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Race & Identity

Build With, Not For: A #CivicTech Manifesto

July 3, 2014

Crafting high-quality civic technology — projects and tools designed withsocial impact in mind — requires thought, creativity, and intentionality — the strength to ask:

“Will this project actually have social impact? Is it being designed for the social/cultural/political context in which it will be implemented? And if not, what steps do we need to take and what people do we need to substantially involve to get there?”

So You Think You Want to Run a Hackathon? Think Again. (A Case Study on #CivicTech Events)

June 23, 2014

This article is an excerpt from a longer piece originally posted on Medium. Click here for the full story.


“Hackathons.” That’s one of the most popular answers to a question you haven’t asked yet: How do you organize your local tech community to do X/attend Y/engage with Z?

Asset Building News Week, April 28-May 2

May 2, 2014
Publication Image The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include the racial wealth gap, the American Dream, and public assistance.

The Federal Budget Widens the Racial Wealth Gap

December 12, 2013
Publication Image Yesterday, the Center for Global Policy Solutions hosted a webinar to discuss the relationship between the racial wealth gap and the federal budget. At a time when the structure of the federal budget contributes to the perpetuation of the racial wealth gap, rather than the elimination of it, finding asset-based solutions to address this inequity are urgently needed. Both panelists, James Carr, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and our own Justin King, Policy Director of the Asset Building Program, agreed that current federal policies too often exacerbate racial inequality and consequently negatively affect the American economy and body politic.

Upcoming Webinar: Finding Solutions to Address the Racial Wealth Gap through the Federal Budget

December 9, 2013
Publication Image This Wednesday, the Center for Global Policy Solutions will host a webinar with the purpose of exploring how federal asset-building programs affect communities of color. The federal budget includes several asset-building provisions that are intended to help citizens build savings and develop wealth, but whose impact on communities of color is limited.

Settlement Resolves Latest Allegation of Racially Discriminatory Lending

November 6, 2013
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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) put out a press release yesterday detailing a settlement they've reached with a mortgage lender, called MortgageIT, Inc. The release and attached Conciliation Agreement depict a consistent trend of race-based discrimination woven throughout the mortgage loan process.

From the release:

A HUD review of MortgageIT’s 2007 and 2008 internal loan data alleged that African American and Hispanic borrowers paid APRs [Annual Percentage Rates] that were eight to ten basis points higher, on average than similarly-situated white borrowers. In addition, HUD alleged that African American borrowers were 65 percent and Hispanic borrowers 72 percent more likely to receive higher priced loans than similarly-situated white borrowers, African American and Hispanic borrowers also allegedly paid, on average, $707 and $906 more in fees, respectively. HUD also alleged that African-American applicants were 45 percent more likely to be denied a mortgage loan than similarly-situated white borrowers.  Hispanic applicants were allegedly 35 percent more likely to be denied.

To summarize, black and Latino borrowers, who were in roughly equivalent financial situations, were allegedly charged more up front in fees than white borrowers, given less favorable loan terms, and sometimes denied a loan altogether. The agreement notes that in 9 percent of cases with a black borrower and 15 percent of cases with a Latino/Hispanic borrower, the borrower paid $5000 or more in excess fees (that is, above that which a similarly-situated white person would have paid). The settlement does not fully quantify the magnitude of economic impact these practices had. For example, did borrowers denied a loan based on their race go on to successfully get loans elsewhere? What impact did paying an extra $700 to $5000 in fees have on a family's long-term financial stability?

Asset Building News Week for June 10-14

June 14, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include racial inequality, retirement, food security, and financial services.

Housing Discrimination: Racialized, Persistent, and Hard for Victims to Detect

June 12, 2013
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This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and its research partner the Urban Institute released a new report documenting the ongoing presence of housing discrimination against people of color in the U.S. rental and home buying markets. The lengthy report and its more digestible executive summary are available here for download while a press release from HUD is available here.

In short, the report finds that violations of the U.S. fair housing laws remain all too common and contribute to broader race-based inequalities. As HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said at the report release event, documenting the prevalence and dynamics of housing discrimination is an important part of ensuring that our country is living up to the ideals of equality of opportunity that we aspire to uphold. Donovan points out that while housing discrimination has become more “subtle,” this does not diminish its severity as a driver of inequity. The numbers in the report may seem abstract, but they represent, he said, families “denied a fair shot at the American dream.”

Event Summary: Race and Wealth Inequality in the Post-Election Political Environment

November 15, 2012
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The Insight Center for Community Economic Development brought together experts from a wide array of policy and politics backgrounds to discuss issues of wealth inequality and racial disparities at an event this week titled “Race and Wealth Inequality in the Post-Election Political Environment.” By exploring issues of wealth and income from the perspectives of various racial groups, the commentators were able to shed light on the post-election prospects of important policy areas that were not explicitly raised by either candidate during the campaign season. Yet despite the conspicuous lack of electoral attention to vast racialized wealth disparities, all of the commentators expressed optimism about the possibilities for successful policy initiatives in the post-election landscape.

New America NYC: Color Blind: Does Race Matter in Electoral Politics?

October 11, 2012
The election of the first black president in 2008 felt historic - and meaningful - for all Americans: Finally, the guy sitting in the oval office understood what it was like to be different. The marginalized and misunderstood felt they had an ally at the top. But how has race really impacted public policy and political participation?
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