Too many communities are failing in America. Millions of people are trapped in poverty, fighting for their American Dream. And racism is at the core of why poverty is concentrated in some neighborhoods and not others, why the American Dream can be out of reach for so many of us. We must attack the underlying discrimination baked into our system throughout America's history to help communities become places where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
We are constantly and fundamentally surrounded by racism in how our systems and public institutions have been structured and operate that it can be easy to not see it. To effectively revitalize a neighborhood, we need to look through a structural lens at our political, economic, social, and cultural history in order to fully understand the meaning of racism in America and how to address it in our institutions.
Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward, led a session about racial equity in 2015 at the Purpose Built Communities annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
Two weeks before the 2016 election, there was an immediacy and urgency when Dr. David Williams, professor of public health, African and African American studies, and sociology at Harvard University, shared his research on the clear connection between race, socioeconomic status and health at the Purpose Built Communities annual conference in Birmingham, Alabama. His work is even more relevant now in the face of public attacks from our leaders and those emboldened by racist rhetoric on communities of color and immigrants in our country.
Institutional racism does not just impact people who are old enough to vote and have a job. It's a lifelong reality from birth to death, and it's taught, reinforced and perpetuated when our students are in America's classrooms.
Dr. Beverly Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College and bestselling author, talked with the Purpose Built Communities' Michelle Matthews in Omaha in 2017 about how people of different ages discuss race - starting as students in the classroom - and how a deeper understanding and a servant approach to the discussion can help break down the barriers of segregation.
More Americans are sent to jail than ever before in human history. Most of them are young, African American men living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. Mass incarceration devastates the communities where it has removed a generation of residents, with long-term impacts for generations.
Dr. Todd Clear, professor at Rutgers University's School of Criminal Justice, presented to the Purpose Built Communities annual conference in Orlando in 2018 about how over-incarceration impoverishes communities, hurts our country, and ultimately fails to achieve its original goal - to deter criinal behavior and lower the overall crime rate.
There's an opportunity cost to separating and segregating people: we're not getting the best ideas, the creativity, the innovation out of discriminated communities that can lift up those neighborhoods and our country. Diversity brings out the best in people.
Dr. Katherine Phillips, professor of organizational behavior at Columbia Business School, told Purpose Built Communities' annual conference in Omaha in 2017 that, to understand the value of diversity and use it to learn and innovate more effectively, we need to start by making small changes in ourselves.
Building racial, social and health equity in communities of concentrated poverty is not an unrealistic dream - it's happening in real-time across the Purpose Built Communities network. A group of thoughtful leaders from diverse backgrounds in different cities have moved from talking to leading with equity.
Michelle Matthews, Senior Vice President at Purpose Built Communities, moderated a discussion in Orlando in 2018 with the first cohort of Equity Ambassadors - Kia Baker of the Southeast Raleigh Promise, Kirk Wester of Growing Together in Tulsa, Danny Shoy of the East Lake Foundation in Atlanta, and Sally Mackin of Woodlawn United in Birmingham.
Warren Buffett has been called a wizard, an oracle, a sage - a wise and prophetic investor who knows value when he sees it. In this last episode of Season Two, Warren Buffett sat down with CNBC's Becky Quick in Omaha in 2017 to talk about how America's systems fundamentally misdirect money into the hands of too few to the detriment of the many. He called on philanthropists looking to have the biggest impact for their investments to shed their pretensions and one-upsmanship and look where things are working to attack at the root of the problem.
It’s been a convenient diversion from the truth that’s been told since Reconstruction - that the segregation we’ve seen and continue to see in America is just the effects of private individual biases and incidents of discrimination, rather than codified in law. But, when we look at the facts, that myth breaks down pretty quickly with the abundant examples of policies in local, state, and federal government across the country that explicitly discriminated against African Americans.
In this bonus episode, Richard Rothstein and Shirley Franklin discuss the history and myth of de facto segregation in America - and what it will take to reverse the toxic effects of that history.
Why does it seem as if poverty is segregated to certain neighborhoods? What’s the secret to addressing the root of intergenerational poverty? How can we bring in new investment while preserving the history and culture of a place? Join us to explore these questions and more.
Bootstraps or downward escalators. No matter which analogy you prefer, the data are clear: the neighborhood where you grow up determines how high you can reach in life. This first episode shows how history and policies segregated poverty in neighborhoods in Orlando, Florida and Raleigh, North Carolina.
To address the root of intergenerational poverty, you need more than some money and good intentions. A holistic model that looks at the neighborhood as a whole – its housing, education, and community wellness - and a community quarterback can shift the tide.
How do you know if you’re transforming a neighborhood out of intergenerational poverty, bringing vibrancy and energy and life back to a community? You’ll feel it, just like Othello Meadows did in Omaha.
Every child deserves to get a quality education that prepares them for the future. But every child comes from different circumstances. A public charter school in Atlanta has matched the neighborhood’s unique needs and built a pipeline from the cradle to college that sets students up to thrive.
Transformational revitalization can come in many different shapes and sizes. Howard Kennedy Elementary in Omaha went from a dead-end to a school that prepares its students to succeed and helped bring vibrancy and life back to the neighborhood.
Equity has become a buzzword in America. Yet we’re collectively falling short of the American ideal of how we should be revitalizing communities - where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their own American Dream.
So, what does it look like to really lead with equity in a community?
America’s demographics will become majority-minority in the coming decades. One neighborhood in Houston shows how to successfully build vibrant communities of diversity - and how to bring all of those different groups together in the wake of a natural disaster.
The final episode of Season One tells the story of Jamese Pinkston, who returned to the neighborhood where she was born and raised in Charlotte to help her neighbors have access to the opportunities to succeed and thrive that she was lucky to have. Hear her describe why she has the “best job in the world.”