This new report from Race Forward focuses on the need to develop race-explicit strategies to advance equity in the fields of healthcare and information technology. While these sectors are growing quickly, many career pathways remain inaccessible to people of color in low-income communities due to patterns of discrimination and disinvestment. The report provides recommendations for workforce development practitioners to advance racial equity, both at the organizational level and across the field.
Cecilia Gingerich of the Next System Projectexplores the necessity of system change through a gendered lense. Truly addressing the problems of the twenty-first century requires going beyond business as usual – it requires “changing the system.” But what does this mean? And what would it entail?
The inability of traditional politics and policies to address fundamental U.S. challenges has generated an increasing number of thoughtful proposals that suggest new possibilities. Individual thinkers have begun to set out – sometimes in considerable detail – alternatives that emphasize fundamental change in our system of politics and economics.
We at the Next System Project want to help dispel the wrongheaded idea that “there is no alternative.” To that end, we have been gathering some of the most interesting and important proposals for political-economic alternatives – in effect, descriptions of new systems. Some are more detailed than others, but each seeks to envision something very different from today’s political economy.
We are in a time of deepening systemic crisis. Throughout the world, we see staggering levels of economic inequality, unchecked extractive behavior by corporate-dominated industries, overt attacks on civil rights, massive and ongoing violence against women and people of color, deteriorating democracy, heightened militarization, endless wars, rapidly advancing climate change—and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, the system that has produced this crisis isn’t “broken.” In fact, the mounting challenges we face are to a large degree its natural byproducts and intended outcomes. Therefore, we cannot simply wait for the system to correct itself, or hope that by working at the margins for piecemeal reforms we will alter its fundamental outcomes. Instead we must think deeply about what we want to replace the current system with, and then work to establish the new institutions, practices, and customs required to make this vision a reality.
Taking its name from the Swahili Kwanzaa principle for “collective work and responsibility,” the Boston Ujima Project is working to organize Greater Boston area neighbors, workers, business owners, and investors to create a community-controlled economy. Specific strategies it seeks to employ include the creation of a “Good Business and Real Estate” certification, a community controlled investment fund, a worker empowerment network, and an alternative local currency. In the summer of 2016, the group held its first Ujima Solidarity Summit, at which over 175 people pooled over $20,000 to invest in five black and immigrant-owned local businesses.
Radical Partners is a social-impact accelerator focused on growing organizations working to address community challenges, convening community stakeholders to promote collective impact, and mobilizing the community to generate solutions to pressing city issues. Its 100 Great Ideas initiative relies on social media to garner opinions about how to address serious community challenges, and then shares top ideas with decision-makers who have the power to act. It also runs numerous leadership development programs, including a social entrepreneur “boot camp” focused on scaling the impact of local leaders.