In 1978, starting with one clinic in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle, Sea Mar began delivering community-based health care to the Latino community. Today, Sea Mar provides an array of comprehensive services that includes medical, dental, behavioral health, education, farmworkers assistance and many other medical services to the community. In addition, Sea Mar develops affordable housing and recently completed the first Chicano/Latino Museum in the state. At its core, Sea Mar delivers culturally sensitive care to the general community, but in particular to Latinos.
It all began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when a group of Chicano and Latino activists consisting of University of Washington students, community members, and healthcare professionals recognized many health inequities that were disproportionately affecting people of color. This realization in combination with three different movements occurring simultaneously – the modern civil rights movement, the Chicano Movement, and the Neighborhood Health Centers movement (now known as Community Health Centers), led to the formation of Sea Mar.
Since then, Sea Mar also understood that health inequities could be reduced by addressing other layers of social and structural conditions that include education; housing; access to health care; access to healthy foods; justice; identity, history, and culture; freedom from racism, classism, sexism, and other forms of exclusion, marginalization, and discrimination based on social status. The inequitable distribution of these social conditions across groups contributes to persistent health inequities. This interdisciplinary approach is critical to eradicating health care inequities, especially in communities of color.
Sea Mar, as a community-based organization that delivers healthcare, remains focused on providing quality, comprehensive health, human, housing, educational and cultural services to diverse communities, specializing services to Latinos. Sea Mar remains cognizant of its origins, its place within the national community health care movement, Chicano Movement, and the importance of addressing a broad spectrum of social determinants that includes social justice. As you read many of the statements on this page, understand these events have influenced Sea Mar in many directions. For example, Cinco de Mayo as a form of self-affirmation and identity, the BLM Movement in solidarity against police brutality and violence as well as an ally against anti-Black sentiments or valuing the place and important contributions Asians American have made to the development of the U.S. and their consistent resistance against oppression. The structural forces of white supremacy and white privilege have attempted to undermine, not only the historical importance of communities of color, but also have destabilized the health of these communities. Yet, through resistance, community organizing, and the development of community institutions, people of color have remained resilient.