July 2020 marks one year since the Economic Mobility Policy Forum began! It’s been a crazy year – and the spring of 2020 felt like a year on it’s own – but we’ve learned a lot along the way. When we held our first set of live sessions, we didn’t realize just how relevant some of the topics we discussed would prove to be.
In October 2019, we heard from Johns Hopkins University’s Dr. Nathan Connolly, whose live session focused on seemingly “common sense solutions” were actually predicated on the interests of the white and wealthy, and served to further marginalize Black individuals and communities. We didn’t know then that the streets this summer would be lined with protestors seeking to dismantle the white supremacist status quo when we held that October session.
Additionally, when we held a Live Session on measuring equity last September, we had no idea that the COVID-19 pandemic was right around the corner. Our most watched recording to date, the session focused on how cities can infuse equity into their work by tracking outcomes by demographics. During the pandemic, cities have been called on to use the very concepts they’ve discussed in sessions to identify and address disparate outcomes in communities of color.
We also did not know when we launched our virtual network that the pandemic would soon make online communities central to work life. As a fully online community, the Economic Mobility Policy Forum was able to respond immediately to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a space for members to talk and brainstorm with their peers during a difficult shift in their duties. In March, we held a live conversation on COVID-19 with Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, allowing practitioners to directly ask an expert about the pandemic and their city’s response. A series of sessions during the spring focused on demographic disparities, food insecurity and broadband access in light of the pandemic.
One year later, we’re proud of how far we’ve come. In just one year of the Policy Forum:
- We’ve held more than 14 interactive discussions.
- We’ve benefited from the expertise of our inaugural class of Policy Fellows – Julius Moss, Robbyn Lewis, Deanna Belleny and Catherine Crago Blanton. We thank them for sharing their expertise and ideas with us as we prepare to bring on a new class of Fellows.
- We’ve connected more than 100 Policy Forum members from around the country
- We’ve held lively, challenging discussions around economic mobility, poverty reduction, food insecurity and more.
It’s been a challenging, exciting year for the Economic Mobility Policy Forum – and we can’t wait to see what the next year brings.