Principles for a Common-Sense, Street-Smart Recovery (Complete Set)


From Hurricane Katrina to the 2008 financial collapse, we have seen how recovery efforts that do not deliberately solve for issues facing low-income communities and communities of color only serve to reinforce existing disparities. As we navigate our way through the COVID-19 crisis, we need a Common-sense, Street-smart Recovery to build an inclusive economy and equitable nation that works for all. To realize the promise of equity, leaders must be dedicated to the complete set of principles - listed below - and outlined in this document.

Center Racial Equity


As the current public health and economic crisis continues to impact people around the world, we now know that across the United States, people of color are bearing the brunt of the effects of COVID-19.  Ensuring all people live in a society where they can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential requires recognizing that the path to getting there is different for different groups. Intentional investments in the 100 million economically insecure people in the United States, particularly for those who are people of color, will have benefits that cascade out, improving the lives of all struggling people as well as regional economies and the nation as a whole. We cannot simply tinker around the edges of systems that were never intended to serve all people. In order to center racial equity, policymakers must: 

  • Collect and use disaggregated data.
  • Plan for the most vulnerable.
  • Implement race-conscious approaches to counter persistent racial inequities.

Put People First


During the last recession, corporations received massive bailouts while continuing with risky practices that undermined the strength of the economy, making us unprepared for the current shock from COVID019. Congress has started down this path once again, creating a half trillion-dollar fund to bail out corporations while millions of people are out of work. 

While initial legislative survival packages included modest stimulus checks and unemployment benefits to individuals, economists and struggling people alike have pointed out the immediate need to get more cash into people’s hands to stave off the crisis. Unless we put people first, the relief and recovery packages coming from Congress will only further concentrate wealth at the top and deepen inequities. In order to put people first, policymakers must: 

  • Support essential frontline workers.
  • Guarantee incomes.
  • Freeze costs and protect people from losses.
  • Prioritize people over corporations.

Invest in Community Infrastructure


For an equitable and lasting recovery from the coronavirus crisis, we must rebuild our physical infrastructure—food systems, water, housing, transit, and roads—as well as our social infrastructure—the trusted network of nonprofit, cultural, philanthropic, and local institutions that help our communities function. Both types of community-building infrastructure will play a critical role in helping communities recover and thrive. Resourcing this infrastructure sufficiently is critical, and investments must be made with an equity lens, prioritizing programs and policies that focus on those most impacted by COVID-19.

Now is the time to ensure that all people—regardless of race, income, or zip code—live in healthy communities of opportunity. This requires the following policy and investment actions: 

  • Fortify community-based organizations. 
  • Provide financial support for state and local governments.
  • Invest in physical infrastructure in high-need communities.

Build an Equitable Economy


In addition to exposing our extreme inequality, the pandemic has also revealed our interconnectedness: we are only as safe as the least protected among us. In a diversifying country, dismantling structural racism and ensuring economic security for all is the right thing to do and the necessary thing to do.

We need sustained and race-conscious policies and investments to stabilize people during the crisis and bridge to a more equitable future. To build an equitable economy, policymakers must: 

  • Ensure economic security during the crisis.
  • Use stimulus funds to build the next economy.
  • Forge a new social contract that enables shared prosperity.