Why Race Matters
Racial Equity Leads to Prosperity
When a region is equitable, it means all the residents—no matter their neighborhood, gender, race, ethnicity, income, age or ability—are able to access and appreciate the resources of the area. Equitable regions are prosperous, and they experience stronger, more sustained growth.
Unfortunately, people of color have been systematically excluded from the opportunity to have a quality education, attain economic self-sufficiency and wealth, participate fully in society, and live in good health. Structural barriers limit the ability of people of color to fully contribute, and so the entire community misses out on their gifts, talents, and contributions.
Pinellas County Data Shows:
Within Pinellas County, only 69% of kids pass Kindergarten.
These findings are disproportionate by race (Black) and geography.
26% of Black individuals and households live in poverty.
This is compared to 11% of White individuals and households who are White.
Infant mortality is 2.6x as high for Black babies.
This is compared to infant mortality rates for White babies.
Healing from Our History
From an absence of affordable housing and fresh food to inadequate medical care—many Pinellas County residents lack access to the basic building blocks of a healthy life. In a modern society, these barriers to health should not exist, and for many who do not experience these challenges firsthand (see privilege) it’s easier to imagine these and other circumstances are tied to personal choices. The reality is that inequity is written into the very fabric of our society, intentionally designed to limit the opportunities and potential for people of color in our country.
We have all inherited our nation’s history of systemic racism. When we incorporate race into our world-view, we are better able to address the issues we face and find sustainable solutions.
The Path Forward
Just as society worked to build barriers that impact people of color, we can dismantle them. Your contributions may include lived experience, time, energy, or a voice to vote for better policies. What is good for one part of the community is proven to help the community as a whole. Healthy people – leading fuller, longer lives – build stronger, more stable communities.
The Foundation believes that by uplifting BIPOC and solving for long-term systems change, there will be a decrease in morbidity and mortality rates (how often and badly someone is sick, and at what age we die). When race no longer becomes the most prominent variable to explain differences experienced by Pinellas residents, we will have achieved racial equity.
It’s a long road, but progress is being made every day through the work of funded partners, systems leaders and people like you.