Prioritizing Racial Equity: How Efforts to Advance Racial Equity Helped Shape the W.K. Kellogg Food & Fitness Initiative

Mary M Lee, Amanda Navarro
Health Promotion Practice 2018, 19 (1_suppl): 24S-33S
Racial equity is closely linked to principles of fairness and justice. It is distinct from the concept of racial equality. Community engaged strategies aimed at creating racial equity have generated effective ways to dismantle structural racism-the racialized policies and practices that have shaped economic and social institutions in the United States throughout its history. In crafting the Food & Fitness Initiative, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation made advancing racial equity a top priority. By doing so, it encouraged the community partnerships funded under the initiative to apply theories of expanding equity to real-world situations in order to reduce racial disparities in their neighborhoods. This article reviews the methods that were employed over the course of the initiative to support the partnerships with their efforts. It highlights three key components: (1) being intentional about maintaining a focus on racial equity, (2) concentrating on changing policies and systems, and (3) consistently incorporating meaningful and authentic community engagement into the work. The importance of making the concept of equity concrete and measurable is explored. Furthermore, the article discusses strategies that strengthened the capacity of the partnerships to navigate the policy-making process and to build leadership and shift power to community residents. The article concludes by detailing measures that could guide future efforts to make racial equity a priority and emphasizes that doing so is crucial given the rapid demographic shifts underway across the country.

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