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As Demographics Change, Americans See Opportunity in Diversity

On Wednesday, October 30, the Ford Foundation held an event where Soledad O’Brien interviewed Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Gary Segura of Latino Decisions about the recent poll conducted by CAP and PolicyLink and funded by Rockefeller Foundation. The poll found that Americans see more opportunities than challenges in diversity.


Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino, Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn, NY, and Jason Young of the Hidden Genius Project, among other leaders, discussed the poll and the recent book — All-In Nation: An America that Works for All. The book lays out the kind of policy agenda Americans polled would support to bolster the economy and reduce inequality.

Check out the event in tweets!

See a slide show from the event below.

In Our Changing Nation, Who Is Miss America?

This post was written by Angela Glover Blackwell and originally published on HuffingtonPost.

No sooner was it announced, than the social media backlash began.

Sunday evening, as Nina Davuluri was crowned the first Miss America of South Asian descent, some people took to Twitter with heartbreaking speed, saying she was not representative of the United States or of American values.

What a sad commentary on the values of some Americans. It suggests a super narrow and wrong view of the nation.

Why is it that a Miss America who is not white engenders so much angst in the populous?

The United States has never been an all-white nation — never — and it is fast becoming the most diverse nation in the world. And diversity will be the power currency of the future. Success in the global economy will go to the nation that can create, innovate, and connect in the context of difference. Having diverse leaders, workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators is the way to do that authentically and well.

Already the majority of babies born in the United States are Latino, Asian, Native American, African American, and other people of color. Nearly half of our nation’s young people are of color. By 2030 the majority of the young workforce will be of color, and by 2043, the majority of people in the nation will be people of color.

By recognizing diversity as the asset that it is, and adopting policies, programs, and plans to ensure that all can reach their full potential, we all win. In doing so, the nation realizes the moral power of inclusion, the promise of democracy, and the economic benefits of shared prosperity.

Rather than pushing out mean, negative messages over Twitter, creating an all-in nation — one linking each to the fate of all — is the best way to respond to the changing demographics. It’s time to accept the future and rejoice in the nation’s good fortune in having the young, globally connected, eager talent that we need to do well in the 21st century and beyond.

It’s just a beauty pageant, but it’s also a sign. America is changing; and it is a good thing.

Angela Glover Blackwell is the Founder and CEO of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®. PolicyLink and the Center for American Progress recently released All-In Nation: An America that Works for All, a new book that describes how racial and economic inclusion is necessary to achieve shared prosperity as America undergoes a profound demographic shift.

Let’s Turn Outrage into Action

Let’s Turn Outrage into Action from PolicyLink on Vimeo.

Step 1: Sign the NAACP Petition to tell the Department of Justice to file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

Step 2: Join the March on Washington on August 28.

Step 3: Follow California’s lead and develop a select committee to support boys and men of color in your state.

Step 4: Find efforts to repeal Stand Your Ground laws in states across America, and support Florida Reps. Alan Williams and Bruce Antone—and even Stevie Wonder in their efforts to repeal the racist law.

Step 5: Follow us for additional ways to take action.

Step 6: Share this video on Facebook and Twitter!

Thank you for taking these important steps. We recognize that a sustained campaign is required, so stay tuned for regular updates on actions we can take to channel our outrage into meaningful, long-term change.

Statement by PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell on President Obama’s FY 2014 Budget

Statement by PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell on President Obama’s FY 2014 Budget

budget-picPresident Obama’s budget proposal contains several important policies that can have an extraordinary impact on low-income communities and people of color and advance equity–just and fair inclusion for all.

Increasing the investment in programs like Promise Neighborhoods and Choice Neighborhoods and affirming a commitment to efforts like the Healthy Food Financing Initiative and the Sustainable Communities Initiative is the right way forward. President Obama also proposes new investments in children and families through high-quality early education for all children to enable them to start school ready to learn, and offers crucial career education and job training through the Community College to Career and Pathways Back to Work funds.

The collective impact of these policies could be enormous.

The gains made through these investments, however, will not have the desired effect if families are devastated by cuts to essential programs like Medicare and Social Security. Equitable efforts like Promise Neighborhoods and Healthy Food Financing are intended to bolster communities hit first and worst by the recession—families still struggling to recapture what they lost in the foreclosure crisis. By weakening Medicare and Social Security, the President’s budget undermines the recovery of the very communities it aims to lift up.

We must preserve and expand programs to revitalize America’s neighborhoods while simultaneously ensuring that the Social Security and Medicare benefits earned by America’s children, workers, and seniors remain secure. This is not a poor country; we can afford to do both. In fact, we can’t afford not to.

–Angela Glover Blackwell

What are your thoughts on the President’s budget? Leave us a comment!

America’s ‘Vanishing’ Middle Class – and What Philanthropy Can Do to Help

America’s ‘Vanishing’ Middle Class – and What Philanthropy Can Do to Help

This two-part session will examine the instability of the middle class and how this large segment of the population can regain its economic footing. Panelists and other leaders will offer insight about the role philanthropy plays in areas that affect many middle-class Americans, such as workforce and business development, partnerships with government, education, and health care.

Moderator: Kai Ryssdal, Host and Senior Editor, Marketplace
Presenter(s): Don Peck, Editor, Atlantic Media Company; Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PolicyLink; Jamie P. Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation for Education

Equity Analysis : President Obama’s 2013 Budget

Last week, we shared PolicyLink CEO Angela Glover Blackwell’s statement on President Obama’s proposed budget for FY 2013.

Today, we invite you to delve a little deeper into how his budget promotes economic and social equity through programs and policies that will level the playing field, invest in America’s neighborhoods, and give all people a fair chance to succeed.

Read our full budget analysis, and then let’s talk: post your comments below!

We’ve also got a point-by-point comparison of the budget and the key priorities of our Equity Agenda for the 99%. Take a look and let us know—how do you think the President’s vision will help foster a more equitable economy? What issues do you think are critical for giving all people a fair shot?

Equity Now Twin Cities

EquityNow Twin Cities from Works Progress on Vimeo.

Last November, 150 Minnesotans joined 2,500 equity workers from around the country at PolicyLink’s Equity Summit 2011 in Detroit. This video is our attempt to communicate deep knowledge, burning questions, and incredible passion of 150 Minnesotans.

Peter Dreier: America’s Tomorrow, Promoting the “Growth-with-Equity” Agenda

Peter Dreier: America’s Tomorrow, Promoting the “Growth-with-Equity” Agenda

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 Peter Dreier, E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. Click here to read other reflections

One hundred years ago, progressive thinkers and activists who called for women’s suffrage, laws protecting the environment, an end to lynching, the right of workers to form unions, a progressive income tax, a federal minimum wage, old-age insurance, the eight-hour workday, and government-subsidized health care were considered impractical idealists, utopian dreamers, or dangerous socialists. Now we take these ideas for granted. The radical ideas of one generation have become the common sense of the next.


The major idea of America’s Tomorrow – that a policy agenda centered on growth-with-equity is the best way forward – is hardly radical.  The entire report is full of practical, common sense remedies to the current economic crisis. It should be a no-brainer. But it isn’t, because there are political forces in our country that demonize the very idea of equality, who stigmatize government as inherently inefficient, who think that if families struggle to find jobs, earn a living wage, and pay the mortgage it is their own fault, and who believe that there is no such thing as the common good or the public interest. In recent years, these forces have gained ground in the political world and in the battle of ideas.


But recently these forces, including the Tea Party and its allies in business and politics, have been in retreat.  The Occupy Wall Street movement helped change the national conversation. At kitchen tables, in coffee shops, in offices and factories, and in newsrooms, Americans are now talking about economic inequality, corporate greed, and how America’s super-rich have damaged our economy and our democracy. The wide gulf between the richest one percent and the rest of Americans hasn’t changed during the past year, but Occupy Wall Street has made it a major topic of discussion across the nation.


The question now is whether a coalition of conscience can take advantage of the new mood in the country, which has created openings for unions, community organizations, faith-groups, and fair-minded elected officials to promote the “growth-with-equity” agenda. What’s need now is a broad movement that can translate the ideas in America’s Tomorrow into the world of politics and policy. Expanding much-needed public infrastructure, creating good, green jobs that pay a living wage, and advocating a progressive fair tax system should be the rallying cry of grassroots activists and the litmus test issues in the upcoming 2012 elections. The urgent ideas in America’s Tomorrow offer a blueprint for the next New Deal.  Can we seize the opportunity to make it happen?


Peter Dreier is E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. He is coauthor of Regions That Work, Place Matters: Metropolitics for the 21st Century, and The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City.  His next book, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, will be published by Nation Books in the spring of 2012.