Reflections: Promoting equity in opportunity will help California grow and prosper

The Golden State’s tremendous diversity will be the key to its future economic success—if its leaders take action to increase fairness and opportunity. Equity is not only a moral imperative—it is also an economic one.

These are the key messages of the new report California’s Tomorrow: Equity is the Superior Growth Model, authored by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE). The report was released this week at a legislative briefing hosted by PolicyLink and the California Legislative Tri-Caucus, and was attended by legislative staff and nearly 40 advocates from all parts of the state.

Below is a reflection on the report from Kendra Bridges of Sacramento’s Coalition on Regional Equity (CORE):

On Monday, members of the Sacramento region’s Coalition on Regional Equity attended a briefing in California’s State Capitol Building that discussed the future of California, and proposed an exciting and timely new way to think about and plan for our future. This opportunity to hear from thought leaders and our elected leadership from the Latino Legislative Caucus, Legislative Black Caucus and Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus gave us a view into how California can best climb out of the economic hole dug by the recession, into a future of equity and prosperity for all.

Simply put, we heard that Equity is the Superior Growth Model, and will help California move forward.

In order for California to emerge from this recession into a productive future, a shift in thinking and investment must occur. We can no longer defer maintenance of our educational system, defer funding for workforce training, or fail to invest in our communities. In order for all Californians to prosper tomorrow, equity must be a priority today.

Our state has undergone a demographic shift, and people of color are the new majority. The educational attainment necessary for the jobs of tomorrow is not yet a reality for many people of color. Many neighborhoods where people of color live suffer from lack of investment, poor infrastructure, and unhealthy conditions. Accordingly, investment in opportunity for our children and in our existing neighborhoods will help ensure that all Californians are able to stand up to the challenge of the new economy.

We know that providing the tools necessary to help the next generation succeed will help us all emerge from the economic downturn and create new prosperity in our state. We look to our elected and community leaders to make positive change happen. There are a few important ways the leaders in our state can ensure that we all prosper:

  • Invest in our schools. Tomorrow’s workforce needs the necessary education and skills to meet the demands of the rebuilt economy.
  • Invest in our communities. Our public spaces need to be safe and accessible, and our communities need resources such as jobs, services, and places to be physically active. Healthy communities produce a productive workforce!

Promoting equity in opportunity will help California grow and prosper. We look forward to helping our elected leaders make equity a priority in California.


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