The Promise of Equity

Today, 100 million people — one in three of us —are experiencing chronic financial insecurity, locked out of the potential of economic prosperity due to decades of persistent racial and economic inequality. The election results, whatever they may be, will not immediately change this fact. These 100 million lives do not follow the dictates of a political season; many, stripped of the right to vote, are unable to cast a ballot. After all the votes have been counted, they will continue to face the same economic failures and barriers to opportunity that have long plagued our country. We must commit to working in radically different ways to finally realize the promise of equity.

This year's historic groundswell of activism has shown the world that the people will continue to demand a more just and equitable society, regardless of who is in the White House. Elections are one opportunity for change, but our demands must extend beyond elections. We can no longer afford to tinker around the edges of systems that were never intended to serve all people. 

While it is necessary to address immediate human needs, we must also change the systems that perpetuate such needs. This is our nation and it must work for us. The critical work of our generation is to reshape our democracy and economy to be just and fair, which requires remaking our institutions to serve a multiracial democracy. The key to a government that works for all is centering the needs of Black and Indigenous communities to design and advance solutions to our nation’s greatest challenges. 

To be sure, this won’t be easy. This country was founded on stolen land and human bondage, and buttressed with discriminatory policies, practices, and structures. But this is the work. We are asking our leaders to do something that has never been done before: make this country live up to its highest ideals by centering the people who have been most impacted by those discriminatory practices. And we don’t have many more chances to do this. 
Over the past several years, the public has made two things clear:

  • From rural areas to our biggest cities, all people want what equity leaders have long insisted all people need: an equitable economy, healthy communities of opportunity, and a system that follows fair, transparent rules.
  • To ignore the plight of the most vulnerable in society is to do so at the nation’s peril.. The barriers that have long harmed people of color — social and economic exclusion, community disinvestment, and government neglect — have been allowed to fester and are hurting more people than ever before.

We must be bold and courageous to remake the very nature of our government, to do the thing it has never done: become antiracist. Our government must center Black and Indigenous people in policy and practice, stop enacting harmful policies, and instead create conditions that allow us to participate, prosper, and reach our full potential. We must work to create a government that realizes the aspiration of “by the people, for the people.” To do this, we, the people, must hold our electeds accountable. The next few months are likely to be filled with increasing challenges to our work and movements. But this is a multiyear journey. We must use our best thinking and creativity, set far-reaching goals, and build unlikely alliances to push those ideas forward. This is how we win.

We look forward to being in partnership with you as we continue to change the realities of the 100 million. 

In solidarity, 

Michael McAfee
President and CEO

Resources to Build an Equitable Nation