Racial Justice

The best way to advance policies to raise living standards for working people is for diverse groups to recognize that they share more in common than not. Since class identity has often been racialized, one of the greatest challenges to rebuilding the economic power of the working class lies in establishing multiracial solidarity on a national scale. It is important to remember that the same special interest groups that fund the opposition to policies such as the minimum wage and paid sick leave, and that support efforts to undermine collective bargaining power, are often the same ones aligned with support of voter suppression tactics that limit voting among people of color, low-income individuals, students, seniors, and people with disabilities. The best way to advance the needed economic policies is for diverse groups to recognize that they share more in common than not and work together to achieve their overlapping and intersecting agendas. Getting to that point requires honesty and a collective reckoning about race, white privilege, and institutional racism, with respect to the costs and benefits to each of us.

Advancing policies that address persistent racial disparities while also tackling class inequality will require abandoning the zero-sum mindset that says one group’s set of issues is totally distinct from and in direct competition with another’s. Overcoming this trap begins with defining a broader view of how all the issues are related. It will take a considerable amount of ongoing effort to shift the dominant narrative from one that divides the masses to one that creates a new world of possibilities that benefits all of us.

Publications

Publication

Data for the People

All Oregonians deserve to live in dignity — to enjoy economic security and the possibility to thrive. This is doable. Oregon, after all, is a prosperous place, with enough resources for everyone to live well.

But for a vast number of Oregonians today, economic security feels like an impossible dream. At a time when the income of the richest Oregonians has reached record highs, many low-paid Oregonians can’t afford basic necessities such as food, housing, and health care. Economic insecurity afflicts Oregonians of all races. As a result of an economy designed to benefit the white and wealthy, it is especially pronounced among Black, Indigenous and other Oregonians of color.

Data for the People provides the latest publicly-available data on the economic well-being of Oregonians. To better reflect the realities of particular communities, wherever possible we break down data by race and ethnicity using Race, Ethnicity, Language, and Disability (REAL-D) categories developed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). For more information about this process, as well as data sources used throughout, see our detailed methodology.

The data make clear the need for Oregon to create an economy that is more equitable in its prosperity. OCPP’s Action Plan for the People lays out a policy roadmap to shift the economic system to benefit all Oregonians, not just the wealthy few. We invite you to explore this data set.

Publication

Excluded Workers Demand Inclusion: $200 Million Investment is Essential Though Less than Half of What’s Needed

In this pivotal moment, DC policymakers must spend federal rescue funds in a timely way, with a laser focus on addressing the racial inequities that have excluded Black and brown communities from economic gains and left them more vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, federal policymakers excluded certain residents—including immigrants who are undocumented and workers in the informal cash economy—from federal relief that provides vital cash assistance to those who have lost income. Intentional investment is needed from DC policymakers to right this unfair exclusion and pursue an equitable and inclusive future for these workers.

Publication

Towards the Other Side: Past the Pandemic and Beyond to an Equitable Recovery

  • June 21, 2021
  • Nancy Wagman

Key Takeaways

  • Massachusetts ranked #1 nationally in measures of child well-being, but the state’s successes have been uneven.
  • Even before the pandemic, poverty rates for children of color and for children in Gateway Cities were double or more than the statewide average.
  • The pandemic hit communities unevenly and made disparities more stark.
  • Federal funds will help repair the damage caused by the pandemic.
  • The state budget will be a critical tool for building beyond recovery towards true equity.