Photo: Lyda Hill (left) chats with CPPP Board Chair Veletta Forsythe Lill (middle) and CPPP CEO Ann Beeson (right).
Last week I joined a packed crowd attending the launch of the Dallas Economic Opportunity Assessment. CPPP researched and wrote the comprehensive study of my native Dallas for the Communities Foundation of Texas, who commissioned the research and hosted the successful launch.
CPPP Chief Operating Officer Frances Deviney walked us through the key findings and implications, highlighting some of the racial and ethnic disparities in the Dallas area. Among other findings, the data shows that people of color have to earn one degree higher than their White peers to make the same income. On a more positive note, every racial-ethnic community has seen significant declines in the uninsured rate, though gaps still exist.
As the data and research sink in, CPPP is excited for the next phase of our collective work toward improving economic opportunity and reducing poverty in the Dallas region. We were so pleased to hear Dallas leaders Mayor Mike Rawlings and Judge Clay Jenkins describe how these data will help advance real policy solutions in both the city and county of Dallas. CPPP shared several policy recommendations for consideration, including:
- Engage in a comprehensive racial and ethnic equity outcome assessment of local policies and practices, and conduct racial and ethnic impact analyses of existing policies.
- Review city fees and expenses that may be stripping wealth from low-income neighborhoods.
- Analyze city and county budget expenditures to ensure sufficient resources for poverty alleviation.
- Create a public-private-philanthropic partnership to expand access to English language acquisition and literacy.
- Provide incentives for businesses to raise wages beyond the minimum wage.
- Support paid sick leave to protect public health and prevent workers from having to choose between caring for a sick family member and losing wages.
- Provide incentives for small, minority-owned, and immigrant-owned businesses to locate and hire in low-opportunity neighborhoods.
- Increase access to health insurance for underserved families by raising awareness of affordable public and private coverage options and supporting outreach and enrollment organizations.
Read our full set of policy recommendation here.
Despite the challenging findings, I was inspired by the community members’ and leaders’ commitment to moving forward.
“Look in the mirror and think about what you’re going to do about it,” Judge Jenkins said, talking about business owners and executives who pay White workers more than employees of color.
Judge Jenkins’ advice is true for plenty of issues we’re tackling together, from underfunded public schools to federal attacks on food and health care for hard-working Texans.
As the wildflowers bloom and optimism is in the air, I hope you will join us and get even more engaged in the fight for a Texas where – across races, ethnicities, genders and ZIP codes – everyone is healthy, well-educated and financially secure.