Talking Social Justice on the Radio

PolicyLink CEO Angela Glover Blackwell was today’s guest on Forum on KQED, the Bay Area’s NPR station. It was one of those rare times where you get to hear folks talking for an extended period about the possible answers for America’s ongoing challenges.

MICHAEL KRASNY (HOST): There’s been a good deal of criticism of President Obama. You had a piece in the Huffington Post where you siad, Wait a minute. Let’s take a pause here. There’s been tremendous investment by the Obama Administration in the African American community. There’s been stimulus, health-care legislation, pell grants, and growth of eceonomic and soical opportunitues. In other words, many things the president wasn’t getting his props for, so to speak.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: I do think that’s absolutely true. President Obama has been an amazing breath of fresh air for those of us who do policy work focused on how to improve the quality of communities where so many low-income people live.

The work around trying to lift up what Geoff Canada has been trying to in Harlem through the Harlem Children’s Zone with the Promise Neighborhoods program. Looking at HUD and expanding HUD beyond just focusing on public housing, but looking at the quality of community, whether or not public housing and housing vouchers and housing assistance programs actually connect low-income people to communities of opportunity through Choice Neighborhoods….

Looking at the the Sustainable Communities movement in this nation, trying to make sure we pay attention to place that we think about transportation and place. That we look at economic development with an eye to regional inclusion and regional equity. All of these things — these place-based initiatives — have gotten a lot of attention in the Obama Administration. Things that have never happened before that are very important for low-income people of color….I have tried to lift those things up.

[SNIP]

So many people in this country who are being left behind are living in places that are being left behind — places with inadequate broadband in rural America, not enough transportation to be able to link people to regional opportunity, bridges and sewer systems and roads that are crumbling and neglected. We felt we need to tee up a conversation in America that says we have to focus on our infrastructure if we want to be strong in the future and we have to focus in places that need it.

Worth listening to the whole piece:

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