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.
Eight communities across the country joined the CCRE initiative: Hopkinsville, Ky.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Lynchburg, Va.; Montgomery County, Md.; New Haven, Conn.; South Sacramento, Calif.; Stratford, Conn.; and Syracuse, N.Y. Over the two-year initiative, the communities engaged more than 3,000 people in more than 177 dialogues. During this time, we provided coaching, how-to materials, and two national learning meetings. In addition, during the past year, the communities applied for small grants of $10,000 from Everyday Democracy to help support the implementation of actions that emerged from their dialogue processes.
Communities Creating Racial Equity came at a critical time in the life of our country. There has been more discussion of race and racism within civic circles, partly because of the “post-racial America” analysis embraced by some after the 2008 presidential election. Though we believe this analysis to be misguided, we do find that the national discourse on race is shifting in important ways, and CCRE has enabled us to learn from the shift and help to shape it. Also with the severe economic recession that is now in its second year, communities across the U.S. are facing difficult challenges, with growing racial disparities as a glaring part of the picture. We are committed to continuing the learning begun in this initiative, and to sharing our lessons (see Lessons tab) with communities and with multiple disciplines within the civic field.
Below are three sample outcomes showing progress towards achieving racial equity, from short term to longer term:
Below is a sample evaluation for a safety goal. This CCRE community contributed to creating safe neighborhoods by addressing community policing. The outcomes listed below assess progress across three different areas: