Principles for a Common-Sense, Street-Smart Recovery (Complete Set)


From Hurricane Katrina to the 2008 financial collapse, we have seen how recovery efforts that do not deliberately solve for issues facing low-income communities and communities of color only serve to reinforce existing disparities. As we navigate our way through the COVID-19 crisis, we need a Common-sense, Street-smart Recovery to build an inclusive economy and equitable nation that works for all. To realize the promise of equity, leaders must be dedicated to the complete set of principles - listed below - and outlined in this document.

Center Racial Equity


As the current public health and economic crisis continues to impact people around the world, we now know that across the United States, people of color are bearing the brunt of the effects of COVID-19.  Ensuring all people live in a society where they can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential requires recognizing that the path to getting there is different for different groups. Intentional investments in the 100 million economically insecure people in the United States, particularly for those who are people of color, will have benefits that cascade out, improving the lives of all struggling people as well as regional economies and the nation as a whole. We cannot simply tinker around the edges of systems that were never intended to serve all people. In order to center racial equity, policymakers must: 

  • Collect and use disaggregated data.
  • Plan for the most vulnerable.
  • Implement race-conscious approaches to counter persistent racial inequities.

Put People First


During the last recession, corporations received massive bailouts while continuing with risky practices that undermined the strength of the economy, making us unprepared for the current shock from COVID019. Congress has started down this path once again, creating a half trillion-dollar fund to bail out corporations while millions of people are out of work. 

While initial legislative survival packages included modest stimulus checks and unemployment benefits to individuals, economists and struggling people alike have pointed out the immediate need to get more cash into people’s hands to stave off the crisis. Unless we put people first, the relief and recovery packages coming from Congress will only further concentrate wealth at the top and deepen inequities. In order to put people first, policymakers must: 

  • Support essential frontline workers.
  • Guarantee incomes.
  • Freeze costs and protect people from losses.
  • Prioritize people over corporations.

Invest in Community Infrastructure


For an equitable and lasting recovery from the coronavirus crisis, we must rebuild our physical infrastructure—food systems, water, housing, transit, and roads—as well as our social infrastructure—the trusted network of nonprofit, cultural, philanthropic, and local institutions that help our communities function. Both types of community-building infrastructure will play a critical role in helping communities recover and thrive. Resourcing this infrastructure sufficiently is critical, and investments must be made with an equity lens, prioritizing programs and policies that focus on those most impacted by COVID-19.

Now is the time to ensure that all people—regardless of race, income, or zip code—live in healthy communities of opportunity. This requires the following policy and investment actions: 

  • Fortify community-based organizations. 
  • Provide financial support for state and local governments.
  • Invest in physical infrastructure in high-need communities.

Build an Equitable Economy


In addition to exposing our extreme inequality, the pandemic has also revealed our interconnectedness: we are only as safe as the least protected among us. In a diversifying country, dismantling structural racism and ensuring economic security for all is the right thing to do and the necessary thing to do.

We need sustained and race-conscious policies and investments to stabilize people during the crisis and bridge to a more equitable future. To build an equitable economy, policymakers must: 

  • Ensure economic security during the crisis.
  • Use stimulus funds to build the next economy.
  • Forge a new social contract that enables shared prosperity. 

Protect and Expand Community Voice and Power


Generations of policies and practices—such as breached treaties, voter suppression, erosion of workers’ right to organize, and mass criminalization—have excluded vulnerable people from decision-making, resulting in government systems that don’t meet the needs of the people they purport to serve. This is not only a moral concern, but also a social, cultural, and economic liability. When entire populations are unable to fully participate in society, the enormous loss of potential affects the whole nation. 

With the coronavirus thrusting the country into a public health and economic crisis, our racial and structural inequities have become even more pronounced. To foster greater inclusion and self-determination, federal policymakers must: 

  • Center community voice in policymaking and spending. 
  • Protect the right to vote and increase access to the ballot box. 
  • Remove barriers to organizing and include labor unions in pandemic response planning. 

Healing Together: Shifting Approaches to End Intimate Partner Violence


When our relationships are safe and healthy, so are our communities. This California-focused policy paper discusses approaches to ending intimate partner violence and includes policy recommendations that focus on healing, gender justice, and racial equity — instead of punishment — to build safe and accountable communities.

Intimate partner violence is a frightening reality for millions of Californians and a public health crisis that especially affects Black, Native American, and bisexual women and transgender people. For decades, women in the anti-violence movement have led the critical work of meeting the immediate safety needs of survivors — saving countless lives. As we build on these efforts to end partner violence, we must do more to address the root causes of violence and the need for healing for all — including those who have caused harm. Read the policy paper and the summary, and join the campaign, funded with the generous support of Blue Shield of California Foundation. 

Advancing Frontline Employees of Color: Innovating for Competitive Advantage in America's Frontline Workforce


Advancing Frontline Employees of Color: Innovating for Competitive Advantage in America's Frontline Workforce is a resource and call to action for employers to support the advancement of frontline employees of color. The information in the report can also be a useful tool for those advocating for opportunity for all. The report reveals how companies that are successful in advancing racial equity go beyond traditional diversity and inclusion efforts by shifting their management and HR practices and transforming their company cultures. These companies implement evidence-based practices and policies that fall under three strategic opportunity areas: 1) building internal capacity for an inclusive, understanding, and adaptive culture; 2) strengthening management and HR systems, policies, and practices; and 3) intentionally investing in the development of frontline employees of color.

Download Advancing Frontline Employees of Color Executive Summary

Fair Labor Practices Benefit All New Mexican Families


New Mexican families rely on steady paychecks for groceries, childcare, transportation, and housing costs — spending that goes back to the community. So when employers refuse to pay workers their earned wages, everyone suffers. The New Mexico Worker Organizing Collaborative (NMWOC) works to combat these employer thefts to ensure that workers have a fair shot at economic security. In partnership with NMWOC, the National Equity Atlas co-produced a fact sheet that leverages local and National Equity Atlas data to illuminate those who are disproportionately vulnerable to employer theft and the need for the state to better investigate and enforce wage theft claims. This community data tool will support NMWOC in their advocacy to protect workers and take back lost wages. Download Fair Labor Practices Benefit All New Mexicans.

Employment Equity: Louisiana’s Path to Inclusive Prosperity


While Louisiana’s economy has improved in recent years, people of color are still disproportionately represented among the state’s economically insecure. Men of color face particular barriers to employment due to discrimination and gaps in work-based skills. If full employment was achieved across all gender and racial groups, Louisiana's economy could be $3.5 billion stronger each year. Investing in men of color and critical education and training systems for Louisiana’s workforce will shift the state toward a course for greater prosperity for all. This brief is the fifth and final in a series about employment equity in the South (following analyses produced for Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina) based on data analysis and modeling of a “full-employment economy” (defined as when everyone who wants a job can find one), which was conducted by the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Louisiana Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Download the report, detailed methodology, and fact sheet.