Living Cities, an organization that harnesses the resources of foundations and financial institutions in support of community development in urban neighborhoods, has announced Racial Equity Here, an initiative to help municipal governments improve racial equity and advance opportunity for all.
In partnership with the Local & Regional Government Alliance on Race and Equity, a project of the Center for Social Inclusion and the Haas Institute for Fair and Inclusive Society, Living Cities will provide technical support and training to help the first cohort of cities — Albuquerque, New Mexico; Austin, Texas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Louisville, Kentucky; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — conduct racial equity assessments of their core government operations, with a focus on "opportunity youth" of color between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of school or unemployed. Over the next two years, the five cities will work to develop Racial Equity Action Plans and implement solutions to address racial disparities in educational and employment opportunities; each city will receive an initial stipend of $25,000 and an additional $50,000 for the implementation phase.
Racial Equity Here was developed by a Living Cities task force convened in response to the 2015 death of Freddie Gray while in Baltimore police custody.
"Cities participating in Racial Equity Here will be part of a leading national network for jurisdictions embracing racial equity in a systemic and structural way," said Living Cities president and CEO Ben Hecht. "This is one of the most important issues of our time, and these five cities have made an important commitment not only to their residents, but also to advancing racial equity across the country."