Policies at federal, state and local levels created our race, gender and class inequities and these same inequities make some of our nation’s biggest problems seem intractable. Policies can transform these inequities into lasting solutions to some of society’s most pressing problems, from the economy to the environment.
The Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) identifies causes of racial inequity at a systems level and works with partners, through research and strategic convenings, to find solutions that promote equity and fairness. We develop policy ideas to transform structural racial inequity, support grassroots leaders and move public will to promote strategies for structural transformation through public policy, sowing seeds of racial, gender and class equity for all.
CSI catalyzes policy strategies. Local ideas and innovation can lead to national power and impact. By connecting with local communities and leaders on big problems at local levels, we find ideas and support the strategic engagement of those impacted by unfair structures.
CSI connects local leaders to opportunities for state and national policy development and reform. CSI works as a bridge to higher-level policy change.
CSI convenes leaders and thinkers to support alliance building, strategy development and idea generation so that a field is growing that begins to have collective impact.
CSI communicates with those who want to make change and those who need to know that change needs to be made in order to support an effective public discourse on race and inclusion.
All of CSI’s projects are built around three important tools:
Ideas: We can build a vibrant and just society, but we must have policy ideas that transform what is possible. CSI works with our partners to understand the structures and systems that perpetuate the exclusion of communities of color, and shed light on the negative effects on us all. With our partners, CSI develops community-level solutions and national policy proposals. At CSI we believe both are essential to galvanize a movement to build an inclusive nation. Click here to learn more.
Leadership: Effective policy reform requires leadership. CSI invests in community leaders, because community organizers and other grassroots advocates can and should play a much larger role in the policy debates that shape all of our lives. Click here to learn more.
Communications: We cannot create structural arrangements that promise opportunity for everyone without building public support. But for too long, race has been a polarizing issue in America. CSI tests strategies for creating more productive public discussion on issues relating to race. Click here to learn more.
Programmatic focus includes:
Energy Democracy: CSI is building off its recent report, Energy Democracy: Supporting Community Innovation by lifting up stories of community efforts for a renewable future and advocating for policy solutions, such as community-based Energy Improvement Districts.
Transportation Equity: CSI is working with grassroots groups in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana and through national networks to generate policy strategies that will lead to investment in innovative transit options in communities of color.
Broadband Equity: CSI is working with local, state and federal leaders to develop strategies for advancing innovative broadband models like community-owned and community-driven broadband networks.
Food Equity: CSI is working with food justice leaders and grassroots groups to generate policy strategies and solutions that will create a more equitable food system, from seed to community.
Undergirding and cutting across all CSI program areas is an emphasis on:
Transparency & Accountability: In 20 short years, people of color will constitute the majority of young Americans, and in 30 years they will be the majority of all Americans. For a thriving 21st century economy and democracy we must invest in this New Majority. With this in mind, CSI works with grassroots and national leaders to catalyze policies and practices that build transparency, accountability and participation for all to see and know how public dollars are being invested, understand the impacts of these choices and drive good decision making.
Talking About Race: For more than a quarter century, right-wing rhetoric has dominated debates about how we create a fair and prosperous society for everyone – undermining efforts to create a more inclusive society, and tearing apart the social safety net in the process. CSI engages in empirical testing of and trainings on how to create constructive conversations about race and ethnicity.
Bringing Community Organizers to the Policy Table: CSI’s Leadership Initiative includes fellowships and trainings for veteran organizers of color to develop policy ideas and strategies that address the needs of marginalized communities to dismantle structural racial inequity.