Mitchell Silver: We Must Make Equity a National Priority
This post is part of a series presenting equity leaders’ reactions to “America’s Tomorrow: Equity is the Superior Growth Model” — a new paper that challenges the nation to invest in our collective future. This post is written by Mitchell Silver, President of the American Planning Association. Click here to read other reflections.
PolicyLink continues to challenge us to think about better options as we grow as a nation. By the close of the 20th century, multiculturalism, tolerance and diversity were comfortable ways of describing how Americans should embrace different races, ethnicities and cultures. But the demographic change that will unfold in the 21st century will usher in an historic transformation to the American economic, cultural, social and political landscape. By 2042, there will be no majority race in the U.S. By 2023, more than half of all children in the U.S. will be people of color. That number will increase to 62 percent by 2050 and by mid-century, people of color will consist of 55 percent of the working age population. So it should come as no surprise that at some point in the 21st century, the term “minority” will either disappear from our vocabulary or take on a new meaning.
Does America realize that our economic future rests on a population of children that are disenfranchised and are severely lagging in educational attainment? How will America compete in a global economy when it’s failing to invest in the next generation of innovators, scientists, mathematicians – most of whom will be children of color? How can America prosper when so many children of color live in poverty and lack opportunities for intellectual stimulation and a decent standard of living?
Embracing diversity is no longer just proper social and political etiquette. Embracing diversity is now linked to America’s future and economic prosperity. PolicyLink offers insights on we can prosper as a nation by using equity as a “Superior Growth Model.” It’s time for America to understand that we must pursue social equity as a national priority. America must embrace equity now if we want to remain competitive in a global 21st century economy. Smart people understand their sense of urgency 10 years before it’s urgent. So America, how smart are you? Need some help? Read PolicyLink’s America’s Tomorrow for clues.