When members of the Community Alliance for Racial Equity (CARE) describe the systems changes needed to advance racial equity solutions in Monterey County, they point to the need for inclusive spaces where city and county staff and officials collaborate with resident leaders and community representatives to identify the root causes of the problems residents face, develop solutions, and enact plans for implementation. Systems change efforts are focused on ensuring that local public systems and institutions work for communities that have been persistently neglected and excluded, and therefore experience the worst life indicators.
Considering the challenges Monterey County faces in terms of housing insecurity, access to clean drinking water, uninsured workers, inequitable incarceration rates, educational achievement gaps, persistent low wages and racialized poverty, it is clear that collaboration across multiple sectors (community, government, philanthropy, and the private sector) is needed to understand the problems, to think comprehensively about lasting racially equitable solutions, and to have the resources and capacity to implement those solutions. These partnerships must be anchored by clear community accountability measures that track progress towards shared racial equity goals, while repairing the harm caused by generations of exploitation and exclusion. CARE is therefore building an ecosystem approach to change, one that centers healing-informed racial equity practice.
Rosa González of Facilitating Power co-authored this report with Race Forward and Building Health Communities East Salinas. She conducted focus groups with resident leaders, community-based organizations who formed the Community Alliance for Racial Equity, and champions for racial equity within the City of Salinas, and the County of Monterey.
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