Skip links

2021 Year in Review: Creating Pathways for Racial Equity to Take Root

As 2021 draws to a close and we prepare to take the next few weeks for rest, reflection and planning for the new year ahead, the CURE team would like to thank you for being in partnership and community with us. Every year we are inspired by the collective action across communities and organizations to make racial equity and justice real, and are grateful for the opportunities to support the incredible change that is happening in the midst of turbulent and trying times. We are excited to share a few highlights of our work in 2021 to build pathways for racial equity to take root through organizational, institutional and policy change.

Transforming Institutions and Organizations
  • Building Connections and Capacity for Change – This year CURE launched the Facilitating Racial Equity Organizational Change cohort program to support organizations seeking to launch or deepen existing efforts to practice racial equity internally and in their communities. Through an interactive learning lab for racial equity teams from participating organizations, the 3-month program was designed to build relationships and strengthen the capacity of participants to apply a racial equity lens, critically assess organizational culture, programs, services and practices, and identify strategies and actions that confront racism and support transformational change. Participating organizations in the inaugural cohort included Swetland Center for Environmental Health, Washington Center for Equitable Growth, Coalition For Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, and Drug Policy Alliance.

“Our training with CURE, the readings and lessons, helped us identify structural racism more quickly.” – Cohort Participant

“We would get together and do the readings. Colleagues would get on Slack and comment about a particular reading like “did you see this?” or “did you read that?” and it was good to keep the momentum going even with the length of the training.” – Cohort Participant

  • Deep Partnerships that Create Pathways for Racial Equity – We continue to be in deep partnership with several national and local organizations through facilitation of our signature Racial Equity Organizational Change (REOC) process. In 2021, our REOC client partners included Health Care for the Homeless (Baltimore), Reinvestment Fund, ZERO TO THREE Policy Center and ZERO TO THREE (organization-wide), McClure Elementary and Housing Partnership Network. Through over 15 REOC processes in the last three years, CURE has surveyed over 2,200 nonprofit employees and conducted over 50 focus groups, providing us with deep insights on the state of racial equity in nonprofit organizations. We look forward to sharing our learnings in 2022 with a new report and series of workshops and training opportunities.
  • Reflecting on Trends and Learnings – Throughout the year, CURE participated in webinars, podcasts and events including the Possible Project’s Talent Justice webinar series exploring how the social sector has underpaid, overworked, and endangered employees. In July, Borealis Philanthropy’s REACH program, of which CURE is a grantee, interviewed CURE’s President Dr. Judy Lubin on the resiliency of racial equity practitioners over a turbulent year. CURE also had a chance to chat with Hattaway Communications on the Achieve Great Things podcast. The conversation covered what racial equity looks like at work, how organizations can prioritize racial equity, and some of what Hattaway has learned through their work with CURE.
Promoting Equitable Policies and Community Change
  • Operationalizing Racial Equity in City Planning – Building on our commitment to equitable housing and community development, the CURE team supported the DC Office of Planning in applying a racial equity lens in neighborhood planning efforts for three Small Area Plans (SAPs) focused on economic development in predominantly Black Congress Heights and Pennsylvania Ave, SE and on expanding affordable housing in Chevy Chase. CURE provided training and facilitation of visioning sessions and racial equity workshops with agency staff, equity research and analysis, and recommendations on plans developed by the agency for each SAP. CURE’s work was part of ensuring that the SAPs align with requirements of the DC Council Office of Racial Equity (CORE)
  • Bringing Activist Perspectives to Child Welfare Professionals – In the summer, in partnership with ZERO TO THREE, CURE organized and facilitated a webinar on racial justice advocacy from service providers. The webinar, Expanding Our Definition of Services: Racial Justice Advocacy from Service Providers, featured Dawn-Marie Luna, Michelle Grier and Fallon Speaker. During the webinar, current and former service providers to families in the family regulation system offered perspectives on how to advocate for families from the vantage point of racial justice. Webinar participants learned about connecting families to legal/policy advocacy, prioritizing the rights of families during services, and movement building with families.
  • Media and Policy Advocacy –  As a trusted voice on racial equity, CURE had several opportunities to share our perspective with media on important topics including how to ensure an equitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines. CURE kicked off the year by joining a panel discussion during The Hill’s Race and Justice Imperative. The virtual event included conversations on race and racism, the conditions that perpetuate inequality, and why this moment could serve as a catalyst to help us unite and build a better nation.
    • In March we joined other advocates demanding justice following the horrendous events in Atlanta resulting in the death of eight people, including six Asian women.The tragedy is a reflection of the intersections of racism and sexism that often target sex workers, migrants, women, femmes, and other vulnerable populations. In September, we called out the Biden administration for the racist and dehumanizing treatment of Haitian asylum seekers at the border. The Biden administration’s continued use of Trump-era Title 42 represents a betrayal to its broader commitment to racial equity.
    • In the spring, CURE’s Dr. Judy Lubin appeared in a special televised event with actor and director Regina King along with Black women dermatologists for the Vaseline and BET Equitable Skincare For All campaign. During her appearance, Dr. Lubin highlighted the ways in which structural racism contributes to health inequities including disparities in treatment and care received by Black patients.
    • Recognizing the significance of the Build Back Better Act, CURE released, Five Ways the Build Back Better Plan Could Advance Racial Equity, a fact sheet, outlining how the historic investments proposed in the legislation, could direct critical resources to address deep health and economic inequities faced by Black and brown communities. Through transformational policies like the Child Tax Credit, universal pre-K, paid leave and significant expansion of health and social programs, the Build Back Better Act offered a concrete step toward building the “human infrastructure” needed to drive an equitable future and economy. While the bill passed the House with significant cuts and modifications, it is currently stalled in the Senate where the prospects of the legislation have dimmed.
In Case You Missed It

Throughout the year, CURE offered expert analysis on racial and health equity issues and events in several media outlets, including: American Heart Association News, Government Executive, and Haitian Times.

This year, CURE was awarded the Anna Julia Cooper Award by the District of Columbia Sociological Society for our work to find solutions and remedies to inequalities through our efforts to build anti-racist and racially equitable institutions, advocacy for policies that will produce greater equity, and research to explore how urban areas in the U.S. are combatting structural racism. We had the honor of attending the virtual awards event in October alongside other awardees. 

Happy New Year
We wish you a healthy and happy New Year!