John T. Dunlop Lecture: Angela Glover Blackwell

John T. Dunlop Lecture: Angela Glover Blackwell


Good evening. I’m Diane Davis, the
Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and
Design here at the GSD. And I’m honored
to welcome you all to this wonderful event, the
annual John T Dunlop Lecture. This is a very special event
for us here at the GSD, but most particularly
for my department, Urban Planning and Design– not
just because of the importance of the issue of housing, and in
particular affordable housing, to many of the faculty and
students in our department, but also because tonight’s event
has been organized and planned in collaboration with the Joint
Center for Housing Studies. This relationship between the
Joint Center and Urban Planning and Design is absolutely
critical to the mission of our department. And with the intellectual and
financial support, as well as the sponsorship, of the Joint
Center’s faculty and research staff, we’ve been making
great strides collectively, I think, in advancing our
understanding of the challenges associated with
providing housing in the context of just,
equitable, and sustainable cities. For precisely that
reason, I’m really thrilled that tonight’s keynote
speaker is Angela Glover Blackwell. But I’m not going
to introduce Angela. My job here is to introduce
Chris Herbert, the Managing Director of the Joint Center and
a lecturer in our department. Chris is a very generous
and inspiring colleague and leader of the center. He’s also a first-rate scholar. And we are fortunate to have
the center in his hands, relatively newly– since 2015. Doctor Chris Herbert has
an extensive experience conducting research
related to housing policy and urban development,
both in the US and abroad. And we’ve shared some
interesting discussions about Mexico– a
country that I’m working on– looking
at affordable housing with some support
from the center. A key focus of
Chris’ research has been on the financial and
demographic dimensions of home ownership, and the
implications for home ownership policy of the recession, housing
bust, and foreclosure crisis. Chris is also an editor
of several volumes that focus on housing. But I’m not going to
spend too much time talking about Chris’s
great contributions, because there’s somebody else
waiting in line that we really want to hear a
little more about. So without further ado,
I’ll turn it over to Chris to introduce the
rest of our speakers. [applause] Thank you, Diane. This is a named
lecture, and so it comes with a certain amount
of pomp and circumstance. So I appreciate the
series of introductions that we’re going through. I do want to thank Diane. The Joint Center works
very closely, as she said, with the Department of
Urban Planning and Design. And so we were very
pleased this past year when Dean Mostafavi appointed
Diane Chair of the Department. As a member of the
department, Diane had been a valued colleague
and a strong supporter of the center. And now in her new role, I’m
very much looking forward to the joint pursuit
of our missions to advance education and
research on urban issues. And we’re also looking
forward to engaging the university and the broader
community in important policy discussions, such as the
event we’re here for tonight. So I’m very pleased
that Diane was the one who got to introduce
us and welcome us to the GSD. On behalf of the
Joint Center, it is my privilege to welcome
our distinguished faculty, students, and the
broader community to the 16th John
T. Dunlop Lecture. Among the benefits of
this annual lecture is that it provides us with an
opportunity to recall and pay tribute to Professor Dunlop
for his many important contributions to the world of
academia, policy, and industry. John was a remarkable
man, marked by tremendous intellect,
strategic vision, and unflagging energy. He applied his skills in a
long, distinguished career as an academic, a dean, a
mediator, a labor secretary, and advisors to presidents
over the span of many decades. And among his many
accomplishments, Professor Dunlop was
also instrumental in helping to support the
Joint Center through the years, as he recognized the
importance of a Harvard Center that focuses on the
centrality of housing– not just in the lives of
families and individuals, but also to the
building of community, and as a vital engine
of our economy. And among the many
ways that John helped to support the center,
perhaps the most notable was that he was instrumental
in establishing our Policy Advisory Board, which includes
senior executives from leading firms from across
the housing industry. And in that regard,
I’d like to spend a special welcome to
our current Policy Advisory Board members, who
are meeting here in Cambridge today and tomorrow. It’s a pleasure to bring the
Policy Advisory Board over here to the GSD after having
spent the afternoon meeting at the Kennedy School. And I want to take
this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and
thank the Policy Advisory Board for their
support of the Center and for the mission of
promoting housing research and education here at Harvard. [applause] The timing of the Dunlop
lecture to coincide with this annual Cambridge
meeting of our advisory board is no accident, as
it also pays tribute to Professor Dunlop’s
goal of bringing together the worlds of academia,
policy, and industry to engage in a dialogue, to seek
solutions to the nation’s most pressing housing challenges. So we are pleased to see
so many people here tonight from the University and
the broader community. And Professor Dunlop’s
lasting impact on the world outside
the walls of academia is also reflected in the
sponsorship of this lecture by the National
Housing Endowment. The National Housing
Endowment has been sponsoring this lecture
since its inception in 1999. We’re very proud and grateful to
the National Housing Endowment for this 16-year partnership. So in that regard,
I have the privilege of introducing to you
now Brian Pastore, who is the chairman of the
National Housing Endowment. He would like to say a few
words on behalf of NHE. [applause] Good evening, and welcome. My name is Roger Pastore,
Chairman of the National Housing Endowment. And I’m honored to be here this
evening amongst the housing professionals and guests as we
celebrate the 16th annual John T. Dunlop Lecture. I’ve already made comments
earlier in the day, and had the privilege of
meeting Angela Glover Blackwell just before we came up here. And I’m looking
forward to your remarks this evening, as we all are. This series has
welcomed a veritable who’s-who of the
housing industry. And once again, we are
privileged to partner with Harvard University
and Joint Center for Housing Studies
for this event. As Chris said, John Dunlop
was a friend and mentor to so many of us
in the industry– a champion for labor-management
relations, a leader in housing and construction
related industries. The Joint Center and the
National Housing Endowment was proud to organize
this annual lecture series to honor John’s life
and commitment to the industry. He’s greatly missed. The endowment has always
supported opportunities to educate, train,
and conduct research in the field of
residential construction. Over the course of our history,
we’ve awarded over $13 million in scholarships and grants to
support the best and brightest in the home-building industry. A great portion of
those awards have gone to our flagship initiative,
the Home Builder Education Leadership Program,
commonly known as HELP. These multi-year grants provide
much-needed financial support to colleges and universities
to create or expand residential construction
management programs, and to increase the number of
qualified housing management professionals entering
this industry. In addition, we are exploring
how the endowment can expand our initiatives to address
the growing problem of labor shortage that was discussed
today in the PAB Round Table. That’s a growing
issue, and we’re seeing how we can help that. In addition to
HELP, the endowment funds doctoral research,
joint conferences, seminars, and curriculum development, the
annual State of the Nation’s housing report, and, of
course, this lecture. Before we begin, I want to
recognize two individuals. The first is Isaac Heimbinder,
a former trustee of the National Housing Endowment who
has helped the Endowment fund this lecture for
the past five years, and Bernie Glieberman, who’s
here this evening, the policy advisory board member who, since
2011, has helped the National Housing Endowment sponsor the
State of the Nation’s housing report. We want to thank both of these
gentlemen for their generosity and support. [applause] So without further ado, and
on behalf of my distinguished fellow Trustees of the
National Housing Endowment, I welcome all of you
here this evening to the 16th annual Housing
Endowment John T. Dunlop lecture. Thank you. Chris. [applause] OK, so now it is
my great pleasure to introduce Angela Glover
Blackwell to actually deliver the 16th annual John
T. Dunlop lecture. Over its history,
as Roger mentioned, the Dunlop lecture has featured
a variety of perspectives on critical housing
issues, and has featured distinguished
leaders from the worlds of home-building, finance,
policy, and advocacy. And collectively,
if we look back over those lectures
from the past 15 years, it really presents a mosaic of
the many ways in which housing is so central to the
health of our economy, to the lives of
individuals and families, and to the strength
of our communities. But if you look
at those lectures, too, in each individual
year, I think you’ll see that they
highlight issues that are most salient at that point in time. Over the past year, we’ve
seen a number of tragic events and a variety of significant
social science research that has drawn our collective
attention to the importance of where one lives as a
critical determinant of one’s opportunities in life,
framing, as it does, your access to jobs and
education and ability to maintain your
health and to live a safe and secure existence. And ultimately,
while those issues seem to conjure up more
concerns about education and safety and the
like, housing is central to all of these issues. And it is housing that is the
fundamental link between people and place. Angela Glover Blackwell has
long been a leading voice in both drawing attention
to the importance of place in creating
opportunities in life, and in lifting up
examples of what works to create sustainable
communities that allow everyone to participate and prosper. Given her nationally recognized
leadership in this area, we could think of
no one more fitting to deliver this
year’s Dunlop lecture. Angela is the Chief
Executive Officer of PolicyLink, an
organization she founded in 1999 with a
mission of advancing economic and social equity. Under her leadership, PolicyLink
has become a leading voice in the movement to use public
policy to improve access and opportunity for
all low-income people in communities of color,
particularly in the areas of health, housing,
transportation, education, and infrastructure. Guided by the belief that
those closest to the nation’s challenges are central
to finding solutions, PolicyLink relies on the
wisdom, voice, and experience of local residents
and organizations. The organization shares
its findings and analysis through publications, its
website, online tools, convenings, national
summits, and briefings with national and
local policymakers. Prior to founding
PolicyLink, Angela was Senior Vice President of
the Rockefeller Foundation. And prior to that, she founded
Urban Strategies Council, which was involved in
community building in Oakland, California. A lawyer by training,
Angela worked for a decade in the
public interest law firm Public Advocates dedicated
to serving the underserved. She serves on numerous boards,
is a frequent commentator for national media, and is
the author of several books and articles, including
Uncommon Ground: Race and America’s
Future, and a contributor to Ending Poverty
in America: How to Restore the American Dream. Please join me in welcoming
Angela Glover Blackwell to deliver this year’s
lecture, Policy in Place: Building Communities
of Opportunity. [applause] Thank you very much it is an
honor– a great honor– to do this and deliver this lecture. I appreciate being
asked to do it. And I particularly appreciate
the topic and the interest that obviously exists around
thinking of housing and the way that it impacts our lives. I have personal experience
with a lot of the issues that I’m going to
be talking about. So I wanted to start off by
telling you my personal story, because it took me a
long time to realize that my personal story had
anything to do with my work. I grew up in a segregated
St Louis, Missouri in the 1950s and the early 60s. And I know that segregation
and racism there were harsh from
talking to my parents, from reading about St
Louis, from doing research around St Louis to
find out about things that relate to my work. But I didn’t personally
experience it, because I grew up in a
complete black community where the places where
we played, and learned, and prayed, and
volunteered were all black. I rarely came in contact with
any people who were not black. The only time that I did
is when my mother would take me downtown
to shop, or perhaps when we would go
to a grocery store. But for the most part, I
lived in a black community. And while I have
lived many places– not just in this country,
but around the world– I have never lived any place
more integrated than the 4900 block of Terry Avenue. And it was integrated
because of segregation. All the black people lived in
the same general community. We lived right in the
center of the block. My parents were teachers. To the right, there was a man
who had a tiny construction company. I remember whenever he
would construct anything, my dad would take us to see it. And it was often so small. And I would wonder, why
are we looking at this? And we were looking at it
because Mr. Perry’s company built it. To the other side,
there was a man who was a janitor in a church. Next, on both sides,
there were physicians, though I never had to go
to the doctor’s office. The doctors would just stop
by our house for whatever it was that we needed. On the other side of
one was a minister. On the other side of the
other was another teacher. Across the street, there
were multiple-family homes. And I remember the Mullens. The father was not there. The mother was on welfare. We called it AFDC back then. There were people who
lived on the other side of the street who had
other jobs that didn’t make quite as much money. But we all lived in
the same neighborhood. The block behind us
was just as diverse. The block on the other side was
a little lower income, but not completely a poor neighborhood. It was interesting growing
up in that environment, because everything that
we needed was there. This was a community
of opportunity, despite the fact that it
was completely segregated. When our family moved in, we
were the second black family to move in, the first having
moved in the day before. That was the Perry’s. Within two years, all
of the white people were gone except for one family. And even though the white people
were gone, all of the amenities stayed. We still had grocery stores. We still had drug stores. The park was still wonderful. There was a pool in
one of the parks. The neighborhood was safe. Gradually over time,
all of that changed to by the time my parents moved
out of the 4900 block of Terry to join me and my family
in Oakland, California, when we went home
to visit them, we were appalled at
what had happened. There were no grocery stores. By the time I was in
college, my parents were driving out to the suburbs
to go to the grocery store. The park was not usable. No one would go there to walk. The streets were not safe. The corner store where we
had gone just to buy candy had long since
closed after the man who ran it had been beat up. And it was a poor
neighborhood by that time, with all of the things that
you can possibly imagine. But I saw what happened. And so when I reflect
back on my time in St Louis, what I think about
is how important community was. Community protected
the children who were living there from the
sting and burn of racism. Wasn’t enough for
those adults, though. They also wanted us
to experience the best that St Louis had to offer. I remember us going
to the outdoor opera, and our parents and the adults
would sit around the perimeter, protecting us from anybody
who might try to diminish us, so that we were still
having a black experience, even at the outdoor opera. When there was something
special at the museum, we had a special docent who
took us around to make sure that we saw it. It was an extraordinary
experience. It was about place. It was a community
of opportunity. And so now when I
think about housing, I have no trouble understanding
that housing policy is education policy. We went to a good school–
because of racism, again. The reason the
school was so good in that segregated neighborhood
is because the only thing that the educated
adults had that they could choose as professions,
for the most part, was to teach. So I had English teachers
and Spanish teachers and Journalism teachers
who, in another time, would have been senators, and
Pulitzer Prize journalists, and diplomats. But they all taught me and
my brothers and my friends. We lived in a neighborhood
that had a good school. We lived in a neighborhood
where we could walk to school, and get exercise. We lived in a
neighborhood where there were doctors, and physicians,
and easy access to the health care that we needed. We lived in a neighborhood
with a rich and robust social fabric. And that social fabric
served as a buffer for the black community. People who could
go out, and they knew who the people
were who were head of the City Council,
the wards– I forget what they called it in St Louis. But they had those
political connections. I now go to neighborhoods
that are all black and poor. And I see none of that. And I can separate
out the fact that even under harsh conditions, living
under the racial segregation of the 1950s, it
was possible to have a community of opportunity. Where you live in America has
become a proxy for opportunity. And for too many people who
are of color and low-income, there are no opportunities
available to them because of their address
and their ZIP code. We have been doing some
work around the new rule affirmatively
furthering fair housing. And one of my
colleagues pointed out– because she knew
us from St Louis and she’s heard me tell my
St Louis story– two ZIP codes in St Louis– one in
which the life expectancy is 16 years longer than the other. And the ZIP codes are
right next to each other. But one is white. And the other is black– one
in which 52% of the population lives below the poverty level
right there in St Louis. Where you live is a
proxy for opportunity. And we have to do
something about that. There is an urgency
associated with it that requires that we
act now, and that we act in the face of
complications and complexity. Because it’s a
complex story that I’m standing here telling you. This is a complex
story, and we can’t let that push us into a single
silo and a single strategy. We can’t let it cause us
to throw our hands up. We have to dig in
and figure this out. Because this is
an amazing moment. I’ve been doing this
work for a long time now. I started working as a
professional in the 1970s. And I see now that there is
a ripeness for the change that we have all
wanted for so long, that I have never seen before. The conversation that we’re
having about inequality is really quite extraordinary. It never dawned on me, when
Occupy Wall Street first hit the news, that
we would still be talking about inequality
five years later. And that, rather than
becoming something that’s turning into commercials–
which is usually what happens with a trend
in this country– first it’s an important thing, then
it gets in the commercial, and then it’s forgotten. well, that hasn’t happened
to the conversation about inequality. It’s gotten broad
and it’s gotten deep. We’ve moved away
from just talking about the 1% and the 99% to
really looking at inequality, and racial justice, and thinking
about these issues in a very deep way. And we’re understanding that
it’s not just inequality. It’s toxic inequality. We’re experiencing
toxic inequality that’s hollowing out
the middle class, that’s baking in poverty, that’s
stalling social mobility. It’s an inequality
that we have to be concerned about nationally–
not just for a few, but for the many. And we’re understanding
that inequality, which I have come to
understand was something that was accepted as a
good and positive thing by economists for many years,
that economists are changing their minds about that. The IMF has done a
study of 100 nations, and found that for every
10% decrease in inequality, there was a 50% lengthening
in a growth period. Manuel Pastor and Chris
Benner in Southern California have done a study of 100
regions in the United States. And it found exactly the same
thing– reducing inequality expands the period of growth. The Federal Reserve
Bank of Cleveland has been making
similar pronouncements. So we’re at a point
where it’s not just people who would
consider themselves leftist talking about the
problems with inequality. The International Monetary
Fund and the Federal Reserve are talking about inequality
and how it’s bad for growth. We’ve got that going on. That conversation
isn’t lessening. And it’s getting deeper. At the same time, the tragedy
of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and Freddie Gray in
Baltimore, and Eric Gardener in New York– and we could
go on with the names. I don’t want to take
you completely down into that frame of mind,
having to think about the worst part of the nation. But coming out of something
that has been happening every 28 hours for who knows how long–
that all of a sudden this is a national conversation–
that every time it happens, it gets on the news and it
stays on the news– and people are dis-aggregating the
problem, and understanding what’s underneath
what we’re seeing in terms of police killing
of black men who are unarmed. The report that came out
of the Justice Department and the report that
came out of Ferguson has been quite
extraordinary in laying bare the racism, the
discrimination, the unfairness, the inequity. And people are talking about it. People send me these things. I get five or six copies of
the report in a single day. People are talking about it. I rarely go to a dinner
any place, made up of any racial mix, where people
are talking about it– talking about racism,
talking about what it means to be a poor person
of color in America. And people are feeling ashamed. And it’s a good thing that
people are feeling ashamed, because they should. And so we have taken these
incidents– once again, Black Lives Matter,
“I can’t breathe”– whatever the phrase might be,
it’s getting into the culture in a way that people feel
that they should be asking themselves whether their
profession is a corporate one, whether they’re producing
something to sell, whether people are in City
Hall, whether it’s a civic organization– whatever it
is people do, they’re asking, what are we doing about this
issue that is front and center in America? Maybe at last we can
deal with the problem of racism and exclusion,
and move forward. That’s the moment that we’re in. It’s a moral issue for sure. We knew that Pope Francis
would say something about inequality in America. We would have been
surprised if he had not, because it is a
moral issue for sure. But it is also an
economic issue. It is also an
issue of democracy. It is also a national issue. And we are understanding
that while we always will be talking about
providing access to opportunity and inclusion for people,
because it is immoral to leave them behind, we’re
starting to realize that the nation is
going to be left behind if we don’t get this right. Because something else is
happening in this moment, and that is rapidly
shifting demographics. We assume– it was
common knowledge– that by 2050, the majority of
people in the United States would be of color. We were quite
surprised when we heard the number was really 2042. It’s been adjusted now. It’s 2044. But it’s coming very fast. But for many places,
it’s already here. Ever since the summer
of 2012, the majority of babies born in this
country have been of color. The majority of children
in the public school system in the United
States are of color. The majority of children
in this country under five are of color. And by the end of
this decade, 2019, the majority of all children
in this nation 18 and under will be of color. By 2030, the majority
of the young workforce will be of color. And by 2044, the majority
of people will be of color. But it’s even more
stark than that, because the median age for
people who are white is 42. The median age
for people who are Latino– the fastest growing
group among groups of color– is 27. And so we have an older
population that is white. We have a younger
population that is of color. So if you think about schools,
if you think about leadership, if you think about work, if
you think about workforce, we actually are becoming
a nation of color much more rapidly than
the census is telling us. Therefore, if we
want to be a nation to stand on the world stage,
proud of our middle class, we have to invest
in people of color. Because if they don’t become the
middle class in this country, there will be no vast
and stable middle class. If we really do want to deal
with the issues of climate, and begin to live in
denser populations, and use public transportation,
and reuse our built environment, we’re going to
have to learn to live together. We’re going to have to get
used to riding next to, sitting next to, living
next to the other. We’ve got some work
to do to get there. If we really want to continue
to be able to stand on the world stage in the global
economy, we need to take advantage of the
most extraordinary asset you could have in a global economy. And that is to be a world city. What could be better than
to be connected to the globe through language,
through culture, and all of those things? So what has always been
a moral imperative has become an economic imperative. And if we are going to be
proud of our democracy, it has to be a democracy
that can thrive in the face of difference. And so it’s also a
democratic imperative that we finally get the
equity agenda right. What do I mean
when I say equity? Just and fair inclusion
into a society in which all can participate,
prosper, and reach their full potential. And we know how to do it. We know it requires affordable
housing– affordable housing that links people
to opportunity. And that can happen
in several ways. People can live in communities
that are rich with opportunity because the housing
is affordable there. And we can make sure
that every community is a community of opportunity, so
that the places where people live connect them to good
schools, to good jobs, to transit that can connect
them to wherever it is they need to get. Where you live not only
determines all of those things, but it determines
how long you live, and how well you
live while you live. Connect people to places where
they’re not around asthma triggers, where they
are not suffering the stress and the trauma of the
violence that really eats away at health and life expectancy. We can do that, but we
also need to make sure that we’re thinking about
using our transportation policy to connect people
to opportunity wherever it might be in the region. We know that it requires
investments in infrastructure. We need to do that
for the people who are being left behind and left out. But the nation needs to
invest in its infrastructure. And if it’s going
to do that, it needs to do it in a way that produces
equity, asking where are we putting the infrastructure? Are we putting broadband
where we need it? Are we putting transit
where we need it? Where are we putting
the infrastructure? Are we dealing with
the equity agenda as we’re making the
infrastructure investments? Are we connecting
people to jobs? Are we connecting them to
apprenticeship programs? We need to ask, are we creating
entrepreneurial opportunities for minority and
women, business people, for who will most
likely hire people of color and other women? So we need to think
about the jobs as we’re thinking about the
entrepreneurial opportunities. We know what to do. We know we need to reform
our tax code, our tax system. We know the things
we need to do. We know that we have to improve
our public school system. Because if we’re not getting
ready for the future, the future will leave us behind. So we understand
that place matters. Housing is key to place. We have many
strategies that we have pursued to try to make sure that
we’re producing more housing, that the housing is affordable. But we have to ask,
are we using housing as a way to improve education? Are we using it
to improve health? Are we thinking of housing
as a job connector? Are we thinking of housing as a
wealth builder for communities that are being left behind? The wealth in the
white community is 13% or 14% percent
higher than the wealth in the black community. These are the kinds of
things that, unaddressed, will come back to bite
the nation– not just because you’re
leaving people behind, but we need for people to
be able to participate. The poverty rate in the black
community is almost three times as high as the poverty rate
in the white community. The same is true in
the Latino community. The unemployment rate
in the black community is more than twice that
of the white community. But the question that we
need to stop asking ourselves is, how are black and Latino
people doing as against looking at white people? We need to ask how are
black, and Latino, and Asian, and Native American people
doing in relationship to what this nation
needs to thrive? That’s the measure. And if there’s a
gap there, that’s the gap we need to
be concerned about. Because that gap hurts us all. When we think about
the benefits of equity, it is absolutely essential
that we move beyond rhetoric and we begin to look at data. One of the things that
we’ve done at PolicyLink, in partnership with
Manuel Pastor and his shop at the University of
Southern California, which is called the Partnership
for Environmental and Regional Equity. So PolicyLink and
PEER came together to maximize our
organization’s strengths. Manuel’s shop is basically
a data and research shop. But it also does policy
and communications. PolicyLink is basically a policy
shop and a communication shop. And we also do research. Manuel and I were talking
one day just about the time that President Obama
was coming into office. And we said, we need to have
an organization that has all of the qualities that we have. Why don’t we just
merge our organizations for the purpose of
beginning to tell a narrative to the
nation about its future and what we need to do? And so we did. We merged for the purpose of
creating the National Equity Atlas. And what the National
Equity Atlas does is it looks at 150 regions
throughout the United States, 50 states, and
the District of Columbia. And what it asks is, what are
the changing demographics? And how have they
changed over time? What are the indicators
of economic well being, disaggregated by race? And what would be the
benefit to the nation if we were to correct
the problems, if we were to close the gap–
if we were to close the gap between the incomes and
the earnings of white people and those of people of color? In the part about the
shifting demographics, we go from 1980 2040. So you can go to any
one of those geographies and see what’s going on. One of the things
that we have seen, in addition to the
shifting demographics, is a racial generation gap. A racial generation gap–
80% of those people over 65 in this country are white. And about 46% of those
under 18 are of color. And that’s nationally. But if you go to
different regions, you’ll see that gap
is even greater. And two of the places
that have the greatest gap are Nevada and Arizona. And if you think about
some of the battles that have been going
on in that place, you see what happens when
you have older voters who do not identify with the youth. They don’t identify
with the housing needs. They don’t identify with
the education needs. They have a real problem. So we talk about that in looking
at the demographic change. We don’t just look at
race and ethnicity. We look at age as well. We look at issues
that have to do with connectivity
and production when we look at the economic issues. But the bottom line is the
GDP would be $2.1 trillion higher for the nation if we
could close that gap in terms of earnings. And we give that figure for
every one of those regions, to really underscore
that there is something that is really
possible going on now– that if we address the issues,
we actually are addressing the national issues. And I can’t underscore
that enough. So we need a policy framework
that will make a difference. We have to think
about housing, but we have to think about
housing in relationship to the other things that are
going to be crucial to respond in this moment in time. And we have to grow good jobs. And we have to grow
good jobs, and we have to make sure the jobs that
already exist– particularly for low-income people–
become good jobs. Which is why we celebrate the
work of Ai-jen Poo and the work she’s doing around domestic
workers, home-care workers, making sure that those
jobs become good jobs. But when we spend
money, once we know that we have an
equity imperative, we can’t leave it to
the poverty program. We can’t leave it to the
501(c)(3) organizations. We have to say, how do we
advance equity with everything that we’re doing? So when Oakland,
California finally came up with a plan for what to
do with the abandoned Oakland Army Base– it had been sitting
abandoned for 25 years– one plan after another. Finally, they decided
they were going to really invest, and make
it a logistics center. And in making that
investment, they kept asking the equity question. They made a decision that, a
year before they broke ground, they would put a resource
center in the poorest community in Oakland to begin to
train people for the jobs that were coming in a year. Don’t just wait till
the jobs are there and lament the fact
that nobody’s job-ready. If you know what the
jobs are going to be, they started training
people a year ahead of time. They decided that
they were going to set aside 25% of
the apprenticeship programs for people who
were Veterans, people who were long-term
unemployed, people who were formerly incarcerated. They decided that all the
new apprenticeship programs would go to Oakland residents. And they had a
special program to try to deal with vendors
and contractors from the communities that
are often left behind, to try to build that– so using
the opportunity to do something the city needed to do anyway
to advance the equity agenda. We need to make sure
that we’re thinking about our infrastructure
investments as being an opportunity
to advance equity. In New Orleans, they have redone
the way that they are routing, and the time frame,
and the schedule, for their public transit
system, to make sure it’s connecting people to jobs. Because New Orleans looked
up, and it saw that over 60%– I think the number is 56– 56%
of all of the black men in New Orleans aged 16 to 64 are
without work– not unemployed– without work. And so mayor Mitch
Landrieu actually developed a plan to
build on something that he had been
doing to try to deal with the violence
and the murders. He developed a plan to look
at all the jobs they could anticipate coming online lots of
them with anchor institutions, and set up a job training, a job
linkage, an educational system to try to make sure that a
certain portion of those jobs go to those men. So they were
thinking about that, and they realized that
they had a transit problem as well– so redoing the routing
to make sure that the transit system is working. In the Twin Cities, they’ve
put in a light rail. And they’ve made sure that that
light rail system did not just displace people. They had an affordable housing
strategy along the light rail, because they could
anticipate that this is going to become valuable property. Things are going to happen. Let’s secure affordability
even before they started on the system. They also put in three
stops that they had not planned to put in
when they originally designed the system, so that
the entrepreneurs along the way would get the business along
the way of the light rail, and not have everybody just
passing by, looking out the window, wondering
what that is. People could actually get off. Those are becoming destinations. That’s the kind of
planning we have to do. We also have to
make sure that we are building the
capacities of people to be ready for the
jobs of the future. By 2018– that’s just a
couple of years from now– 47% of all jobs in this
country will require at least an associate’s degree. Only 27% of blacks and Latinos
have an associate’s degree, and only 14% of recent
Latino immigrants. We’ve got to do
something about that, which is what
makes the Tennessee Promise an exciting idea. You know, the
Governor of Tennessee has said that they
now are making community college
free to anybody who graduates from high school. And then, finishing
the community college, you can go to the
four-year institution. But you get the
four-year institution for the price of two, because
the first two years are free. We need to do more of that. And we need to really make sure
we’re creating a robust system. But we also have to remove
barriers and expand opportunity because there are too many
things that stand in the way. That’s part of what Ferguson
and Baltimore have teed up for this country– that
we now have a deeper sense of the barriers that
have to do with living in a low-income community
of persistent poverty than we have ever understood. Never occurred to me that
the Justice Department was in cahoots with racism, in terms
of who had to pay the tickets, and who had to
support that system. That was shocking even to me. I knew I’d gotten
a lot of tickets, but I thought that was just me. I didn’t know that
this was something that routinely happened. And it happens in jurisdictions
all across the country. We’re understanding how baked
in structural racism is. We have to remove
those barriers. We are understanding– thank
you Michelle Alexander– the scandal of incarceration
and the new Jim Crow. We knew that there were a lot
of people being locked up, but we didn’t understand
how vast it was, and didn’t understand how minor
so many of the offenses were that got people in
again, and again, and again. And we’re starting to undo that. In California,
we’ve passed Prop 47 that has reduced many
felonies to misdemeanors. And not only are people
no longer getting those felonies on their
records, but if you were in jail for a felony that is now
classified as a misdemeanor, and you have a good
record, you are now coming out of the prison
system in California. This is a big deal. It’s only the right thing to do. But we need to make sure that
people who do have records are able to access jobs. So to ban the box,
so you don’t have to check a box on the
application for a job, is just the beginning
of how aggressive we’re going to have to be about
incorporating people back into communities. Think about communities. Think about communities
where, too often, we have put the affordable housing. We have put what housing was
affordable in communities where the schools were terrible,
where there were no grocery stores, where there was
no job, where there was no public transit
system, but also where there was not robust
community and social fabric. Think about all those
black and brown men who have been incarcerated. Think about them. Now think about the
legacy of absence in the communities from
which they were snatched– the legacy of
absence– no fathers, no community role models,
no partners, nobody. My father used to play
stickball with every kid in the neighborhood–
nobody to do that. Think about that
legacy of absence. We’ve got a lot to make up for. It takes more than a house. It takes a community. It takes people. It takes people
investing in each other. It takes access to opportunity. We’ve got to remove barriers. And we have to
build opportunity. And the good news
is that, as we think about those who are most
vulnerable, as we develop strategies to make sure
that equity includes them, we are creating
benefit for everyone. And for me, the
best example of that is something that every person
in this room has experienced. That’s the curb cuts– the
curb cuts in the street. Those curb cuts are there
because of the advocacy of people with disabilities. Happened in Kalamazoo
in the 1940s, never happened again until Ed Roberts
and his colleagues in Berkeley in the 1970s began to actually
be aggressive advocates for getting those curb
cuts, so they could actually realize the rights that
people with disabilities have been able to gain. And so those curb cuts
are now every place, in every city
across this country. And they are there because
of people with disabilities being advocates for them. But how many times have you
been pushing a baby carriage, and been so happy
you didn’t have to pick up that contraption? How many times have you, like
me, been pulling a suitcase, and you made that train because
you could just keep going? How many times have workers
had their burden eased, been pulling wagons
and pushing carts, because those curb
cuts were there? How many times have you had
your shoulders come down and your mind relax
when that new bike rider was traversing
the neighborhood sidewalk to sidewalk, and
not riding in the streets? But I bet you didn’t know this–
those curb cuts have saved lives, because the curb
cuts oriented people to go to the corner to
cross the street. They were supposed
to go to the corner, but the curb cuts orient
you to exactly where it is to go– save
lives in that sense. The curb cuts are
an example of when you solve problems for people
who are the most vulnerable, you solve them for everybody. You solve them for everybody. [applause] And that’s the moment
we have now with equity. Whether we’re taking thinking
about education policy and how to make sure we have a
robust public education system that educates children for
21st century jobs, which the nation needs to compete, but
we know who we have to educate. We know who we are
leaving behind. Whether we’re thinking about
transportation policy that connects people to
jobs, and we actually can tap our full
workforce, which we need to be competitive–
whether we’re thinking about housing– we’re
thinking about housing in communities of opportunity
that is affordable. We’re thinking about
strategies in places where we have
affordable housing, to make sure they’re
communities of opportunity. And as we finally accept
that, even in America, cities are coming
back– places where we have been throwing
them away for decades– they are coming back. As we begin to invest
in those cities, assume that you’re
going to be successful. Know that you’re part of the
wave of a resurgence of cities. Bake in affordability
right from the beginning, and we won’t have to worry
about gentrification. We won’t have to
worry about people being displaced because of it. And as you’re thinking
about anything you do, think about jobs,
because the best way to build a
mixed-income community is to increase the
incomes of the people who already live there. That’s the very
best way to do it. Think about jobs in
all of those instances, because we are at
a moment where, to unlock the promise
of the nation, we have to unleash the
promise in all of us. That’s where we are now. Thank you. [applause] Thank you for that. But I have a little
time to answer questions if you have any. I hope you do. I get to use this? Good. And step here. If you were suddenly empowered,
and you had the ability to make a major policy change
that would further many of the issues you just
discussed so eloquently, what would that single
policy change be? That’s always a tough question,
because we need to do so much. I don’t think I can
responsibly answer that question without
talking about education. Because we know– we all know–
how important education is. And we know that education
should be cradle to career. We’re not talking K-12 anymore. We’re talking cradle to career. If we really made the investment
from cradle to career, and we made sure that every
child born has the opportunity to reach his or her
potential, that we made sure that their parents can
go in and get reeducated, can get educated
for the first time, we made sure that we actually
assumed that children can learn whatever it is
they need to learn, we would transform the nation. Now, there are other
things we need to do. But if you make me pick one,
I’ve got to go to education. Now, if you give me
five, I’ll get it all in. Yes. You need– may I
take you the mike? Thanks. Thanks. You gave us a very, I
think, interesting story– your own personal
story, and talked about the changing demographics
of your neighborhood and the community there. And one of things I
want to ask you about is the impact of the
Inclusive Communities decision in the Supreme
Court over the summer. Because I think as some of these
urban communities have– we’ve seen a lot of
reinvestment happening. And you touched
on gentrification. And I think one of the
other trends that we’re going to see–
we’ve begun to see– is that communities of color,
and communities of low income– communities are being pushed
out into inner-ring suburbs and suburban areas. And I think, in some
sense, this is really what the Inclusive
Communities decision is about– is trying to encourage
mixed income and mixed race communities in suburban areas. So do you think that that is
going to be an important trend that we’re going to see? And what sort of
policy implications is that going to have, both for
continuing urban reinvestment, if we have not as
much funding coming in to some of the disinvested
urban communities? And then what policy
ramifications does it have, also, for some of the
suburban communities, where we’re going to see an increase
in affordable housing being developed? So one thing to point
out is that the trend of black and brown people
moving to suburban communities has been going on
for a long time. Black and Latinos
stayed in cities, and they kept hanging in there. And they kept hoping
they would get better. And the schools got so bad,
the streets got so dangerous, people left. And so it didn’t surprise
me one little bit that it was Ferguson
and not Saint Louis– didn’t surprise
me one little bit. Because you actually
tend to get uprisings when people are hopeful
and doing the right thing. When we had the uprisings after
the Civil Rights legislation had passed, going to Watts and
other places, lots of people were shocked, because they
felt that the country was making progress. We were passing civil
rights legislation. People had rights and things
they’d never had before. And that’s when Watts opened up. So it didn’t surprise
me that it was Ferguson, because people moved
to Ferguson trying to do the right thing–
trying to get away from St Louis trying to find
places where the schools would be better, where they would have
more jobs, where they would be respected. And they didn’t
find any of that. They found schools that were
now being underinvested in, police who were harassing
them, no jobs available. And so it’s been going
on for a long time. That’s why we actually
have so many people now in the suburbs who are poor. We actually have more
people poor in the suburbs than we have in cities. So it’s been going
on for a long time. The question is not
moving to an area that has been previously
white, or moving to an area that’s suburban. What we need is for people
to move to opportunity. A friend of mine,
John Powell, when he was at the Kirwan
Institute, they actually did a study that showed that
people who were black and brown were moving away
from opportunity when they left cities, not
moving to opportunity. They were moving to
declining inner-ring suburbs while the opportunities
were elsewhere. So I hope that
what we will see is more resources available for
people to have information to move to opportunity when
they are making a move, and not just move
to the place where they happen to know
someone, which is likely the reason you know somebody
there is because it’s not an opportunity community. People move from
the place you know to a place that’s already on its
way down before you move there. The other thing we
need to really focus on is making sure that the bottom
line is connecting people to opportunity. Therefore, if a
community is becoming a community of opportunity,
it is the right thing to do to figure out how to keep
people there who were there during the bad time. They deserve to be there
during the good time. Just makes no sense to have
grocery stores coming in, schools starting to
improve, relationships with the police getting
better, and the very people who were crying and begging
and fighting for that can no longer live there. So we have to not be
knee-jerk in the way that we think about this. We need to be informed. We need to be thoughtful. And we need to have goals
that we’re trying to get to, and a way to measure whether
or not we’re doing it. Yes. You’ve talked a lot about
the complexity of the issues. I’m in the School
of Public Health. And so the issues
that you talked about are health and
education and housing, and how complex it is, and how
it’s very easy to walk away. But we’re here with a lot
of housing professionals. But if we go over to
Fenway or Longwood area, we’re with a lot of public
health professionals. If we go somewhere else, we’re
at the school of education. Could you talk about
how to break silo, so we don’t just talk
about where we live, learn, work, and play matters? But how do we actually
professionally, when we’re being
trained in silos, we really have departments
professionally in silos, so we’re not really
working interconnectedly– only when it makes
very obvious sense, like asthma and
housing in some places, but not really to address the
fundamental issues that you’ve discussed. I actually feel that
what you have pointed out is true and changing. I don’t know how
fast it’s changing. But I know that it’s changing. One of the things that’s
causing it to change is the notion of
collective impact– the idea of collective
impact, which really forces you to identify the
outcomes that you want, and then think about all the
actors who have to participate to get to those outcomes. It’s interesting to me
that collective impact is what people in communities
have always understood– that they have always tried
to tear themselves apart to fit into a conversation
with a case manager over in Social Services,
and then fit in with a public health nurse
over at the public health department, and
then go to somebody else who is supposed to be
doing that in the school system. People knew that their
issues were intertwined, interrelated, and you
couldn’t talk about one without the other. Collective impact has now
caught up with the insights that people in community
have always had. And they’re trying
to figure that out, so that once you get out of
school into the workplace, the people who will soar
are the ones who get it. Because there’s not much use
now for people working in cities or in counties who
don’t understand the interrelationships,
people who can talk the language
of houses, and talk the language of public
health, and understand the contribution of
public interest lawyers, and talk to people who
are making transportation decisions. Those are the ones
who rise to the top. Those are the ones who
get the promotions. Those are the ones
who move forward. And so I think that pressure to
be trained for the real world, for the real skill, for the
real things that are valued, I think that’s
starting to happen. I know there are
lots of programs now in professional
schools where people are crossing silos. But there are many things
moving in that direction, and some fabulous examples. I always recommend King
County in Washington as a place where they
really are on top of this. But at Alameda County in
California and other places, I’m seeing extraordinary stuff. Yes. You mentioned Baltimore. My family and I
live in Baltimore. We moved to Baltimore, my wife
and I did, in large measure– and at the time or just
after the riots of 1968. What do you say to us? Between my wife and I,
we’ve probably been on or chaired a dozen boards. We have many friends
who have contributed a great deal of time, energy,
and money to try and improve education, social programs,
and housing in Baltimore. And here we are 45 years
later, and the same thing happens that had
happened in 1968. Why shouldn’t we just give up? I hope you don’t give up. This same story could
be told every place. My husband and I have lived
in Oakland, California for 35 years. And when we first moved
there, we got involved. And we’ve been involved. And Oakland is now one of
those communities that’s starting to be gentrified. And so we’re fighting
that fight now. But we have never invested
as we should to try and solve these problems. When we had the uprisings
in Baltimore and Detroit, and in Los Angeles, and
all these other places, the response has never been
to peel away the onion, and understand, at the
core, what is wrong and how do we fix it. We haven’t done that before. And so there’s no reason to
give up with the notion of this can’t be fixed. The question is, why don’t
we step up to fix it? Because we know what it takes. We are not a poor country. And we need to stop
acting like one. We are not a poor
country, and we need to stop acting like one. It’s going to take
a lot of money to fix the problems
in Baltimore. The schools are terrible. And it’s going to take a lot
of money to fix those schools. The housing is not
opportunity housing. It’s not in places where
young people can feel safe. What’s happened
between the police departments and young people
has been going on for decades. I know something
about the efforts that Johns Hopkins has
made to try to use what it’s doing to engage and train. But they’re not
doing nearly enough. They’re not doing nearly enough. It’s going to take more than the
hospital to solve that problem. There’s a lot of money
getting spent in Baltimore around various things. And if you go and you look at
who’s working on the sites, and who the contractors are,
you realize that we’re still missing opportunities. And so my response is,
it has to be frustrating when you come back to the table
again, and again, and again. But if you ask
yourself have we ever had a real honest conversation
about how we got here? I taught a class at NYU around
housing in the 21st century– race-class housing in 21st
century American cities. And one of the things
the students did was they looked at
the red lining maps. And then they looked
at communities of concentrated poverty. And they were exactly the same. They were exactly the same. How could that be? So we haven’t really
talked about racism. We haven’t peeled
back that onion. We haven’t done
a true assessment of what it’s going to take. We haven’t allocated the money
to do what it’s going to take. And until we do that, we’re
going to keep fooling around. I contend, though, that this
might be the last chance that we have to get it right–
that this is the moment. We’re talking about inequality. We’re talking about race. We’re having the
demographic change happen. We have decades of finding
out what works– decades. We have been working on this
with foundation dollars, with special
government programs, with faith-based programs. You show me a problem, and
I can show you someplace where they’ve found what works. What we need to do is
disaggregate it, understand it, put it in policy,
and take it to scale. Here’s one other thing we didn’t
have all the other times we’ve been working on it– I am
amazed at the people who are leading foundations these days. They are people of color,
but not just people of color. They are people of
color and people who are white who have been
in the business of creating change. It’s not just the lawyer
for a wealthy family. It is people who
really know what works. And they are working
together, and they’re pushing their money out there. When you look at the
kinds of positions that people are in now to
be able to really influence what happens, we
also have a cadre of leaders who are
committed with capacity. I think we have
everything we need. What we’re lacking is the public
will and the political will, but we can build that. [applause] Please join me in
thanking Angela. [applause] So I think with that,
our evening is adjourned. Thank you very much for
coming to tonight’s lecture. As I said, the
lectures collectively provide a mosaic
of housing issues. And Angela has really, I think,
provoked a lot of thought about the way in which
housing creates opportunities in different communities. Thank you very much for coming.

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