This month, we’ve watched in horror as the water crisis in Flint, MI unfolded. We’ve contributed to the public outcry, and doubled-down on our own efforts to address the issues at the roots of the crisis: racial inequities, aging infrastructure and community engagement - to name a few. The tragedy in Flint has underscored the ill impacts of inequality in this country; inequality that goes beyond income and wealth, and results in uneven access to food, water, and other essential services.
This week’s reading roundup highlights three articles that provide sobering, yet hopeful, perspectives on the effects of our national legacy of inequality and where we might go, as a nation, to improve outcomes for low-income Americans in the future.
Race and Beyond: Protecting America from Racism in the Water - The Center for American Progress
Recommended by Ronda Jackson, Associate Director, Public Sector Innovation
“The tragedy of poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, has grabbed headlines around the globe, but its impact on the most vulnerable people in the state has not received nearly as much coverage. Regular Race and Beyond columnist Sam Fulwood III asked his colleagues Danyelle Solomon, Director of Progress 2050, and Tracey Ross, the Associate Director of the Poverty to Prosperity Program, for their opinions on the overlooked link between low-income, black communities and environmental racism.”
Poorest Areas Have Missed Out on Boons of Recovery, Study Finds - The New York Times
Recommended by Owen Stone, Senior Program Associate, Public Sector Innovation
“The gap between the richest and poorest American communities has widened since the Great Recession ended, and distressed areas are faring worse just as the recovery is gaining traction across much of the country.” What many have been saying for years was recently laid bare in an extensive study by the Economic Innovation Group that looked at factors such “the prevalence of adults with a high school degree, home vacancy rates, adults in the work force, the percentage of people living below the poverty line, median income as a percentage of the state average, change in employment and change in the number of businesses,” on a zip code level to index not only which communities are suffering from high levels of distress, but also where inequality is the greatest.
Awesome? Awful? Awkward? The inside scoop on Green Line partnerships - Central Corridors Funders Collaborative
Recommended by Jeff Raderstrong, Program Associate, Collective Impact
This blog and video highlights the lessons learned from the transit development around the central corridor in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Many cross-sector collaborations sprung up within the central corridor to support the development of the Green Line light rail line, which launched in the summer of 2014. These collaborations, which were supported in part by Living Cities, were able to ensure inclusive development around the Green Line to benefit the low-income people in the community.