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Our Racial Equity Work

As the Community Action Network aims to effectively eradicate the causes and conditions of poverty, we understand that racial inequity rests at the intersection of multiple barriers that impede access to economic security for children, families and communities.  To foster equitable access to a thriving future for all children and families, the Partnership is pleased to offer new tools and resources to strengthen the Networks capacity to analyze the intersection of race and poverty in the lives of the entire community.

Community Action Race and Poverty Listening Sessions

The National Community Action Partnership will be hosting regional listening sessions with the Community Action Network. The aim of the regional listening sessions is to listen to the members of our Network by creating an opportunity for local CAA, state, and regional leaders to share stories about their experiences of racial inequities and injustices and their local responses. This will also be a space for Network leaders to share local and state priority needs that will inspire national, regional, state, and local strategies as we work collectively to build resiliency, power, and social and economic mobility for everyone in our communities.

Taking Action Against Structural Racism

On May 29, National Community Action Partnership released a statement about the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other members of the Black community. In light of these events, and in keeping with our continual push for justice and racial equity, the Partnership has drafted a short list of initial steps for taking action against structural racism in our country. It is certainly not exhaustive, however, we believe these are important steps to take, both for us as individuals and for your Community Action Agency. Additionally, we’ve compiled a bibliography of resources for Community Action to understand, communicate, strategize and take action to eliminate structural racism.

Partnership Affirms Its Core Values (5/29/20)

Washington, DC – Our world is reckoning with a pandemic for which there is currently no cure. Already, COVID-19 has taken 100,000+ lives in the US and it has consumed millions more. We mourn for all who have been infected and affected by this crisis. In a very short time, the pandemic has shifted everyone’s reality and none of us will ever be the same. While COVID-19 has unleashed a threat on the health and economy of our nation, it has also revealed a pre-existing condition that places all of us at greater risk. The hierarchy of human value and to be more specific, RACISM, has served as an activator that has accelerated the loss of life and disproportionate losses to important populations in our country. Persons of color, who are in many cases, workers with low incomes and live in places that were already struggling are suffering great physical, economic, and social harm.

To download the statement, click here

Racial Healing

In 2016, The Partnership joined a coalition of more than 100 organizations to partner on a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) enterprise supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The TRHT enterprise empowers communities to embrace racial healing and uproot conscious and unconscious beliefs in the hierarchy of human value. The coalition seeks to move the nation beyond dialogues about race and ethnicity to unearthing historic and contemporary patterns that are barriers to success, healing those wounds and creating opportunities for all children. Click here to access the full coalition announcement. “The TRHT enterprise builds on WKKF’s long standing work in racial equity and aligns with Community Action’s mission of ameliorating the causes and conditions of poverty, building on past and current Partnership efforts to address inequality and structural racism,” said Denise Harlow, Chief Executive Officer of the Community Action Partnership.

The Community Action Network has been a central pivotal force in eradicating poverty for low-income children and families in local communities for over 50 years. Engagement with TRHT will provide Community Action Agencies and their partners with awareness, new tools and increased capacity to analyze the intersection of race and poverty in the lives of children. It will also assist CAAs in their efforts to develop effective strategies to dismantle the negative impact of that intersection at the child, family, community, and institutional levels that will ultimately support local efforts towards healing and transformation. “Community Action plays a key role in many communities throughout our country. By way of our network, we are uniquely positioned to support community healing and to advocate for economic and racial justice on the local, regional and national forefront. Our strength comes from the Community Action ‘Promise’ to ‘help people and change lives’. This latest initiative paves a way for embodying the spirit of hope and improving communities for all of America,” says Harlow.

Community Action Partnership Key Member of Rx Racial Healing Mobilization Campaign (7/18/19)

Washington, DC – In a briefing before the Helsinki Commission today (July 18, 2019), Dr. Gail C. Christopher outlined a new approach to eradicating racism and confronting religious and ethnic bias. Dr. Christopher’s Rx Racial Healing campaign is a mass mobilization effort designed to facilitate the healing of nations that have been afflicted by a history of oppression rooted in racism, anti-Semitism, and religious and ethnic bias. The national Community Action Partnership is one of five organizations working together to invigorate efforts to facilitate racial healing, improve equity in communities and eradicate racism… Click here read the full press release. 

Click here to download Dr. Christopher’s press release on her briefing before the Helsinki Commission. To download her written testimony, click here.

Video Resources and Webinars

Community Action Conversation in Response to Racism and COVID-19

On Wednesday, June 3, Partnership Board Chair, Bryan Duncan, and Catrena Bowman-Thomas, Executive Director of the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, had some powerful remarks during our webinar

Partnership Board Chair, Bryan Duncan, at the Iredell Hall of Justice

On Saturday, June 6, Bryan addressed police violence and structural racism at the Iredell Hall of Justice in his hometown in North Carolina. 

National Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Webinar

Community Action commemorates the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., America’s advocate for social and economic justice for ALL people. Dr. King illuminated the complex intersection of poverty and racial inequity and called for the world to become a place where everyone belongs and has what they need regardless of their race and social location. Watch this webinar to hear from Nation Board Member Dr. Dalitso Sulamoyo on how Dr. King’s legacy guides his work, and to learn more about the Partnership’s vision for racial equity in America.

Cultural Humility: People, Principles, and Practices

Cultural humility is a principle and framework to expand one’s approach in working with organizations, providers, and the community members they serve to encompass a client-centered stance that seeks to mitigate power imbalances. This session provides the history of the cultural humility framework and an introduction to the basic tenets of cultural humility. (Part 1 of 2)

Cultural Humility and Health Equity

Cultural humility provides a framework that can be utilized to impact health equity in policy and practice. This is second of two sessions offering an overview of the relationship between cultural humility and health equity.

Racial Equity in Financial Empowerment Program Design

Research has consistently pointed to the fact that persons of color face a steep historic and social disadvantage in their ability to access reputable financial products and services. As a result, Community Action agencies have a responsibility to ensure that their financial empowerment strategy is inclusive and works to specifically address the unique challenges that face these communities. Watch this webinar to be part of our conversation on the critical importance of incorporating a racial equity lens in financial empowerment program design. Calling on the work of their Racial Wealth Divide Initiative, experts from Prosperity NOW will provide participants in this event with a deep dive into the research and practice of incorporating racial equity into financial capability programs and services.