Project Aims to Advance Racial Equity in Public Policy

Published on December 1, 2015 | Written by

In November 2014, Youthprise began a partnership with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs to build capacity around our public policy efforts, with the goal of making racial equity a focal point of all our policy work. To help realize this vision, Karen Kingsley, Director of Public Policy and Communications, hired a research assistant from the Humphrey School for an academic year. In partnership with YWCA Minneapolis, which served as an advisor on the project, the team worked to complete the project.

A report completed by research assistant Britt Heinz-Amborn documents that process and is her contribution to the racial equity work that Youthprise will continue to develop. The report offers definitions, explains the policy problem and includes a brief review of racial equity initiatives across the U.S. It explains implications for the work at Youthprise, the field of expanded learning/out-of-school time, and for the work of racial equity across Minnesota.

Disparities based on race exist for young people in Minnesota; they include unequal access to opportunities like employment and healthcare, differing treatment in the classroom and on the sidewalk, and lopsided rates of juvenile detention and incarceration. In all walks of life, young people of color face obstacles based on race that their white counterparts do not. Additionally, intersecting identities like gender, citizenship, sexual orientation, class and ability shape the experiences of youth of color in overlapping ways. Forces behind structural racism and implicit bias allow these racial disparities to endure and adapt over time.

As we worked to develop a racial equity policy lens, a few organizations influenced our thinking: Greenlining Institute and Race Forward. They explain that advancing racial equity must be intentional. Both had developed a set of questions to examine the policy process through a racial equity lens. Youthprise has adapted a racial equity assessment tool as a product of this project. This tool can guide a decision-making process, analyze an existing policy, and elicit meaningful understanding of how race, culture and class have been considered (or not). We encourage our partners to utilize this tool as we all work to advance racial equity so we can realize a world where all Minnesota youth thrive.

Categorized in: