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People often ask me, “What do you really do?” After all, “transforming structural exclusion” is a mouthful and hard to digest. Basically, at CSI we make deep and lasting fairness for communities of color easier to achieve. We create, and help others create, policy and communications strategies and we build relationships that can transform the racially inequitable world we live in into the cohesive, diverse and prosperous one most Americans want.
Without public dollars, opportunity is limited. We work with others to look hard at federal
investments in transit, high speed internet access, renewable energy and community planning that communities of color need. And we advocate for fairer policies and models that include communities of color in transportation and broadband access, as well as the renewable energy economy.
More than ever, we have to work together across race and ethnicity if we want to make transformative ideas happen. CSI supports community leaders of color to develop ideas, strategies and relationships for implementation of health care reform, equitable rebuilding of the Gulf Coast South and other issues. We also support individual leaders through sabbatical and senior fellowships to sustain and advance their work and create space for their developing ideas and strategies.
Of course, we have to talk about race and ethnicity in a way that gets us working together, without shying away from what feels hard and scary. At CSI we have been deepening our understanding of how to talk about race and policy effectively and sharing lessons and tools with the field.
After almost nine good years as a project of the Tides Center, we are becoming an independent non-profit organization. Independence represents several things. What won’t change is our important work to identify policy ideas and partnerships that can solve our problems by confronting racial and ethnic exclusion, to support leaders in communities, and to figure out how to talk about race and ethnicity well and effectively.
We are grateful for our past nine years as a Tides Center project and rejoice in our future as an independent Center for Social Inclusion.