How a national network of local leaders is centering racial equity in neighborhood revitalization – Brookings Institution – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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BannerAs a young Black girl growing up in Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, Md., I was exposed to several kinds of neighborhoods. Some were racially integrated, some were predominantly Black, and others were predominantly white. As a child, I understood there was something different about each of these places, and importantly, how I should navigate them. Like many children of color, my life was shaped by the contingencies of place: where I was born, the schools I could attend, and the opportunities in the neighborhoods where I grew up. Looking back, I see how easily my life could have taken a different path.

In America, neighborhoods determine destiny. But unjust, racist policies and actions have created segregated and distressed neighborhoods. To revitalize these places, we must recognize how race—not family income, family structure, education level, or accumulated wealth—functions as the main determinant of life outcomes. And we must directly address racism through tangible, equity-focused action at the neighborhood level.

The organization I’m a part of, Purpose Built Communities, is striving to do just that, and learning along the way. We are a national nonprofit that supports a network of local groups leading holistic revitalization efforts in 28 neighborhoods in 24 cities across the country. Grou


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