Meeting our Time
The deficiencies and inequality of our economy, housing, healthcare, infrastructure, educational system, and climate inaction that have long immobilized BIPOC, low-income and other marginalized communities are once again front and center in the American discourse. The United States has failed to put in place equitable policies to address this social injustice, even amid a national reckoning on race and a global COVID-19 pandemic.
Low-income and Black, Indigenous and people of color are suffering most at the hands of these unjust systems, with millions of families on the verge of eviction and homelessness, struggling to pay rent and buy food, and losing their businesses and livelihoods. All while wildfires, floods, hurricanes and other climate disasters continue to ravage the country amid government inaction on climate change. Racist systems persist as millions watch brazen instances of police brutality against Black people, as well as the cruel separation of thousands of Latinx children from their parents at our borders. We have seen governments, at both the national and local levels, fail to support families and workers at a time when social safety systems have been drained dry.
With clarity and conviction, partners in the Strong Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) put forward the following pathways to community prosperity to emphatically demand better. We believe in our collective power to realize a racially just and restorative future for our communities and our planet.
This platform was created by national and community-based partners from six regions–Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Memphis, and the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a living document that represents four-plus years of collective work and collaboration to confront the ongoing issues at the intersection of race, climate, and health. Our goal is to articulate and guide our SPARCC work to influence local and national policy advocacy in alignment with local work and community needs.
We organized this platform to:
- Center race and elevate intersectional policies that advance health equity and climate justice.
- Focus on the immediate needs of people and communities and elevate local ideas for equitable and just recovery and development.
- Offer recommendations to achieve greater local control and community ownership.
- Serve as a tool for coordination and collaboration between local and national partners.
- Advance policies that are implementable and actionable across the collective SPARCC communities and across local, state and national levels.
Through our policy and program recommendations we engage with community residents, national, state and local public officials, non-profit organizations, and those connected to community development, including as funders, to influence equitable solutions that fall under four focus areas:
- Restorative and Regenerative Economy. Focused on a future where the lives, leadership, dreams, and brilliance of Black, Indigenous, and all people of color (BIPOC) are supported and enhanced by an economic system that is democratic, just and adaptive.
- Housing as a Human Right. Focused on creating a housing system that is community-centered, environmentally sustainable and healthy, where everyone has a safe, accessible and affordable home.
- Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD). Focused on policies, processes and a development approach that facilitates equitable development near transit serving the needs of residents, cultures and businesses. ETOD must affirm the rights and dignity of those who rely on transit and the value of transit-served communities.
- Parks and Open Space Equity. Focused on access to parks and open spaces designed by the communities they serve, in conjunction with anti-displacement strategies for healthy and equitable communities amid the current and future realities of climate change.
Call to Federal Leaders
- Listen to the community’s vision for itself to fund anti-displacement measures, infrastructure, healthy housing, parks and fair-paying jobs that ensure economic opportunity, housing stability, access to quality health services and empowerment of the most vulnerable.
- Create a federal framework that recognizes health as a human right with durable funding mechanisms under community control for health equity anchor institutions such as community medical centers and universities.
- Transition to a restorative and just carbon-free economy that uplifts frontline communities and includes workforce development, community ownership and sustainability to benefit all.
- Fund long term community ownership in order to prevent foreclosures and predatory acquisition of single-family homes, small scale multi-family units, apartments and neighborhood commercial properties. Fund opportunities to retain and increase individual and collective ownership of housing, businesses, local parks and open spaces, and other community uses among community organizations and residents.
- Support and implement reparations and racial reconciliation for Black and Indigenous communities.