Today’s growing social justice movement is experiencing a new surge as Black and Brown communities continue to grapple with the long-term effects created by decades of disinvestment, economic oppression, and systemic racism. The work to reverse hundreds of years of racial injustice is no easy feat, but the need to dismantle the systems that perpetuate inequality is very real.
To create the future many of us changemakers envision, we have to understand the context, history, and tactical barriers that have inhibited the advancement of Black and Brown people.
To help our fellow nonprofit leaders, residents, and those who represent us, our staff is excited to share our top picks on racial equity and why we believe they’re critical to the work that lies ahead.
Check out our list and comment below to let us know – What’s your top recommended racial equity read or resource?
The Case for Reparations (Article)
“Land, viewed by many as the bedrock of economic prosperity, has long been promised and denied to Black people in America. After reading this magnificent and important body of work, one cannot deny how Slavery, Jim Crow, Separate but Equal, Redlining etc. have led to the creation of the “ghettos” and has left a lingering effect on those impacted by the byproducts of racism—poverty and oppression. In The Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates—a man I consider to be this generation’s James Baldwin, eloquently describes the unjust policies, structures, and treatment that have long been inflicted upon African-Americans and how its impact, till this day, is felt and seen in the communities we (Community Progress) are committed to serve. This is a relevant and definite, must-read for our times.” – Kathy J. Guillaume-Delemar, Director of National Partnerships
The Color of Law (Book)
“It’s impossible to work towards dismantling systemic racism without understanding how it was designed and how deeply it has been embedded in our systems. Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America is required reading, and demonstrates how deliberately America’s communities were segregated by race, and how housing and wealth-building opportunities were handed to White Americans and denied to Black Americans for generations. Our work at Community Progress in the communities we serve cannot be done without understanding redlining and its lasting legacy. – Robert E. Finn, Director of Policy and Research
Facing Race (Conference)
“Racial equity cannot be accomplished in a silo, it requires working across geographies, sectors, and fields. Facing Race, an annual conference put on by Race Forward, is a fantastic opportunity to connect with and learn from committed leaders. As “the largest multiracial, inter-generational gathering for organizers, educators, creatives, and other leaders,” there is no better place to learn, connect, and be inspired. Facing Race will be held virtually this year, more information and registration details can be found here – facingrace.raceforward.org/.” – Janell O’Keefe, Program Officer for Michigan Initiatives
The 13th (Documentary)
“The 13th is an in-depth exploration of America’s prison-industrial complex, as well as its sordid history on race relations. The documentary takes a comprehensive look at this history, following a journey that begins at slavery, leads into Jim Crow, and now, today’s mass incarceration era. I learned a TON from The 13th – things that I do not believe I would have ever learned in a classroom setting – and definitely consider it a must-see for those that are looking to gain a better understanding on the history of racial inequality in our country, our criminal justice system, and the criminalization of Black people.” – Christina Carter-Grant, Communications Officer
Policy Link’s COVID-19 & Race Page (Web Resource)
“I’m a huge supporter of PolicyLink because they make equity central to everything they do – like their Equity Manifesto says, “It starts by joining together, believing in the potency of inclusion, and building from a common bond.” Everything builds from that foundation and emanates out from it, which is imperative. I think right now it’s very easy and deeply human to get lost in the noise and overwhelming force of the pandemic, but what PolicyLink challenges us to do is recognize that race and class struggles and disparities were far too common before COVID. Things are only amplified now, so we need to keep pressing on the gas.” – Michael Bochnovic, Special Assistant to the President and CEO