensure success, and help close the gaps in smokefree protections.