Upon assuming the presidency of the U.S. Conference of Mayors on July 1, 2020, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer launched “An American Breakthrough,” an aggressive program for the year ahead that charged working groups of mayors to provide new perspectives on realizing the potential of America and meeting the most formidable challenges facing the nation today; among these: police reform and racial justice, COVID-19 response and health equity, economic recovery, elimination of poverty, and dismantling systemic racism, a challenge affecting all other efforts undertaken.
The mayors’ working group on systemic racism, co-chaired by Mayors Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, Hardie Davis, Jr. of Augusta, and Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento, is focused on reform of historic and current public policies that maintain white supremacy. The group’s mission is to provide recommendations for use by the Conference, member mayors, and federal and private sector partners in addressing racial disparities and ensuring more equitable outcomes – politically, socially, and economically – for people of color.
The initial product of the working group was a detailed statement on the impact of systemic racism on communities of color to date in 2020. This statement is incorporated in the Conference’s August 2020 platform of priorities for a safe, sustainable and equitable future: “The Mayors’ 2020 Vision: An American Breakthrough.”
In a 2019 brief, one in an eight-part series aimed at advancing promising solutions to the problems of the next half-century, the Urban Institute focuses on racial equity and expanded access to opportunity for people of color. Citing the nation’s history of systemic racism and drawing on interviews with thought leaders and changemakers from across the domains of wealth-building, public education, employment, and justice policy, the detailed brief examines solutions aimed at closing the wealth gap, providing quality public schools in all communities, closing gaps in employment and earnings, and ending punitive policing. It identifies evidence gaps regarding the potential of competing approaches and highlights promising opportunities to accelerate efforts to eliminate the policies, programs, and institutional practices that impede racial equity.