In 2007, Everyday Democracy launched a two-year initiative called “Communities Creating Racial Equity” (CCRE). The focus of the initiative was twofold: to help communities develop their own ability to create sustained civic engagement and change on issues related to racial equity; and to learn along with them about what it takes to address racial equity. Through CCRE, we’ve deepened our organizational learning on racial equity, and developed a more explicit commitment to racial equity as key to our mission and goals.
- Hopkinsville, Ky.
- Jacksonville, Fla.
- Lynchburg, Va.
- Montgomery County, Md.
- New Haven, Conn.
- South Sacramento, Calif.
- Stratford, Conn.
- Syracuse, N.Y.
What We're Learning
- Communities can connect dialogue to action on issues of racial equity. Dedicating program staffing to supporting action and change seems to play a key role.
- There is value in understanding what the underlying assumptions about how a project will lead to social change.
- Tools to address closing racial disparities cannot be used in isolation, without the training to help people understand the ideas and concepts embodied in them.
- It takes time to grasp the deeper meaning of working on racial equity. This was true for Everyday Democracy, and true for the eight communities. Many community people (of all backgrounds) who want to “work on race” need to spend time learning what racial equity means, how patterns of disparity and poor outcomes are tied to policies and structures which may be hidden or misunderstood.
Stories from the Initiative
A probation officer deals with uncomfortable conversations on tackling racism
Kirsten Parker-Smith, a probation officer in Lynchburg, Va., talks about her experience facilitating a dialogue on racism. She helped her dialogue group surface some uncomfortable conversations and led them through the process of identifying ways that the community could help tackle racism in Lynchburg.
Once a skeptic, now a believer
At each step in the process, I have been reluctant. Despite my reluctance, I have shared my experiences, participated in dialogue activities, and I have had some eye-opening conversations and opportunities to rethink some of my misgivings.
Using affinity groups to build racial equity
Bonnie Ratner of South Sacramento, Calif., discusses her organization’s efforts to bring the diverse community together in dialogues to find ways to build racial equity, including using affinity groups during the dialogues.