Welcome to Equidad ATX
Thriving Communities Everywhere. No Barriers. No Boundaries.
The convenient truth is that Austin is a great city. For the third year in a row US News and World Report have declared ATX to be the #1 city in the US. And other sources confirm ATX as the number 1 city for college graduates, seniors, job seekers, and retirees. But there is also an inconvenient truth about our beloved region — a tale inside that ATX. Several years ago, Dr. Richard Florida announced ATX as the #1 large metro area for economic segregation. And sadly we are the #2 city for the suburbanization of poverty; 21% of our youth live in poverty; and ATX is the only large MSA whose Black population decreased as the overall population grew.
This tale of two cities, while heartbreaking, is not surprising, rather it is a natural consequence of the Austin City Council’s 1928 Master Plan that forced Blacks, and subsequently Hispanics, from the homes and communities of their choosing and moved them east of East Avenue (present day IH35). This was their solution to “the Negro Problem” — the creation of the “Negro District”. But adequate and equivalent infrastructure, services and amenities did not follow those moves. And years later in 1957, a new city council reaffirmed their predecessors’ intentional and institutional focus on inequity. So it is no surprise today that deep racial disparities in health and wellness, education, jobs, wealth, and housing continue to be embedded in the ATX’s Eastern Crescent (EC).
If the convenient truth is to be truth for all ATXers, then we must be intentional about developing equitable and holistic communities in the EC. More intentional than previous leaders were about creating the Negro District. One tool that should be in our tool box is place-based planning — equitable and holistic community development that incorporates public-private strategic partnerships infused at its core with inclusive, authentic community engagement. PurposeBuiltCommunities is a proven placed-based initiative and we, Equidad ATX, have brought it to Austin.
Equidad, the Spanish word for “equity” was chosen to emphasize the pressing need to overcome a 90-year legacy of intentional segregation, discrimination, institutional racism and systemic inequities in the EC’s neighborhoods. Our purpose is to serve as a catalyst for collaboration among neighborhood leaders and community stakeholders to accelerate holistic, equitable and sustainable neighborhood revitalization, and disrupt the structural cycle of generational poverty.
We envision thriving, inclusive neighborhoods with:
- A wide range of housing choices that are affordable for people of all income levels.
- A cradle-to-career education pipeline.
- Community wellness that includes quality health resources, access to affordable healthy food, recreation and other quality of life opportunities.
- Community-serving and community-owned economic development and workforce development strategies; and living-wage paying jobs.
Our values include equity, place-based approach, a strengths-based perspective, cultural humility, and listening to and learning from neighborhood residents. We believe that status quo is not an option and the resources — human, financial and otherwise — are available to create what Dr. King referred to as Beloved Communities throughout the EC. Our first area of focus is Colony Park and we invite you to stay tuned for future posts for updates on pending health and wellness, educational and retail initiatives. No barriers. No boundaries. Thriving communities everywhere.