Can Development Be Anti-Racist? This Report Shows Us How

Sponsored: The Anti-Racist Community Development research project has documented ways that structural racism still shows up in community development — plus, the many ways people are working to make it anti-racist.

New research is helping envision a future when community development not only acknowledges and rectifies past harm but also actively uses the many tools at its disposal to promote anti-racism.

The Anti-Racist Community Development research project has documented the range of ways that structural racism shows up in community development and the many ways that people are trying to move anti-racist work forward in the sector.  Before assembling their findings, a team from ThirdSpace Action Lab interviewed 86 different stakeholders from a broad cross-sector of community development and reviewed 85 different pieces of literature.

In this episode of the podcast, Next City Executive Director Lucas Grindley talks with researchers from ThirdSpace Action Lab about the real history of the field and what prevents it from achieving its full potential.

Dominique Miller, director of consulting strategy at ThirdSpace Action Lab,  said the research has helped her imagine a future when “the solutions to the challenges are coming from the people that are experiencing the problem.” 

But it isn’t easy to look into the future, says Seth Beattie, senior director of strategic initiatives at ThirdSpace.

“Something that we saw across the research — that this can be difficult,” said Beattie. “People have difficulty, myself included, in imagining what a world with anti-racist community development looks like because we haven't seen it.” But he adds, “We heard over and over again that this can be a space for humanity. This can be a space for joy.”

The Anti-Racist Community Development research project was developed with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. To learn more about strategies for advancing practical, concrete change in the sector, visit The People's Practice and listen to this sponsored episode below or subscribe to Next City’s podcast on Apple, Spotify, or Goodpods.

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