Spotlight Exclusives

A Call for a National Discussion on Kids, Race, and Opportunity

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Last week the Annie E. Casey Foundation held a major forum calling for a national focus on the needs of  all children, especially those of color. The Washington, D.C. event Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children included the release of new state and national data on how children are progressing on key milestones. The Race for Results index shows that at the national level, no one racial group has all children meeting all milestones. However, Latino, American-Indian, and African American children are doing worse across every state compared to their White and Asian and Pacific Islander counterparts.

Just weeks after the Obama administration launched My Brother۪s Keeper initiative, the forum echoed similar sentiments, noting that children of color disproportionately face obstacles that impede their future economic success. The challenges are often inextricably linked to growing up in poverty and in neighborhoods with limited resources and quality schools.

CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, who moderated the event, spoke about how opportunity continues to elude our nation۪s most vulnerable. “Part of what makes America special is the opportunity and the sense of fairness,” she said. “However, for kids of color, success is thwarted.” O’Brien recently left CNN to start her own production company, Starfish Media Group, to showcase stories of race, class, wealth, opportunity, and poverty.

O’Brien was joined by a panel of experts, including Sherry Salway Black, director of Partnership for Tribal Governance at the National Congress of American Indians; Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink; Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Meizhu Lui, author and independent consultant on racial wealth disparities; and Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. The panel touched on topics such as early childhood education, challenges facing American Indian children, immigration, and criminal justice reform.

The panelists argued that future efforts to improve outcomes for children and youth of color must address America۪s changing economy. “Equity is the superior growth model for the future,” Glover Blackwell said.

As part of its efforts to track the latest news and research on racial equity and poverty, Spotlight will continue to highlight examples of the momentum building around this issue.

Posted by Tamanna
Here at Out of the Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the latest news and information essential to anyone working to fight poverty. From key political appointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that doesn’t always make the evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for our take on the twists and turns of the latest political developments and their impact on poverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact or

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