Dear GARE Members, Partners, and Allies,
When you think of your neighborhood, who do you see? What types of buildings are there? Is public transit, a pharmacy, or a grocery store nearby? How far is the nearest hospital? How much open, public space is there? Can you count the number of trees on one hand or two? What do you smell? Are there sidewalks? What does it feel like to walk on those sidewalks? How does it feel to push a stroller down that same sidewalk? A wheelchair? What does racial equity look like in your community? How is racial equity being achieved?
Makani Themba, a brilliant narrative and communications strategist and long-time colleague to the Race Forward family, recently reminded us, “The revolutionary question is always ‘how?’” How is where the rubber from our shoes, our strollers, our wheelchairs, or our grocery carts hits the road. Many of the tools the GARE network has offered to the field in our nearly decade of work together are about the “how,” of racial equity. Sometimes, the question of 'how' is how to organize across levels of government to not just "stop the bad," or end discriminatory practices, but to build the new. How shall we build towards new racially equitable horizons that ultimately better all residents' life outcomes?
Since 1968, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing aspect of the Fair Housing Act has largely been a vision unrealized. In 2015, the Obama administration aimed to directly support this aspect of the law through the allotment of federal dollars. Unfortunately, those measures were rolled back under the Trump administration. In 2018, the State of California enshrined elements with the passage of Assembly Bill 686, which requires all public agencies to affirmatively further fair housing in activities and programs relating to housing and community development. Local and regional jurisdictions are supported with technical assistance, and also more thoroughly held to account with the new Housing Accountability Unit. GARE members who are GARE Network Portal users can watch the recording and review the shared resources from the GARE Monthly Membership committee that features this topic here, on the GARE Network Portal.
A network like ours is one in which we can explore the question of 'how' to organize across levels of government. Join us in Phoenix, Arizona, at Facing Race from November 17-19. Facing Race is a creative and unique space for movement making that also happens to be the largest, multiracial gathering on racial justice of advocates and organizers across many sectors, including government, arts and culture, and more. The GARE pre-conference gathering on November 17 will be co-hosted by the State of Equity and the Federal Initiative on Racial Equity. It will be an unprecedented opportunity for racial equity practitioners working at all levels of government to come together, network, learn, and connect. A generational commitment like racial equity requires organizing inside and outside of government, so come to Phoenix this November to build and nurture a strong foundation of relationships across sectors, as well as across levels of government.
All our best,
Gordon and the GARE staff team