From the inception of our country, government at the local, regional, state, and federal level has played a task in creating and maintaining racial inequity. A large range of laws and policies were passed, including everything from who could vote, who may well be a citizen, who could own property, where one could live where, and more. With the Civil Rights Movement, laws and policies were passed that helped to form positive changes, including coping with explicit acts of discrimination. However, despite progress in addressing explicit discrimination, racial inequities still are deep, pervasive, and protracted across the country. Racial inequities exist across all indicators for the fulfillment, including in education, criminal justice, jobs, housing, public infrastructure, and health, no matter region.
Consider how schools are funded and therefore the relationship of racial and economic segregation in housing. Clearly, we’ve not achieved a “post-racial” society, and although there’s a robust relationship between race and sophistication, simply talking about class isn’t enough.
The local and regional government has the flexibility to implement volte-face at multiple levels and across multiple sectors to drive larger systemic change. for instance, many local jurisdictions have worked to cut back recidivism and racial inequity by implementing “ban the box” legislation to be used of criminal background checks engaged decisions. This has led to the adoption of this policy by the state of Minnesota, and as a result, a significant corporation, Target, changed its policy not only at the state level but nationally.
It is important to notice that to attain long-term impact, changes must be sustainable. Working for racial equity at the local and regional levels can yield meaningful education with the community and other institutions that may ensure sustainability.