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2020: A Year of Resilience and Transformation

2020 was a year of resilience in the face of deep suffering and pain. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities was coupled with deadly police and vigilante violence that took the lives of Black people including Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery. While 2020 was challenging for so many reasons, it was also a year of incredible organizing, activism and movement building for equity and racial justice. 

Millions hit the streets to demand that Black Lives Matter, and Black and brown people organized and voted to repudiate white supremacy, defeat Donald Trump and elect former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris–the first Black and South Asian woman to be elected vice president. The vision and labor of love of Black women’s leadership and organizing in the South and in cities like Philadelphia, Detroit and Atlanta, were critical in delivering victories in key states for the Democratic Party. 

We are inspired by the collective energy and will for transformative change generated during the year, and are proud to have actively supported and participated and led efforts to build toward the vision for a just future our communities deserve. 

Below are highlights of CURE activities in 2020 that reflect our commitment to being bold, resourceful and unwavering in our vision for just neighborhoods, cities, communities, systems and institutions. 

2020 Racial Justice Presidential Candidate Scorecard 

At the beginning of 2020, CURE garnered national attention for our 2020 Racial Justice Presidential Candidate Scorecard, a resource for voters that summarized the presidential candidates’ policy proposals through a racial equity lens across 10 critical areas. The scorecard also examined candidates’ past and current rhetoric and language around racial justice issues. The scorecard was widely circulated on social media and other major media outlets. On launch day alone, our scorecard Twitter post had nearly 10,000 engagements and was shared by Senator Elizabeth Warren. Articles published in the New York Times, theRoot, HuffPost, Ebony, NewsOne, Essence, and the Wall Street Journal further expanded the reach of the scorecardCURE’s scorecard influenced several candidates to explicitly state how their plans would advance racial equity. The Buttigieg, Steyer and Klobuchar campaigns all acknowledged the scorecard and submitted policy proposals for CURE’s review. Notably, Senator Warren tweeted about the scorecard a second time in February 2020, accumulating 151 replies, 1020 retweets, and nearly 5,000 likes.

To further the reach of the scorecard, we collaborated with community organizations and student groups to host events called Racial Justice 2020: Voting & Building Power for a Just Future in Florida and South Carolina. During these events, attendees learned about the candidates’ policy proposals, heard from local grassroots organizers, and received additional voter education information. The scorecard remained a primary resource for advocates to access information on racial equity proposals released by presidential candidates throughout the election. Most recently, we were invited to discuss the scorecard with students at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and explored ways to expand the scorecard to include local/state elections. 

COVID-19 Racial Equity Resource Hub & Webinars

In March, in the early days of the pandemic, CURE released the Equitable Response Community Commons, an online hub for equity and justice in the U.S. coronavirus response. The hub is an easily accessible resource for the public to quickly find tools and information in over 20 categories addressing  anti-racism and stigma, policy demands and calls to action, mutual aid networks, testing and health care services, financial assistance, and population-specific issues and outreach materials. 

CURE hosted and participated in webinars, media interviews including an appearance on the Make It Plain Podcast with Mark Thompson, and published a  Truthout op-ed, on why Systemic Racism is Making Coronavirus Worse in Black America by our president, Dr. Judy Lubin.

In April, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia Office of Black Male Engagement, we co-hosted a webinar, “COVID-19 & Black Men’s Physical, Mental & Spiritual Health.” CURE’s Dwayne Wharton moderated the discussion with a panel of experts exploring COVID-19 disparities in health outcomes, the connection between trauma and health, and how Black men can maintain a healthy mind, spirit, and physical health during the pandemic. We hosted another webinar in May, “COVID-19 & Black Communities: Crisis, Opportunity and Prescriptions for Change.” During the discussion, experts discussed how COVID-19 was impacting Black communities in cities including New Orleans, Detroit and Miami and offered a vision for an equitable recovery plan focused on systemic change and Black health, wealth, self-care and community power. CURE’s Dr. Judy Lubin was also a panelist in the “Our Lives on the Line” virtual town hall hosted by Health Care Voter to discuss the disproportionate challenges threatening Black people during the pandemic, and what all of us must do to hold the government accountable for an equitable recovery. 

Conversations on Black Community Development Series

In August, in partnership with the Network for Developing Conscious Communities (NDCC), CURE launched Conversations on Black Community Development, a webinar series designed to identify actionable strategies for dismantling structural racism through policies and practices that center wealth building, economic development and racial equity in Black communities. The multi-part series included conversations around building conscious communities, reparations, economic development, elections, community engagement and more. The series was well attended averaging 100 attendees per session from across the nation in various fields.

Structural Racism City Profiles

At the end of our multi-part webinar series on Black community development, we released seven briefs focused on structural racism in Washington DC, Miami, San Francisco, New Orleans, Philadelphia, New York and St. Louis. These city profiles are resources for organizers, nonprofit organizations, city government officials and others who are coordinating efforts to reckon with the history of racism and anti-Blackness that continue to shape city planning, economic development, housing and policing strategies. The briefs highlight issues such as gentrification, homelessness, food insecurity, and economic and COVID-19 racial inequities. The profiles feature key facts and figures and uplifts the efforts of local organizers and community organizations that are creating just and healthy cities through policy and systems change campaigns. 

CURE Report Exposing Racism in the Philadelphia Court System 

Police murders in 2020 sparked a national reckoning on how racism has permeated every aspect of American society including businesses and workplaces. This renewed interest in how to build organizational practices and cultures where Black Lives Matter, prompted inquiries into the racial equity assessment of the Philadelphia court system conducted by CURE in 2019. The report exposing racism, nepotism, and mistrust within the institution was suppressed despite CURE’s urging for transparency, and not released until summer 2020, following demands from the Philadelphia City Council that it be made available to the public. Sparking calls for institutional change from council members and local organizations, the report generated media coverage including articles in NPR, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Law.com and in December, CURE’s President Dr. Judy Lubin testified during a Philadelphia City Council hearing focused on the implications of the report and next steps needed to foster an equitable workplace at. 

Supporting DC Council Resolution to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis in the District of Columbia

In November, CURE’s Dr. Judy Lubin testified during a DC Council Committee on Health hearing in support of DC Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie’s resolution to declare racism a public health crisis in the District of Columbia. The hearing was chaired by Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray, chairman of the committee and former DC mayor. Dr. Lubin’s testimony highlighted how chronic neighborhood disinvestment and fewer available health care providers, hospitals and healthy food outlets have produced poorer health outcomes for Black residents in Wards 7 and 8.

“Black Lives have not mattered in the city and it is encouraging to see the members of this committee leading the way to change this,” Lubin said. “Passage of the resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis in the city would be an important action that can help to spur policy strategies designed to dismantle structural racism and stimulate targeted investments in Black residents, communities, organizations, businesses and institutions. The resolution would send an important signal to other institutions in the community, that the city is serious, and they too must do the work of aligning their practices and organizations to walk the talk on racial equity.”

Racial Equity Organizational Change Work and Trainings 

CURE welcomed several new client partners including organizations that we’re supporting through racial equity organizational change processes and community-based racial equity trainings. Our new partners include Springboard Collaborative, Reinvestment Fund, City of Dallas, Zero To Three and Vera Institute of Justice.

We are hopeful for the possibilities that come with a new year. For updates on what we’re working on and new resources we’ll be sharing in 2021, please join our email list and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Instagram.

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