Urban America Forward: Civil Rights Roundtable Series | 2015-16

POLICY BRIEFS

GEOGRAPHY AND OPPORTUNITY

The Need for a National Housing Mobility Infrastructure
by Philip Tegeler, Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Preserving Affordable Units in High-Opportunity Neighborhoods Promotes Upward Mobility
by Erika Poethig and Reed Jordan, Urban Institute

Housing and the Shifting Geography of Poverty and Neighborhood Opportunity
by Elizabeth Kneebone, Brookings

Addressing Concentrated Poverty through Public Housing Reform: Rethinking Integrationist Aims and Ends
by Robert Chaskin, University of Chicago

Creating Transformative Opportunities for Out-of-School, Out-of-Work Youth
by Ilana Levinson, with contributions by Joel Miranda, YouthBuild USA

A Whole School Approach to Improving the Outcomes of Children Living in High Crime Communities
by Micere Keels, University of Chicago

 

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

Improve the Health and Longevity of Urban Americans by Addressing the Social Determinants of Health
by Doriane C. Miller, University of Chicago Medicine

Health Equity as a Critical Civil Rights Issue
by Mildred Thompson, PolicyLink

An Asset-Based Community-Engaged Approach to Narrowing Health Disparities
by Gillian Feldmeth and Stacy Tessler Lindau, University of Chicago Medicine

Planning Healthy, Vibrant Cities For and With Young People: The Power and Possibilities of Y-PLAN
by Deborah McKoy and Jessie Stewart, University of California, Berkeley, Center for Cities and Schools

Use the ACA Community Benefits Requirement to Improve Communities
by J. Phillip Thompson and Dayna Cunningham, MIT  

 

JUSTICE, VIOLENCE REDUCTION, AND POLICE PRACTICE

Ending the Misuse of Jails: Reducing Mass Incarceration by Closing Its Front Door
by Nicholas Turner and Kaitlin Kall, Vera Institute of Justice

Creating Opportunities by Affording People with Criminal Records a Second Chance
by Todd A. Cox, Center for American Progress

Decriminalizing Childhood for Youth of Color
by Laura Ridolfi and Tracy Benson, Burns Institute

Advancing Juvenile Justice Reforms
by Randolph Stone, University of Chicago

Mandating Guardian-Style Policing for All Youth
by Delores Jones-Brown, City University of New York

Working Toward a Much-Needed Alternative to Youth Prisons
by Shaena Fazal, Youth Advocate Programs

Leveraging Fatherhood Programs to Prevent Youth Violence
by Waldo E. Johnson, Jr., University of Chicago

 

DEMOCRACY AND DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZING

Contemporary Threats to Democratic Participation
by Jon Rogowski, Washington University

Reimagining Political Participation in the Digital Age
by Cathy J. Cohen, University of Chicago

What the Past Can Teach Us About Black Lives Matter Organizing
by Megan Ming Francis, University of Washington

OVERVIEW

Our nation is grappling with profound urban challenges. Deepening educational inequality, severe rates of unemployment, segregation, socially isolated communities, suburban poverty, police abuse, over-reliance on incarceration, and the erosion of access to democratic process all challenge our notions of equity. Despite the social and political progress of the 1960s, many would argue that civil rights–era programs have not fully realized their promise.

The Urban America Forward: Civil Rights Roundtable Series took stock of this moment and the current urban landscape. The series was launched by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago (CSRPC) in June 2015. A diverse group of civil rights leaders, scholars, activists, practitioners, representatives of philanthropy, and representatives of the private sector shared evidence-based and practice-proven policies that are working to dismantle inequality in urban America. The following summarizes the discussion, highlighting: (1) the overarching themes raised; (2) policy recommendations; and (3) promising models and tactics.  

REVIEW THE FULL OVERVIEW HERE

 

RESPONDING TO SHIFTING DEMOGRAPHICS

Over the past forty years, the United States has experienced dramatic shifts in racial and ethnic composition. These demographic trends demand new policy approaches to address the complexity of a more diverse America. 

 

A WHOLE-CHILD APPROACH TO URBAN EDUCATION

It is impossible to address the social, economic, and political conditions in urban America without confronting inequality in our educational system.

 

DISMANTLING URBAN POVERTY

Poverty lies at the complex intersection of race, unemployment, housing, education, and violence. It is not a singular problem and has no silver bullet solutions. 

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FAIR HOUSING AND NEIGHBORHOOD OPPORTUNITY

Although the right to housing is not recognized as a fundamental right in the United States, it is a fundamental need. 

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BUILDING A CULTURE OF HEALTH AND HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

A modern urban civil rights agenda aims to achieve “health equity,” that is, the outcomes secured by tackling through social justice the root causes of health disparities. 

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YOUTH VIOLENCE INTERVENTION AND JUVENILE JUSTICE

More than 80 percent of urban youth are exposed to violence.  In Chicago, up to 96 percent of youth in certain neighborhoods are exposed to violence, including witnessing homicide. 

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POLICE PRACTICE, JUSTICE, AND OVER-INCARCERATION

Multiple policy levers are required to address the complex issues underlying police brutality and over-incarceration in America. 

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DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY AND URBAN EMPOWERMENT

Through digital platforms, activists are able to share their stories, advocate for justice, and mobilize. The technology economy is also ripe for employment and entrepreneurialism. 

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SUSTAINABILITY DIVERSITY AND THE GREEN ECONOMY

The green economy is an engine for employment, wealth creation, and healthier communities. An Urban Civil Rights Agenda must move away from a polluting and extractive economy and toward an inclusive green and clean economy.

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INFRASTRUCTURE EQUITY

Infrastructure connects people to jobs, schools, and services, but “urban renewal” infrastructure investments have often had the effect of separating and isolating rather than empowering communities. 

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DEMOCRACY & NEW STRUGGLES FOR REPRESENTATION

In a nation of rapidly changing demographics, racial anxiety is resulting in a contraction of democracy, with state laws and legal jurisprudence restricting access to the ballot. 

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THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERSHIP

Movements by young activists have galvanized national attention and spurred debate about systems of oppression and discrimination faced by communities of color—and particularly youth—in America’s cities. 

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The Urban America Forward: Civil Rights Roundtable Series National Conference is presented by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, in partnership with the National League of Cities. The Urban America Forward series is co-sponsored by the Ford Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, and Kresge Foundation.