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The United States is in the process of reckoning with many forms of social division, but it is also facing a moment of immense possibility. With deepening divides occurring and being fomented across racial, religious, socioeconomic, partisan, and geographic lines, trust in others has declined and members of distinct groups are more isolated from each other than ever. Many forces seek to exploit these vulnerabilities and stoke fear and anxiety about group differences. Yet our nation's history shows us that, even in the midst of these challenges, Americans from all walks of life have found ways to come together across lines of difference to solve critical community problems.How we choose to respond to group differences is ultimately up to us. We can take steps either to build walls or build bridges in the face of these differences. When we feel insecure, unsafe, or threatened, our initial instinct is to build walls, in an effort to protect ourselves and our groups. This instinctual response can help us to feel more secure and protected in the short term; but one long-term consequence is that we may grow more distrustful and fearful of people who are not like "us" and whom we don't personally know. Worse still, challenging social and economic conditions can exacerbate these tendencies, such that we start to develop competitive narratives that pit "us" against "them" and further deepen existing divisions between groups.Instead, when we build bridges, we take steps to engage with people across lines of difference. Engaging with one another in meaningful and authentic ways often requires us to step outside of our comfort zone, as we begin to share our life stories and experiences openly while attending deeply and respectfully to those shared by others. From interacting with others with this spirit of openness and attentiveness, we invite others into our worlds, just as they invite us into theirs. By doing so, we not only develop greater mutual understanding, but we are also likely to become more invested in each other's lives and to care more about each other's groups—and this emotional investment and caring is what compels us to work toward improving our communities and social institutions to ensure that everyone feels like they belong.In this guide, we describe how to set the stage for people from different backgrounds to engage with each other in ways that foster trust and belonging, while also drawing on their similarities and differences to solve community problems. We review a number of strategies that encourage people from different groups to work together as equals, so that they can share ideas and perspectives, and co-create new initiatives in collaboration and across group divides. We also provide materials that can help organizations begin to envision how they might assess the effectiveness of their contact programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable people across the United States, including racial and ethnic minorities and immigrants. Many have faced challenges in retaining employment and meeting the basic needs of their families. In order to better support Louisville's underserved communities and expand equitable access to services for all residents, New American Economy (NAE) partnered with the City of Louisville to survey residents about their experiences during the pandemic. The COVID-19 Community Impact Survey, conducted between February and May of 2021, asked Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) and immigrant communities in Louisville about their essential needs, the impact of COVID-19 on their wellbeing, and what assistance they have received to support their families through the crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally affected vulnerable communities across the United States, including racial and ethnic minorities and immigrant groups. Many face severe challenges in meeting the essential needs of their families and handling mental health issues, both of which have been exacerbated by the prolonged stress and isolation during the pandemic.To better support these vulnerable communities and to ensure that Tulsa's emergency services provide equitable access to all of its residents, New American Economy (NAE) worked with the City of Tulsa and local community organizations to survey Tulsans about their experiences during the pandemic. The COVID-19 Community Impact Survey conducted targeted outreach between February and May of 2021 to Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) and immigrant communities in Tulsa about the essential needs of their families; the impact of COVID-19 on their wellbeing; and the help they received from local organizations.
In 2020 the New American Economy (NAE), wanted to better understand why COVID-19 had such disproportionately severe economic and health impacts on BIPOC and immigrant communities in 5 cities. LCF Georgia and the Atlanta Mayor's Office of Immigrants Affairs expanded the scope of the data collection from a city to a state-wide effort and incorporated translations and outreach to communities that spoke languages other than English and Spanish with particular emphasis on Portuguese and Mayan languages.The Georgia-specific analysis centers on comparing different ways in which the crisis was experienced by immigrants, children of immigrants, non-immigrants, and Metro vs. Outside Metro Atlanta.
As communities across the United States work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession while also grappling with a surge in new cases, it's clear that the impact on Americans has been unequal. More so than previous crises, COVID-19 exposed gaps in access to basic information, services, and social safety-net support that disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) and immigrant communities. These communities have shouldered a greater share of the economic and health-related consequences of the pandemic, and without targeted efforts to promote equitable disaster response and recovery, they will be more vulnerable to future emergencies.In this report, we provide lessons and guidance for how cities can equitably respond to COVID-19 and future crises based on our five-city COVID-19 Community Impact Survey, a year-long effort to document best practices generated by the Cities Index Working Group and other leading municipalities across the country, and findings from Year 3 of the NAE Cities Index. Our findings shed new light on the ways in which COVID-19 affected communities of color and immigrant communities, including challenges they faced in accessing timely information, health care, utility and rental assistance, and other crucial services during some of the most difficult months of the pandemic. Data gathered in 17 languages by community partners also reveals the difficulties many residents will face as the recovery continues in the months ahead. Finally, this report highlights the varied and often creative ways cities have stepped in to fill gaps in the federal response, and includes recommendations for how local governments and community leaders can help promote a more equitable, inclusive response to future disasters and emergencies.