Community Change Process


Many groups target their racial equity work to community change. They do this work for many different reasons. Some are aiming at improving a particular set of outcomes for whole populations, for example, decreasing infant mortality in a city – knowing that, in that place, infant mortality disproportionately affects some racial groups more than others. Some aim their work directly at eliminating racial disparities for a particular system, for example, eliminating racial/ethnic gaps in the number of high school students passing AP exams in a school district. Some work toward building trusting relationships and collective action more generally, perhaps in response to hate crimes, or as part of an effort to organize for political action.

Regardless, groups who do this work share some common lessons. They note that community change work often includes engaging formal and informal leaders who will invest in the process, and serve as messengers and catalysts for change. They also note that part of designing a complex community change effort or supporting an organic community change process involves understanding the community’s history and culture, and the areas where change can be leveraged. They attend to the processes of their work – trying to mirror equity, and identifying ways that the dominant culture and white privilege may be influencing the initiative’s goals, strategies and definitions of success. They are explicit about structural racism. And they pay a great deal of attention to constructing messages and delivering them in ways their intended audiences can hear.  

This section provides selected examples of racial equity work aimed at community change. Several describe current racial equity initiatives in the United States. Other resources offer frameworks and ideas in addition to examples of work.




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