Racial Equity Here, a cross-sectoral effort to dismantle structural racism in the United States, has been launched with commitments to action from more than two hundred organizations.
Launched on Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the United States, the effort seeks to address structural racism by transforming policies, practices, and norms at a national scale and is being led by Living Cities, a philanthropic collaborative focused on racial and economic justice, and the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, a joint project of Race Forward and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. Organizations making commitments to action pledge to create more equitable communities and workplaces by learning about structural racism, using racial equity tools to guide action that closes racial equity gaps and improves outcomes for all, and aligning their efforts with others to accelerate results.
"Racial Equity Here is about changing the structures and systems that create and perpetuate racial inequity," said john a. powell, director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley. "We are committed to expanding the 'we' in we the people, building bridges across sectors and states to amplify and accelerate our multiracial movement for belonging and racial justice."
Signatories include public agencies, businesses, and nonprofits in Albuquerque, Austin, Grand Rapids, Louisville, and Philadelphia, where Living Cities and GARE launched the Racial Equity Here initiative in 2016 with the goal of helping those cities transform their operations to better address racial disparities by establishing racial equity action plans; teaching agency staff about government's responsibility to advance racial equity; using data and racial equity tools to guide policy and budget decisions; and forming cross-sectoral teams as part of a broader commitment to improve outcomes for all residents.
Philanthropic, nonprofit, and community organizations making the commitment include the Meyer Foundation and Equity in the Center in Washington, D.C.; the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project in Philadelphia; the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative, Metro United Way in Louisville; the YMCA of the USA in Chicago; the Arc of Texas in Austin; the McCune Charitable Foundation in Santa Fe; Prosperity Agenda in Seattle; PolicyLink in Oakland; the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity in San Francisco; and the California Endowment in Los Angeles.
"In recent years, racial inequity in America's cities, businesses, and even coffee shops has made national headlines, but that attention has yet to result in lasting systemic change," said Living Cities president and CEO Ben Hecht. "No single organization can move the needle on racial equity on its own. Racial Equity Here is building a critical mass of partners across industries and sectors that together can create dramatically better outcomes for people of color in America."