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news & no t es

June 2009
advancing racial justice through research, advocacy and journalism

publisher of
The national newsmagazine on race and politics

Economic Recovery, 100 Percent Awards and Accolades

Guaranteed: A Letter from the President ARC programs and staff continue to be rec-
and Executive Director, Rinku Sen ognized for influential and impactful racial justice
work. Applied Research Center President Rinku
In his recent press Sen has recently been selected as a “Prime Mover”
conference President by the Hunt Alternatives Fund. This multi-year
Obama was asked how the fellowship supports the professional development
stimulus would affect Black of social justice leaders across the nation.
homeowners who had suffered
so much from the mortgage The Accidental American (by Rinku Sen with
crisis. His response—these Fekkak Mamdouh) has recently been featured
communities had been dis- by the New York City-based Progressive Book Club,
proportionately hit and would which focuses on raising awareness of breakthrough
receive a disproportionate progressive causes.
amount of relief—was better The book reshapes
than it could have been, yet the current discourse
on U.S. immigration
not what it should have been.
issues, and has won
On the plus side, the President acknowledged that there
numerous recognitions
was a special case here. But he also gave the impression including ForeWord
that sending temporary relief to Black families would bring Magazine’s Book of
about their recovery. He didn’t mention the need to prevent the Year (finalist), the
the targeting of communities of color in the first place. Nor Independent Book
what made Black families so vulnerable to exploitation. Nor Publishers Award
the real length of time it will take to rebuild their lost wealth. (bronze medalist) and
In a deeply racialized housing industry, this “rising tide” the Nautilus Book
approach is too general to drive a fully inclusive recovery, a Award (silver medalist).
point we make in our new report on Race and Recession.

If you haven’t already,

Every day, I confront the societal inertia that prevents us
buy a copy at Amazon.com.
from getting to the targeted changes we need to guarantee
economic recovery for 100 percent of U.S. residents. In
business, government or media, we’ve found endless ways
to replace a straightforward race analysis with proxies and Tre n d

euphemisms (disadvantaged communities, low-income fami- ARC is happy

lies, vulnerable populations). As a result, we’ve replaced the to report that a
ColorLines story
vision of racial justice with some vague nautical image, and
by Almah LaVon
we never have to deal directly with race and how it shapes
Rice won a
our economy. Addressing diversity is the best the country National Ethnic
has been able to do. Gia-Bao Tran

Media Award.
the rIse of
In PercIval everett’s novel Erasure, Theloni-
ous Ellison is a college professor who writes novels “The Rise of
I’m not opposed to equal representation. It’s pretty hard street
that are more praised than read. His work’s engage-

Street Literature”
ment with French post-structuralists and ancient
Greek literature impresses and baffles reviewers,
who wonder what those subjects have to do with

the African-American experience. Frustrated by his

to get to justice without it. But right now, we have the won best story in
latest novel’s seventh rejection and angered by the
success of the street-lit hit We’s Lives in Da Ghetto,
Ellison dashes off a novella parodying the “true, gritty
The literary genre about “gangsta life” real stories of [B]lack life” that he has been advised
spawned a younger Black readership, but is to write. This satiric tale, which is included in Erasure

collective brains, money and charismatic political leader- the Arts, Sports
this literacy by any means necessary? in its entirety, is peopled with stock characters like
the perennially scowling thug and the vapid baby
By Almah LaVon Rice mama. It is sent to Random House as a protest, but
to Ellison’s amazement and chagrin he is offered a

& Entertainment
$600,000 advance for his “magnificently raw and

ship to go far beyond representation to actual change.

honest” account. Compromised, disgusted and rich,
Ellison creates a reclusive, ex-con writer persona that
the literary world celebrates as a “real! live! scary!

Black male!” writer in their midst.

May–June 2008 Colorlines 43

[Continued on page 2]

Applied Research Center 900 Alice Street, Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94607 PH: 510-653-3415 FAX: 510-986-1062 www.arc.org
Compact Forum Series:
100 Days of Racial Justice
ARc’s compact for racial justice, released ten days after the historical
election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, is a series of policy
essays that offer concrete strategies for moving a proactive racial justice agenda.
In the months that followed, a flurry of state and federal policy proposals were
introduced that will have major implications for communities of color. As a
response, from February through April, ARC moved a national discussion about
race and the economy, jobs, health care, immigration and civil rights through
the Compact Forum Series. In the first 100 days of the Obama Administration,
ARC also assessed the policy highs and lows, from the inclusion of immigrant
children in the passage of SCHIP to the U.S. second boycott of Durban II.

Over 1300 participants joined the Compact Forum conference calls, which
featured twenty speakers from across the nation. Compact Forum calls were
featured in blogs like Racialicious.com, Gristmill.org and the Huffington Post.
Over 2,200 individuals downloaded the Compact, the accompanying Toolkit
and the 100 Day Assessment of the Obama Administration. Those who read the
Compact, participated in the calls, and viewed the videos sent us their thoughts:

• “Love your questions on the call. You go! Thanks for driving the dialogue and not skirting around the issues.”
• “ Nice job on the call yesterday. I also LOVED your video on the naysayers and cheerleaders and put it on my
facebook page where it got a lot of love.”
• “What a cool video—I loved it so much I forwarded it on to some of my colleagues and friends.”

If you have not done so already, please download, read

and endorse the preamble yourself. ARC will continue DONATE
to produce materials to help you assess policy debates, As ARC’s recent Race and Recession report shows, the economic crisis
and we plan to host additional calls and post new tools has impacted people of color disproportionately, and it is now more
as needed. Watch our arc.org/compact page for updates urgent than ever that we demand equity. Help ARC to continue to re-
and new information. search, report and support the movement by contributing as much as
you can. Go to arc.org/donate today, or return the enclosed envelope
to show your commitment to racial justice.
[Economic Recovery, continued from page 1]

To do that, we have to be willing to be consistent with We’re grateful for their courage and transparency, and
our language, rigorous with our analysis and bold in our we think many people from all sectors of society will find
vision. We have to educate everyone around us about what insights in their experience, which is revealed in a new
really constitutes racial progress and why diversity isn’t report called Catalytic Change.
enough. Years of experience have taught us that unless we
set explicit guidelines for achieving equity, the allocation Six months in, it’s still amazing to me that a man of color is
of resources is inevitably unbalanced. It will take all our giving Presidential news conferences. This scene, however,
resolve to ensure that we spend our money, energy and is no replacement for my true desire, to see an end to racial
political power in ways that deliberately combat and disparities that keep us divided, no matter how capable we
prevent institutionalized discrimination. are of getting along. In the coming period, both federal
programs and private grants need to work together to
Two ARC allies have made the decision to move in that dismantle the structures of institutional inequity—that will
direction, and we can all learn from their process. The be money well spent.
Consumer Health Foundation (Washington DC) and the
Barr Foundation (Boston) participated in the Racial
Justice Philanthropic Assessment that we conducted
with the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. As the
Assessment moved ahead, both foundations were struck Rinku Sen
by the many options that an explicit analysis opened up President and Executive Director, Applied Research Center
for them, options they’re now pursuing with real vigor. Publisher, ColorLines Magazine

2 Applied Research Center

Check out our blog at RaceWire.org

arc updates April 2009

The Research Department recently re- ARC releases coming soon:

leased its childcare report, Underprotected, Underprotected, 
Undersupported: Low-income Children at UndersUpported: ARC is currently developing a Racial Equity
Risk. The childcare report home page Low-Income children at risk Toolkit for the Green Economy to inject ARC’s
arc.org/childcare has a summary video, core values into the quest for green jobs,
including information on how double stan- good jobs that will truly provide long-term
dards in childcare endanger the health benefits and substantive change to com-
and safety of low-income children at facil- dominique Apollon, ph.d. munities of color. The toolkit will be released
ities exempted from licensing. Executive Victor corral
shannah Kurland
in phases starting in July with an equity
summary, full report and more information framework, followed by honest case studies
can be found at arc.org/childcare. The Applied ReseARch cenTeR childcARe RepoRT
of green jobs creation and training programs,
and an online model policy bank. This proj-
ect is possible thanks to the support of the
Surdna and Mitchell Kapor Foundations.
1 • Applied Research Center • Race and Recession 2009

Also released was our six-month study on

Raceand the racial dynamics of the current national
Recession economic crisis, Race and Recession: How
Inequity Rigged the Economy and How to
ARC also has a significant role in the
California Endowment’s project to change
How inequity Rigged the economy and
How to change the Rules.
Change the Rules. The Race and Recession policies affecting boys and men of color.
home page arc.org/recession has key graph- ARC will analyze existing media framing of
ics from the report and a powerful video of the challenges these populations face in a
the report’s message. The video decries the host of key issue areas including education,
long-term inequities that fed economic crisis health, crime/violence and unemployment.
and outlines structural solutions. Executive After determining which current frames cre-
MAy 2009 summary, full report and more information ate opportunities for new policies and which
Applied ReseARch centeR
can be found at arc.org/recession. are detrimental, ARC will develop and test
ways to re-frame coverage of these debates.

ARC’s website overhaul is done! The new arc.org site features an The “Reaching Across Borders” series will
attractive homepage, clear focus on current stories and activities you can include an international field investigation
get involved in, neatly organized content areas so you can find resources illuminating the devastating intersection
more easily and many other upgrades. This is just the start of a series of of criminal justice, immigration and wel-
planned improvements. Send your suggestions to webstaff@arc.org. fare policies that tear apart thousands of
families every year. The compound effects
of these laws have institutionalized the pun-
The “My Great Recession” blog ishment of families and the abandonment
series at RaceWire.org/reces- of children. In partnership with grassroots
sion calls on all young people of organizations—including Families for
color who are writers, artists and Freedom—ARC will explore the ways that
bloggers to blog on their stories: these three institutions collide and will
Where you at? How are you cop- then produce a policy platform highlighting
ing with the recession? opportunities to make change at local, state
and federal levels. Look for our in-depth
coverage of this issue in ColorLines maga-
zine, RaceWire.org blogs from the field and
in ColorLines.com features and videos.

This report is possible because of a generous

contribution from the University of Southern
The May/June ColorLines California Annenberg’s Institute for Justice
is out (ColorLines.com) and Journalism, as well as donations from
featuring a cover story ColorLines readers and supporters.
on homeless families
fighting to stay together.
Applied Research Center 3
The next Facing Race Conference, ARC’s
biennial gathering of activists, thinkers,
educators, writers and artists from across
the country, will take place in Chicago on
September 23-25, 2010. Check our website
for further details on the conference as they
become available.

save the date

DATE: September 23-25, 2010

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