Amplify the Voices of Those Advancing Inclusive Cities – Next City

Amplify the Voices of Those Advancing Inclusive Cities

When I was a graduate school student, a professor shared with the class that, as future urban planners, we were both blessed and cursed because we live in the outcomes of our professional decisions. As urbanists, we live in a feedback loop where the personal and professional shape one another. The results, my professor said, would affect the built environment and urban systems in the immediate and for generations to come.

I looked around the room at my fellow classmates, initially buoyed by knowing I was among those to shape the future of cities. But quickly I realized that as the lone black student in my program — in a field where many other classrooms had only one, if any, black students — that I would need to find ways to amplify my intentions.

I would have to amplify my intentions to deafening levels if I wanted to improve my hometown of Richmond, California, and my parents’ hometowns of Gary, Indiana, and Watts, California; these communities were hurt by underinvestment, lack of representation and environmental injustice.

In 2014, I had the honor to be selected as a Next City Vanguard. I joined a cohort of young urbanists, including many people of color, all carrying bullhorns. There were organizers fighting the decline of black southern towns through urban design, bankers investing in food access strategies, entrepreneurs whose organizations advanced holistic community change, and artists empowering disenfranchised youth through beautification projects. Next City gave us a national platform to amplify a collective call for social justice and inclusive cities. Adding its bullhorn to ours is what Next City does every day and what makes its journalism so special and impactful.

Now, as board chair for Next City, the board and I work to ensure that the organization has enough resources to bring together and amplify the voices of those who advance inclusive cities. Today, we are in a position to do something about that. But I could use your help.

Together with the Emma Bowen Foundation, Next City is able to offer a paid summer internship for a journalist of color. We only need $7,000 by April 30 to make this program a success. Your donation today will go directly toward paying our intern’s stipend and managing the program.

This will be the third urban affairs internship Next City has been able to offer thanks to our donors and the Emma Bowen Foundation. Check out the work of our first two urban affairs interns, Cassandra Maddox and Brianna Williams.

If Next City meets our spring membership stretch goal of $10,000, its journalists will be able to do even more, including publishing a special issue ebook and booklet devoted to reporting on solutions for greater representation in every sector. If you contribute now, Next City will mail a printed edition of the booklet to you and inside you will be thanked by name.

When you support the urban affairs internship, you may choose from a number of great new thank-you gifts, including “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do,” by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt. Watch for Next City to publish an excerpt from that book in the coming days. Also, any donations made toward registering for the live stream of Spaces and Places 2019 will count toward our goal.

Who the media covers is pivotal, and our media should look like our cities. Since its founding more than 15 years ago, Next City’s programs and journalism have shown that representation in media plays an important role in shaping cities that are truly inclusive and equitable. Will you donate today?

Eric Shaw
Next City Board Chair

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