Need for the Advocacy Program
Many individuals and organizations in the community are unaware of the status of African-Americans and other persons in our community, and of how they are inequitably impacted by various public policies, practices and issues in areas such as education, employment, and criminal justice. This often results in prejudice, discrimination and other misunderstandings, which may lead to hostility and conflict between members of the various groups.
Even when individuals and organizations in the community are aware of racial and other inequities, and would like to see them eliminated, they are often unaware of what steps could be taken to bring about the desired changes.
The purpose of the Urban League’s Advocacy Program is to intervene in the “business as usual” of local institutions when necessary to remove barriers that prevent African Americans and others from attaining their full human potential and from participating fully in all aspects of community life.
Our Advocacy Program provides aggressive leadership to deal with ongoing cultural and institutional racism. This includes assessing the impact of both public and private sector issues, policies and practices on the minority community, providing input and assistance in developing more equitable institutions, and holding community leaders, agencies and organizations accountable for their policies, decisions and actions. It may also entail collecting and presenting information on the barriers which prevent members of the ethnic minority groups from attaining their full human potential and from participating fully in all aspects of community life.
The impact of this program is attainment of more equitable participation and results by African Americans and others in the areas of literacy, academic achievement, employment, income, home ownership, net worth, welfare participation, incarceration, life expectancy, voter participation, etc.
As a result of increased community understanding of the causes, conditions and possible remedies of racial and other inequities in our community, individuals as well as public and private organizations are better able to take action to eliminate them, should they choose to do so.
The community at large has increased opportunities for exposure to the viewpoints, concerns and experiences of African-Americans and other low-income and minority persons. Greater exposure to differing experiences and points of view may help increase the understanding and reduce the levels of prejudice, discrimination, hostility and conflict among the various groups.
This program coordinated the publication of the State of Black Fort Wayne (SoBFW), and oversaw it’s distribution throughout the community, and worked through the Advocacy Committee in organizing community forums to share and discuss the content of the document.
The CEO follows legislative and other issues that impact our constituency and drafts agency analyses and position statements. These are published in the local news media and sent to appropriate officials in order to inform the public of our constituency’s concerns and viewpoints.