The Coalition for Racial Justice & Equity will focus on the following key areas:
Access to Equitable Healthcare
This program will bring attention to different dimensions of healthcare, including but not limited to: public health disparities, mental health opportunities, lack of health products and resources, healthcare coverage, the distrust of health professionals, and the need for people of color as healthcare industry providers. Equitable healthcare for all is essential in today’s society. The lack of health initiatives designed to benefit marginalized groups leaves people of color and underserved communities at risk. It is vital for the coalition to focus on a program that brings solutions, education, and resources to the issue of health disparities.
Many people of color remain situated in communities with the lowest prospects for upward mobility. This is not an accident, as it reflects both the intended and unintended consequences of national policies that have shaped where people live and the opportunities individuals have in those communities. There are a range of policies and practices that continue to disadvantage people of color and their communities throughout the nation. Employment discrimination makes it more difficult for families of color to escape poverty or build wealth in the community. Housing discrimination through red lining, loan inequities, and high levels of displacement due to gentrification impacts communities of color as well. A change is needed in order to rectify the racial injustices that characterize the local economies that define and control our communities.
Racial and ethnic inequality in education has a long and persistent history in the United States. While racial segregation of public schools was deemed unconstitutional in 1954, we continue to see a wide array of racial educational disparities. There is a $23 billion gap between the resources of predominantly white and predominantly nonwhite school districts in the United States. That is a stunning national indictment of a system that is failing over 12 million students. On top of the lack of funding, black representation in school personnel is devastatingly low with only 18 percent of teachers of color. This lack of representation hurts children of color, as research shows systematic bias in teacher expectations of children of color and especially Black children. Furthermore, black students spend less time in the classroom due to discipline, which further hinders their access to a quality education. Racial inequality has been further infused into the educational system through the process of adopting revisionist historical text. The attempts to whitewash academic curriculum have exacerbated the marginalization of students of color. On a post-secondary level, the disparities only continue. Except for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and some committed in-state institutions, higher education has not truly asked itself if the structures, policies, and practices serve contemporary students. Closing the racial disparity gaps is a critical and national workplace-readiness issue. What we do at this moment will have long-term implications in this global market for the entire nation.
Historically, the story of immigration to America for white individuals has been framed as one of opportunity, while for people of color has been framed as a tale of laziness and freeloading. Immigration restrictions began in America as racist policies to keep “less-desirable” races and ethnicities out of the country and until 1952, naturalization was restricted to particular racial and ethnic groups. While formal laws that strictly prohibit immigrants based on race or ethnicity no longer exist, we still see subtle ways in which laws and policies are formed to favor white immigrants. For example, the “Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” in Arizona, which essentially gave police the right to stop and question individuals who “look like an immigrant,” and the Muslim Travel Ban barring certain individuals from Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States. There have also been subtle preferences given to countries that are predominantly white, such as the “1986 Immigration and Reform Act” that granted extra visas for individuals from 36 predominantly European nations. Now, we see thousands of immigrant children of color inhumanely detained and separated from their families. We must address these inhumane and racist policies that consistently work against immigrants and specifically immigrants of color.
As a society that lives under the rule of law, public trust and confidence are the critical foundation of our justice system. Our local, state, and federal justice systems determine legal responsibility and guilt. It is incumbent and becoming increasingly apparent that those who serve in the justice system must understand legal principles but must also be aware and knowledgeable of the impacts of their own humanness – their implicit biases – in the practice of law and the delivery of justice. Favorable and unfavorable implicit biases can affect the prosecution, defense, judicial outcomes, and sentencing. Past and current research in various jurisdictions has revealed many inequities in pre-trial release, sentencing, and fines and penalties associated with civil infractions. Unchecked biases can unjustly take away an individual’s freedom, destroy his livelihood, and have devastating implications for his family. Hence, the public cries, “No Justice. No Peace.” Implicit bias training and ongoing diversity and inclusion education equip attorneys and judges to identify and combat implicit biases and ensure there is equal access to justice and there is justice for all. Our goal is to eradicate systemic racism at its core to ensure that the justice system in this country operates in the manner of, “With Liberty and Justice for All.”
For the entirety of America’s history, youth and adolescents of color have been restricted, discriminated against, and not afforded the same opportunities as their white counterparts. Technology deserts, inadequate educational materials, the lack of mentors, the absence of transportation, unfair representation through media, are just a few signs of systemic racism as it pertains to youth of color. The list goes on and on, and are unjust issues facing black youth today. Our society intentionally and systematically keeps children of color down through unequal care, barriers to educational attainment and more. When you combine these systemic disadvantages with continual racial profiling, sterotyping, and sorting, we see clearly that children of color are faced with daily acts of hardship that cause unequal proverty, stress, fear, suicide, depression, and more. Their futures continue to be in jeopardy. If children of color are unable to break free from these systems designed for their failure, then they are unable to grow into successful adults – a cycle that allows the current white population in power to maintain power and status. We must break this cycle. We must empower, promote and support children of color by identifying and dismantling racist systems and procedures.