The convergence of the health, racial, and economic crises has unmasked long-standing inequities in communities of color. The COVID-19 pandemic and killing of Black men and women have sparked public outcry and consensus about the racial injustices that were built into our systems and compounded over time. The need to transform systems and create a more equitable future for everyone has never felt more urgent. A growing movement is demanding transformational change. Only by shifting power to communities of color will we advance racial justice and create a more equitable and inclusive society in the United States.
In response, more than 20 organizations across the country are joining forces to work toward an equitable recovery by creating solutions together, with particular attention to the Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian communities that continue to be harmed by oppressive systems and inequities.
“Racism is at the root of many problems across the country. COVID-19 and recent killings captured on video make visible racial inequities that partners across the Cradle to Career Network have been tackling for years. We can change this by working with youth and families affected by racism, listening to them and seeking their leadership in creating a more equitable recovery. But we cannot do it alone. By bringing national partners together, we can turn this inflection point into an opportunity to dismantle racist structures and build better, more equitable systems that work for every child, every family,” says Jennifer Blatz, president and CEO of StriveTogether.
Among the leaders pushing for an equitable recovery, Michael McAfee, president and CEO of PolicyLink who also serves on the Independent Sector Board of Directors, says, “The current public health and economic crisis revealed that persistent and growing racial gaps in the U.S. are a result of structural racism and inaction. Our country cannot recover without reimagining and rebuilding systems and institutions the pandemic has exposed to be broken. We have so much work to do to heal our nation, and we can’t do it alone. PolicyLink is working in solidarity with StriveTogether to commit to an equitable recovery and demand that liberating policies be implemented.”
Kedar S. Mate, M.D., president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), adds, “IHI is proud to take actions that reinforce our commitment to this pledge. Across our work, we see that our goal of improving health and health care worldwide is dependent on dismantling racism and advancing equity,” says Mate. “To that end, in collaboration with colleagues in health care, public health, and community-based organizations, IHI will center the experiences and solutions of community residents most affected by inequities using core quality improvement methods, safety science, community organizing, and transformative practices. We offer our partnership in the spirit of learning together.”
And from Harlem Children’s Zone, Chief Executive Officer Kwame Owusu-Kesse says, “The COVID-19 crisis and its disproportionate impact on people of color across the country has reminded us at Harlem Children’s Zone yet again that we must find, deliver, and scale solutions for the most vulnerable and marginalized amongst us. Since our founding 20 years ago, we have learned much about moving with agility to meet our community’s ever-changing needs through place-based services. We are humbled and excited to take the Equitable Recovery Pledge and band together with other leading-edge organizations to help our communities rise from this crisis with justice, dignity, and hope.”
These leaders invite others to join them in building an inclusive economy that works for every family by committing to:
- Listen to and work with youth and community residents most affected by inequities;
- Name the systemic factors that produce racial inequities and use data and stories to influence system leaders to address inequities;
- Catalyze and mobilize cross-sector partners to shift resources, policies, relationships and power structures, implement targeted strategies, and advance scalable outcomes; and
- Shift power to increase participation and leadership of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in recovery and resiliency work for the long term.
Enterprise Community Partners CEO Priscilla Almodovar says, “As a housing organization who sees in our work every day the impact of systemic racism, we stand with our communities and partners to demand more: more accountability, more action, more concrete steps toward racial equity.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the institutional racism and discriminatory policies that exacerbate inequities and risk the social-emotional health of children and families, especially those living in under-resourced communities,” says Start Early (formerly the Ounce of Prevention) President Diana Rauner. “Start Early is committed to partnering with the StriveTogether network to challenge the systems that allow race and socio-economic status to predict a child’s future and to work towards a racially just and equitable society.”
“KABOOM! is focused on ending play space inequity, making sure that every kid has a place where they can play and know that they belong, regardless of their race or ZIP code,” says Ronda Jackson, senior advisor, government affairs, for KABOOM! “In signing this pledge, we acknowledge the need for systems-level change to remove barriers that have kept Black and brown communities outside of opportunities, and commit to helping advance this work as it’s critical to our mission and the overall equitable recovery of our nation.”
About the Equitable Recovery Pledge
The national Equitable Recovery Pledge has been signed by the following organizations: Bloomberg Associates, Campaign for Black Male Achievement, The Center for the Study of Social Policy, Cities United, Communities In Schools, Community Solutions, The Educare Learning Network, Enterprise Community Partners, FUSE Corps, Harlem Children’s Zone, Independent Sector, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, KABOOM!, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, Low Income Investment Fund, National League of Cities, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ounce of Prevention Fund, PolicyLink, Results for America, StriveTogether, Strong, Prosperous, And Resilient Communities Challenge and Third Sector.
Josh Davis serves as the vice president of policy and partnerships at StriveTogether, a national nonprofit that seeks to transform failing systems to advance racial equity and economic mobility across 70 communities throughout 29 states and Washington, D.C. Equitable Recovery Pledge sign-on inquiries can be directed to Christian Motley, director of policy and partnerships.