People & Places 2019: Exploring Local Solutions to Advance Community Prosperity & Racial Equity

By Alexis Stephens

PolicyLink is proud to be a co-host of this year's People & Places, happening April 15-17 in Arlington, Virginia. During the convening, more than 100 speakers will be sharing successful strategies that promote equitable development, bolster small businesses, encourage asset growth, remediate blight, make places healthier, weave the arts into community development, and more. As an event co-host, we are highlighting how community development organizations are integrating arts and culture to help them better achieve their goals and how cities are embracing equity as a core operating principle. If you have yet to register or make plans to go to the conference, advance registration ends April 9. If you are already planning on attending, here are the sessions you hope to join us for:

Claiming the Torch: Community Organizations Advancing Racial Equity
Monday April 15, 8:30am-11:30am

"Claiming the Torch" was one of the themes of Equity Summit 2018; to us it means advocates working together to make equity priorities the driving force for our cultural institutions, governments, and communities. Engage in an interactive workshop facilitated by PolicyLink to learn from leaders of community-based organizations who found ways to disrupt mainstream organizational and community development processes to advance racial equity. This workshop will feature new research from PolicyLink on innovative ways to achieve more equitable outcomes such as non-traditional partnerships, organizational shifts, and arts and cultural strategies. Join PolicyLink Senior Fellow Jeremy Liu; Program Associate Lorrie Chang; Chelsea Alger, formerly of Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership; Mallory Nezam, Justice + Joy; Carolyn Johnson, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation; Mallory Nezam, Justice + Joy; Adela Park, Fairmount Park Conservancy; and Michaela Pommells, The Village of Arts and Humanities.

What Does the Future of Banking Hold for Communities of Color?
Monday April 15, 4:15pm-5:45pm

Lessons from the Great Recession and digital innovations have changed the financial services landscape dramatically over the past decade, leading to an experience that is safer and more seamless for consumers. Unfortunately, accessing the right financial tools is still not easy or affordable for low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities, especially those of color. What does the future of banking hold for LMI communities? How can we boost their economic potential? And what strategies can we employ today to address their financial challenges and opportunities? Join PolicyLink Director Christopher M. Brown in conversation with John Chin, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation; Christina Corea, Citi Community Development; Emanuel Nieves, Prosperity Now; and Marisabel Torres, UnidosUS.

The Promise and Peril of Opportunity Zones
Tuesday April 16, 10:30am-12:00pm

What can equity groups do to shore up the positive potential of Opportunity Zones to benefit long- term residents and businesses while guarding against the biggest threats of gentrification and displacement? In this session, a panel of national and local experts will discuss new research on the use of financial services within LMI communities and what the public sector, financial institutions and on-the-ground groups can do to ensure that financial services are better serving these communities. Join PolicyLink Director Christopher M. Brown in conversation with Robert Bachmann, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.; and Christopher Coes, Smart Growth America.

Reimagining Community Engagement and Organizing for Impact
Wednesday April 17, 9:00am-10:30am

Innovative community engagement and organizing techniques draw on creative expression to help communities envision what they want for their future and advocate for that vision. Incorporating artistic practices into community organizing is complex, requiring collaboration with artists. This session is designed for community developers who want to use artistic practices to deepen their community engagement and organizing process. Participants will learn how to conceive, structure, and implement relationships with artists to support community engagement and organizing goals. Join PolicyLink Senior Fellow for Arts, Culture and Equitable Development Jeremy Liu for a participatory learning session and conversation with Kier Johnston, Amber Art & Design; Scott Oshima, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center; and Ashley Hanson, PlaceBase Productions.

Strengthening Social and Cultural Fabric as an Innovative Practice for Community Development
Wednesday April 17, 11:00am-12:30pm

The process of change within American cities and towns has not always been supportive or protective of vulnerable communities. The approaches described in this session position social and cultural fabric as the foundation for community development, deepening the root of empowerment while fulfilling critical needs. The session will explore cross-sector partnerships that have developed innovative practices for celebrating and preserving cultural identity as an effective way to advance self-determination and community development. Join PolicyLink Program Associate Lorrie Chang in conversation with Joseph Claunch, Zuni Youth Enrichment Project; Karoleen Feng, Mission Economic Development Agency, and Chelsea Alger, formerly of Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership.

Community Powered Strategies to Fight Displacement: Lessons from the All-In Cities Anti-Displacement Policy Network
Wednesday April 17, 11:00am-12:30pm

In recent years, many cities are experiencing a surge in investments and economic activity. However, too many low-income people, especially people of color, who lived in cities through their long decline face displacement as rents rise and wages stagnate. Such displacement pressures destabilize families, neighborhoods, and entire cities. This session will highlight policies and strategies that local leaders and equity advocates from the All-In Cities Anti-Displacement Policy Network are using to fight displacement and promote equitable development in their communities. Join PolicyLink Associate Director Tracey Ross in conversation with Harper Bishop, PUSH Buffalo; Pamela Phan, Community Alliance of Tenants; Mercedeh Mortazavi, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Foundation; and Nefertitti Jackmon, District Six Square: Austin's Black Cultural District.