Reflections: A Galvanizing Day for Bay Area Social Equity
The following post is a reflection by Urban Habitat Social Equity Caucus Coordinator Frank López on the organization’s annual “State of the Region” conference, which was held last week in Oakland.
We got together and made it happen. On April 26, Urban Habitat hosted 120 Bay Area leaders for the annual State of the Region Conference at The California Endowment’s Oakland Conference Center. On a day that threatened rain but eventually brought the sun, social justice advocates came together to talk about equity, how to problem-solve, act, and organize.
Urban Habitat President and CEO, Allen Fernandez Smith kicked off the event by celebrating the victories and achievements of the more than 80 organizations in attendance, while outlining the important work being done in the region and all that still needs to be done moving forward.
Panel sessions explored the challenges in more depth, ranging across the board, from local and regional planning issues that affect low-income communities and people of color to the changing geography of race and class, the dissolution of redevelopment agencies, and regional agency reform. Workshops were offered to help social justice advocates build capacity to develop the tools they need to win regional campaigns, fund regional advocacy work, and build stronger inside-outside relationships with progressive decision makers.
Keynote speakers Mitchell J. Silver, president of the American Planning Association, and Bertha Lewis, president and founder of The Black Institute, delivered exhilarating and passionate¬ calls to action as they spoke about the changing demographic in the United States and how to ensure that low-income people and people of color have the infrastructure and policies in place to support their success.
As an organization, Urban Habitat is committed to building on the work and conversations that were started, nurtured, and further nourished at the 2012 State of the Region Conference. We ask and encourage you as social justice advocates and allies to please continue the dialogue, idea-sharing, and any thoughts about the conference here on PolicyLink’s Equity Blog or on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/urbanhabitat.org
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