Pivotal issues, equitable answers
As founder and CEO of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity, Blackwell seeks to identify and “lift up” the best ideas for resolving some of the nation’s most pressing issues, including reinvestment in low-income communities, encouraging smart growth, bridging the digital divide, eliminating racial health disparities and developing leaders for policy change.
The four key issues she identified at the Neighborhood Summit were:
• Climate change
• Competitiveness - Speaking of the current economy, “We have to recover to something better. What we were got us into trouble,” she said.
• 2042 - The year we can expect that a majority of people in the United States will be people of color. This is not so much an “issue,” as a milestone that brings with it numerous questions regarding democracy and equity.
• Health - The question, Blackwell said, is “not just about health care, but how do we become healthier?”
Woven into all of these issues, Blackwell added, is the question of equity. “Equity asks, ‘What do we want for everyone? What do we need to do to get that?’”
Equitable answers often start small with community-based efforts, and they often address more than one problem, she said. For instance, improving access to public transportation has a positive impact on public health and on global warming. Establishing a community system for growing and selling fresh fruits and vegetables creates economic opportunity and improves health.
To view PolicyLink's reports on these and other issues of community and equity, click here.