By Sean Barron
The nation’s health and future are intertwined with working toward achieving greater equity in its policies, plans and actions, an author and national authority on poverty issues and community development contends.
“A democracy that doesn’t work in context with diversity and differences is nothing to be proud of,” Angela Glover Blackwell (told an audience of about 150 community leaders, activists and others during her presentation Monday in the D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitors Center at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens.
Sponsoring her 45-minute lecture, “Equity in the Valley: A Call to Action,” was the Raymond J. Wean Foundation.
Glover Blackwell, founder and chief executive officer of PolicyLink, talked about what she sees as the importance of attaining full equity to build strong, vibrant neighborhoods and communities, as well as a prosperous country.
PolicyLink, founded in January 1999, is a national action and research institute with goals that include providing greater access to green jobs, affordable housing and transportation while creating healthy neighborhoods. The institute relies heavily on local residents and organizations to accomplish its goals.
She cited a study that points to the connection between the health of regions and inner cities. It’s imperative that residents in those areas are consulted to better determine their priorities and needs, Glover Blackwell noted.
Glover Blackwell predicted that minorities will be the nation’s majority population by 2042. Nevertheless, too many still live in poor neighborhoods, fail to graduate from high school and are missing out in other ways, she said, adding that an increasing number of black and Latino women are incarcerated.
To that end, equity means better preparing those in prison to transition to work, Glover Blackwell continued.
“A nation of people being left behind will become a nation left behind,” she added.
Glover Blackwell cited what she sees as the value of several equity initiatives, including a program in which people retrofit old buildings to make them more environmentally friendly, which leads to apprenticeships and good job training while benefiting the community.