WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, an economic downturn and ongoing racial unrest are evidence that the United States needs a historical reckoning to understand how a history of inequity has led us to the current state of affairs. Living Cities, in partnership with the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, Third Space Action Lab, Gumbo Media, and others, is engaging six cities--Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Memphis, TN; Minneapolis, MN; Rochester, NY; and Saint Paul, MN--in a "Year of Reckoning" as part of its Closing the Gaps Network. Through their work, local government leaders will come together with the philanthropic, private, and non-profit sectors to reckon with the history of systemic racism, develop shared language and analysis, and commit to being accountable to low-income communities of color. The first convening of city leaders was held in November 2020.
The participating cities have made a profound 10-year commitment to racial equity at all levels and will work intensively over the next decade to reckon with the role local government has played and continues to play in creating inequities and to chart a new path forward. Together, they will work to understand what it takes to undo racism in government policy and practice. Through a curriculum supporting deep analysis of history, city leaders are reckoning with what it will take to heal, reconcile, and build transformational relationships with Black, Brown and Indigenous communities most impacted by local government decisions.
"For years, we purposely set back generations of people of color in Austin. We must fix our actions, stop the ongoing harm and heal this city. A Year of Reckoning gives us that opportunity," said Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, TX.
During the Year of Reckoning, cities will be supported in:
- Organizing cross-department teams to understand how public servants can advance racial equity and inclusion as individuals, in their roles, and as key actors within systems;
- Analyzing how local government operations, practices, and policies impact people of color;
- Developing an understanding of what it will take to reconcile and heal the undue harm done to Black, Brown and Indigenous communities;
- With cross-sector leaders, taking meaningful steps towards articulating shared results and creating power-sharing structures;
- Developing racial equity action plans that will ultimately engage all departments; and
- Creating and strengthening accountability mechanisms, primarily with low-income communities of color.
"Amid the many crises communities across our nation continue to face, our national reckoning on race and racism requires all of us to engage in building a more equitable future," said Saint Paul, Minnesota Mayor Melvin Carter. "Alongside fellow cities in the Closing the Gap Network, our Year of Reckoning efforts will help chart a path forward toward realizing this vision."
As part of the "Year of Reckoning," cities will select practice areas to test strategies that show promise for closing racial gaps, such as ensuring that people have access to safe and quality housing, living wage jobs, and comprehensive opportunities for health & well-being. The Year of Reckoning is the foundational experience of Living Cities' Closing the Gaps Network, which brings together city leaders who are committed to imagining what an anti-racist society might look like, and playing an important role in building it through transforming government policies, practices, and operations.
About Living Cities
Founded in 1991, Living Cities is a collaborative of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions. Living Cities fosters transformational relationships across sectors to connect those who are willing to do the hard work of closing racial income and wealth gaps. The organization partners with cross-sector leaders in cities across the country to imagine and create an America in which all people are economically secure, building wealth and living abundant, dignified, and connected lives. To learn more about Living Cities and its member institutions, visit www.livingcities.org.
About the Closing the Gaps Network
The Closing the Gaps Network is a new ten-year effort launched by Living Cities with founding support from the Citi Foundation. It builds upon Living Cities' decade long work at the intersection of municipal innovation, economic and racial justice. The Network brings together leaders from cities across the country who are committed to imagining what an antiracist society might look like, and to playing an important role in building it through the transformation of government policies, practices, and operations.
Contact: Jeff Raderstrong, [email protected], 646-442-3236
*** Interviews are available with Living Cities spokespersons and City Leaders. To book an interview, contact [email protected] ***
SOURCE Living Cities