In June, September, and December of 2015, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, with the support of the University of Chicago's Office of Civic Engagement, hosted the Urban America Forward: Civil Rights Roundtable Series. Our nation is experiencing a period of seismic racial demographic shifts. Hispanic, Asian, and multi-racial populations are growing, contributing more than three-quarters of the nation’s population growth in the last decade, and a markedly younger population. By 2042, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that people of color will comprise the majority of the U.S. population. People of color already constitute the numeric majority in 49 of the nation’s 366 metropolitan regions, and in 22 of our nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, as well as in four states. Moreover, minority communities are increasingly being edged out to suburban areas where poverty rates have rapidly increased over the past decade.
What do these trends mean for the promises of racial and social justice that were not realized by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s? What do these demographic shifts portend for equality, quality of life, and social mobility? By 2020, will our cities be more divided or inclusive, and who will champion the interests of a multi-racial urban America?
The Urban America Forward: Civil Rights Roundtable Series hopes to stimulate a future-oriented exploration of approaches to advancing equality and inclusion in urban metropolitan areas in light of the current demographic shifts, the national trend toward contraction rather than the expansion of rights, and the potential for the development of new alliances and social justice movements.
To maintain the conversation between roundtables and leading up to the national conference, participants were encouraged to document their ideas and proposed policy solutions in op-eds and blog posts, and via Twitter using the hashtag #UrbanFwd.
The Urban America Forward: Civil Rights Roundtable Series National Conference is a convening of civil rights leaders, social scientists, grassroots activists, practitioners, policymakers and philanthropists to explore solutions at the forefront of the urban agenda. Watch the conference live on March 4, 2016, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST.
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.