Facing Race 2018: Breakout Session Sneak Peek

Ahead of November’s conference we will be sharing sneak peeks of various breakout sessions. Today’s Q&A is with Race Forward’s Dwayne Marsh and Julie Nelson, who will be hosting a session on Building Authentic Community Government Partnerships. Keep reading for more details! 

Background: In their roles as Senior Vice-President of Programs and Vice-President of Institutional and Sectoral Change, Julie and Dwayne help lead Race Forward’s work with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a joint project of the new Race Forward and the Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society. GARE is a national network of over 80 jurisdictions working at the forefront of local and regional government to advance racial equity.

Why did you feel this subject was important for a breakout session?

The history of government in the United States is one of having intentionally and explicitly created racial inequities. If we want to get to racially equitable outcomes in our communities, it is essential that we transform our public institutions. We won’t be able to achieve an inclusive multiracial democracy without racial equity.

To advance equity, government must focus not only on individual programs, but also on policy and institutional strategies that are driving the production of inequities. Strategies that build relationships between advocates working to eliminate institutional and structural racism within local government in partnership with communities and across sectors can accelerate progress.

Right now we’re seeing more and more jurisdictions making a commitment to achieving racial equity, focusing on the power and influence of their own institutions, and working in partnership across sectors and with the community to maximize impact.

What can attendees expect to do / learn during this session?

Attendees will learn more about how government can normalize conversations about race, operationalize new behaviors and policies, and organize to achieve racial equity, and will be inspired by two examples (Austin and Kalamazoo), funded by GARE’s Innovation Fund, to support local government and communities working together to end structural racism.

When government prioritizes racial equity, relationships with community shift to authentic engagement and the sharing of power. This workshop will highlight the experiences of jurisdictions that have been recipients of the Innovation and Implementation fund, working with community to eliminate structural racism.

What do you hope folks will leave this session with?

Advocates working within government will leave this session with tools to use the power and influence of their own local government to advance racial equity. Community advocates will have new insights for strategically working with government, recognizing that accountability to the community is essential for advancing racial equity.

You can find the full Facing Race program schedule here.

Topics: Community Building/Alternative Models, Governing for Racial Equity, Housing and Homelessness, Innovations in Racial Justice, Leadership for Racial Justice, Movement-Building for Racial Justice and Social Justice, Organizational Change