Angela Blackwell on Equity

Jennifer Vanica | September 9, 2015

“If you don’t get the inclusion agenda right, you don’t have the right to stand as a model.”

In her speech, delivered at the Pittsburgh “p4” Conference (Planet, People, Place, Performance) on April 16, 2015, Angela Blackwell makes a brilliant and compelling case for “the why” behind the notion of all people participating, prospering, thriving and reaching their full potential. We know how, she contends, but as a country, we haven’t reached beyond the morale imperative for why inclusion is also a national and economic imperative. We need to lead with equity in order to tap the enormous human capital, become a democracy we are proud of, and achieve the economic potential that comes with all people participating.

We need to engage residents of our disinvested communities, not as potential consumers of services, but as citizens who are capable of taking charge of change in their own lives and in their communities. And help build an infrastructure to support and sustain that civic action, not as a touchy-feely idea that seems intuitively right, but because it achieves results AND because we are bold enough to stand on principle. Inclusion starts with us. Appreciating differences starts with us. Being willing to have our own world-views challenged and changed starts with us.

Meaningful and lasting change depends on the whole ecosystem working in direct relationship, staying open and real, embracing each other as people and not roles, contributing to a can-do spirit, embracing the challenges of change, and living out the values of involvement, inclusion and empowerment.

To Angela’s point — if we don’t get the inclusion agenda right ourselves, we will never have the right to say we have created models for equity, inclusion, and inspired action involving anyone else.

If we want an inclusive society, we need to practice walking around in the future we envision.

Let’s get going!

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