Center for Social Inclusion Annual Report

1 Mission Statement 2 Letter from Maya Wiley 4 Communications: a. Diversity Advancement Project b. Stop Dog Whistle Racism 6 Leadership: The Alston Bannerman Leadership Initiative 7 Ideas: New York 8 Feature: CSI in the South a. CSI Welcomes Cassandra Welchlin b. Promoting Sustainable Growth in Columbia, SC c. Helping Black Families Keep Their Land d. Gulf Coast Leaders Form Regional Alliance e. Supporting Education Reform in Mississippi 12 CSI Advisory Board 12 CSI Staff 13 CSI Donors

About the Center for Social Inclusion
The Center for Social Inclusion works with communities of color and other allies to develop ideas, tools and strategies for dismantling structural racism and increasing well-being for all. Structural racism is the accumulation of practices and policies that collectively deny people of color adequate resources and equal opportunities to thrive. It hits communities of color first and hardest, but ultimately, it harms everyone, by undermining the social infrastructure that we all rely on. Addressing structural racism requires careful analysis of multiple policies, institutions, and the interactions between them. It also requires an understanding of how structural racism harms us all, and a strong multi-racial movement advocating for new policy directions that create equity and opportunity. CSI’s work with local and national allies builds all three, on a foundation of strategic and overlapping pillars of work: Ideas – through applied research and community consultation, we develop policy proposals that translate strategic ideas into concrete plans for structural transformation with equity. Leadership – we support the ability of community leaders to impact policy debates that affect their communities and perpetuate structural racism. Communications – we develop tools and strategies for productive public conversations about race.


A Message from Maya Wiley

In the hard times, will there also be singing? Yes, there will be singing About the hard times – Bertolt Brecht

A friend of mine, Akwasi Aidoo, founder and Executive Director of Trust Africa, sent me this quote from Brecht. It was, he said, some solace. We are in hard times and we are in transformative times. It is an understatement to say that 2008 has been an historic year. And we at CSI, like others, have been trying to sing about the possibility of transformation in these times that muzzle us with uncertainty. It seems fitting, in this year in which this nation elected its first African American president, in which civic engagement reached new heights and in which our financial, environmental and social challenges are almost unprecedented, that CSI presents our first annual report. It comes at the end of our sixth year of existence and at a time of extraordinary growth for the organization. When I started CSI, I had one grant from the Open Society Institute, and no office or staff. Today, our budget has surpassed $1 million, and we are a staff of nine working not only nationally, but also with a regional presence in the South.


This historic year of hard times and transformational hope brought new opportunities that have us redefining CSI’s strategies. From mapping opportunity and race in the greater New York City metropolitan area to expanding programs and presence in the South, with the hiring of a Director of Southern Programs based in Jackson, MS, our geographic work is strategically focused. In a year in which our national dialogue on race was more active and, at times, more destructive, we expanded our work around talking effectively about race with Stop Dog Whistle Racism, an online project to monitor and publicize the ways that appeals to racial hostility undermine honest political debates. And we began to lay the groundwork for big new projects that will build the capacity of communities of color to thrive in a changing environment and economy and to strengthen the nation as a whole (more on that next year!). It is hard to overstate the possibilities and challenges that 2009 brings. If we work together collectively and strategically to understand the role that race plays in our structural arrangements and to build a broad, multi-racial progressive movement that truly understands our connectedness across race, gender, sexuality and class, we will have a chorus singing different parts, but in harmony. We will write together a new song we can all sing. We look forward to singing with old partners and new in the coming year to make transformation a reality.

Maya Wiley Executive Director

The Diversity Advancement Project tests strategies for challenging ‘colorblind’ race frames.

The political right has a strategy. Quietly, without direct reference to race in America, it works to undermine policies that advance racial justice, even when they benefit us all across races. Progressives have been stymied by this attack. We have at times allowed the right to define policies of racial justice as “preferential” or “unfair.” We have not had a strategic response to attacks on universal policies like welfare that use race to divide us and undermine support for the social safety net. Today more than ever, we struggle against the notion that ours is a ”colorblind” society, when in fact people of color are much more likely to live in poverty, to be exposed to environmental hazards, to bear the brunt of everything from global warming to the subprime-fueled financial meltdown. In short, we cannot make lasting advances towards justice if we do not find more effective ways to talk about race. CSI’s Diversity Advancement Project (DAP), a project in partnership with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, tests strategies for breaking the frames used by the right and building new ways to advocate for racial justice. Last year, DAP released results from field tests that use “frame-breaking” strategies to confront the four prevalent cognitive frames that undermine support for race-conscious policies:
• There are no racial disparities anymore • Racial disparities are caused by individual/community failings • It is inevitable that some people will be at the bottom of the pecking order • Though disparities exist, it is unfair to provide assistance on the basis of race.


“In test results released in the past year,” according to CSI Advocacy Coordinator Lynne Wolf, “we’ve found that you have to cover all bases: when you give people information challenging some but not all of the frames, support for policies to address racial inequality actually declines. But challenging all four frames increases support by 20%.”

CSI Launches Election Monitoring Project It has been 20 years since the “Willie Horton” political advertisement attacking Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as soft on crime launched the first President Bush into the White House. Much has changed since then, but the tactic epitomized by that ad – symbolic appeals to racial fears – remains potent. Social scientists call it “symbolic racism” – subtle exploitation of unconscious racial biases to win political campaigns and policy debates. They have shown that these tacit appeals work when they manipulate the unconscious fears of viewers, but only so long as the message is not explicit. This year, given the historic nature of the Presidential campaign and its impact on the debate about race in America, CSI launched a project to monitor and publicize symbolic racism, and more broadly to capture all the ways that race is used as a weapon in political and policy debates. “Real social justice, ultimately, requires that we talk about race well in public conversations, not avoid it,” says CSI Director Maya Wiley. “The manipulation of subconscious stereotypes is a major obstacle to our ability as a nation to find solutions to our most pressing problems. We must understand how symbolic racism works, and how we can most effectively confront it.” CSI will release a report on its findings in 2009; in the meantime, the data that we gathered during the electoral season is available at


This fellowship will support creative thinking to generate transformational ideas for the field and for the nation.
LEAdERShIp: SuppoRtInG CoMMunIty oRGAnIzERS of CoLoR
Who was it that said: “like community organizing, but with actual responsibilities?” Someone who doesn’t understand the impact of community organizers and the role they play in helping others find their own leadership abilities. Someone who fails to grasp that community organizing is critical to a truly democratic society. We understand. In January 2008, CSI incorporated the Alston Bannerman Program, which supports organizers of color working in their communities. Alston Bannerman was formed by the New World Foundation in recognition of the critical, under-appreciated role that organizers play, day after day, from crisis to crisis, in communities hard hit by structural racism, globalization, and systematic neglect. Madeleine Adamson has coordinated the program since its inception. She says: “These leaders are truly national heroes, making great sacrifices to improve the lives of their neighbors and to fulfill the promise of democracy.” For 20 years, Alston Bannerman has offered sabbaticals for study, travel, reflection and rest to support the retention of leaders in the field. CSI is continuing this important program and building much more. In 2009, CSI is launching a structured research initiative to allow veteran organizers to reflect on critical problems facing communities of color. Too often, critical thinkers are not given the resources they need to move from reactive to proactive strategy mode. This fellowship will support creative thinking to generate transformational ideas for the field and for the nation. To the same end, we will also work to develop a multi-racial activist network, with Alston Bannerman alumni at the core, to collaborate nationally on strategies for promoting equality and opportunity.


“Alston Bannerman changes CSI in very exciting ways,” says Director Maya Wiley. “Building the advocacy capacity of community groups is essential to real social change. Through this Initiative, we can create a network for generating and disseminating the ideas for policy reform that are key to a truly just and fair society.”

IdEAS: undERStAndInG thE poLICy GEoGRAphy of nEW yoRK CIty
Metropolitan regions are central economic and social units, but most are deeply fragmented politically. The New York City metropolitan region is no different. Made up of thirty counties in three states, it is diverse and segregated. It is dynamic and stagnating. It is in constant demographic flux, driven by immigration, economic opportunity and pressures, and by zoning, fiscal and other policy decisions at the city and state levels. How do these dynamics impact different communities? In 2008, a CSI study found a systematically inequitable distribution of resources across New York City and the region as a whole. The study used a technique called “opportunity mapping” to match data on the racial demographics of the region with data on where vital resources are located. It allowed us to show that people of color are more likely to be isolated from medical facilities, jobs, good schools, banks and other necessary services. “The findings are stark,” says CSI Researcher Jacob Faber, who performed the mapping analysis. “As New York has become more prosperous for some, people of color have been increasingly pushed to the side, unable to afford neighborhoods that offer all the things that a community needs to thrive.” As communities of color increasingly make up the majority of residents, this should send up a red flag to policy makers. CSI will work with allies to disseminate our findings and develop policy prescriptions in the coming year.


What we have in mind is nothing less than a new, progressive Southern Strategy, one that will build a broad movement for real social justice with racial equity.
CSI In thE South
The South is changing. More than half of the nation’s African Americans now live in the South, and immigrant populations are growing exponentially in some parts of the region. These demographic changes, increasingly, mean new political possibilities in the region and beyond. CSI has always been committed to work in the South, and over the past year we have significantly deepened our engagement there. Accordingly, this annual report highlights the work that embodies our ambitious commitment to build the capacity of communities of color in the region. “The South is key to the success or failure of the broad progressive agenda,” says Maya Wiley. “We have several projects in the region, but ultimately, they are parts of one whole. What we have in mind is nothing less than a new, progressive Southern Strategy, one that will build a broad movement for real social justice with racial equity.”

CSI Welcomes Cassandra Welchlin Last summer, CSI hired Cassandra Welchlin as Director of Southern Programs. A long-time community activist born and raised in Jackson, MS, Cassandra will oversee and develop CSI’s work in the region. “I am thrilled that Cassandra is joining us,” says Maya Wiley. “She brings deep relationships with leaders in Mississippi and the region, and as a former consultant for CSI, she has a been an important resource for our work. It is a very big expansion of our capacity and our impact in the South.” Cassandra has worked with many prominent organizations in the region, including Southern Echo, the MS Youth Justice Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Mississippi NAACP, the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative, and Oxfam America. She has a background in social work and a Master’s Degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University.

Promoting Sustainable Growth in Columbia, SC The Columbia, SC metropolitan region is marked by stark contrasts: the open land of undeveloped rural areas is sometimes just across the city line from dense urban neighborhoods. Extremes of poverty and affluence also divide the region. In many ways, zoning and growth are at the heart of these disparities. In 2004, CSI began working with rural communities in the region to ensure that growth in Columbia does not leave them behind. We examined a plan for regional development and concluded that the plan would entrench poverty in rural communities. Since then, we have worked with community leaders to develop equitable and sustainable alternatives to guide regional growth. In January 2008, we released Growing Together: Thriving People for a Thriving Columbia, a report showing how investment in rural parts of the metropolitan region could benefit all residents. The report highlights shocking disparities between wealthy suburbs and poor rural communities that lack basic services like water and sewer lines. While pointing out that these disparities fall largely along racial lines, it also emphasizes the environmental and economic threat they pose to the region as a whole. “The exciting thing about the report is that it offers solutions that would create not only a more equitable region, but one at the cutting edge of ecologically sustainable growth,” says Advocacy Coordinator Lynne Wolf, a primary author of the report. “The farmlands in Columbia are a tremendous resource that could benefit the entire region through organic farming, biofuel production and through the land’s potential for geothermal energy.”

The farmlands in Columbia are a tremendous resource that could benefit the entire region through organic farming, biofuel production and through the land’s potential for geothermal energy.


The fact that many African American families in the South can no longer maintain farmland that has typically been in the family for generations represents a drastic loss of economic opportunity.
Helping Black Families Keep Their Land An issue at the heart of our work in South Carolina and the region as a whole is black land loss. The fact that many African American families in the South can no longer maintain farmland that has typically been in the family for generations represents a drastic loss of economic opportunity. In 2008, CSI launched a broad effort to support projects that help Black landowners in the South stay on their land. The project, supported by the Ford Foundation, will work with a host of organizations that address Black land loss to develop an understanding of the most effective means to preserve land-ownership, and it will bring organizations together to collaborate and share ideas and strategies across the region. The project will conclude in late 2010. Says Cassandra Welchlin: “For most people across history, land has been the primary resource. As it becomes more and more difficult to maintain a family farm in the U.S., African Americans across the South are losing their land in increasing numbers, land that in many cases has been in the family since Reconstruction. Unchecked, this trend will obliterate a way of life and will have unimaginable consequences for communities of color.” Gulf Coast Leaders Form Regional Alliance Over the past year, CSI has worked with advocates in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to form an effective regional platform to demand equitable rebuilding in Gulf Coast states. The initiative, the Gulf Coast Leaders Network, was launched in mid-2007 and includes leaders from a range of issue-based organizations in various geographic areas of the states. Network members have been meeting frequently to build connections across the region and develop a shared analysis and strategy to support national and state-wide policy reforms. “Working with these amazing leaders gives me a lot of hope,” says Project Associate Lynda Turet, who has taken primary responsibility for developing the Network. “Their enthusiasm and strategic thinking is creating a truly regional and long-term approach to equitable policy for Gulf Coast states.”

With the Network, CSI is developing a new project, Building Resiliency In Communities (BRIC), which will advocate for federal disaster preparedness grants directly to community groups. The organizations would use the funds to develop plans and resources to ensure that our most vulnerable communities are able to mobilize, survive and rebuild when the next disaster hits. Supporting Education Reform in Mississippi Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the U.S., and it ranks 48th in educational attainment. But communities across the state are mobilizing, and have pushed the state legislature to improve funding for public schools in the state. Ensuring that funding decisions take race into account is essential to producing fair opportunities and educational improvements that will benefit the state as a whole. “Education in Mississippi is a classic example of why race cannot be conflated with class,” says Maya Wiley. “You can look at education funding from a variety of perspectives and find no differences across groups – teacher salaries are comparable in rural and urban areas, for instance. But race tells a different story: schools that are predominantly Black have less money for salaries and cannot compete for highly qualified educators.” CSI is undertaking a capacity scan in the state, Mississippi Leadership for Education Advocacy Development (MS-LEAD). Looking at the state of education reform efforts in the state, MS-LEAD will focus on the capacity and needs of organizations working in this area, on the relationships between advocates, opinion leaders and elected officials, and on the current political context and its impact on the prospects for reform. “MS-LEAD is a really exciting effort to understand the important work being done in my state and the needs of organizations that are leading the charge for fairness in education,” says Cassandra Welchlin. “I am hopeful that this research will help connect advocates to one another and help to develop the strategic support that they need to succeed.”

Ensuring that funding decisions take race into account is essential to producing fair opportunities and educational improvements that will benefit the state as a whole.


Board of Advisors
Catherine Albisa
Director National Economic and Social Rights Initiative

Madeleine Adamson
Project Coordinator, Alston Bannerman Leadership Initiative

Gayle Perkins Atkins
Former Broadcast Journalist Donor/Activist

Natalie Almonte
Office Manager

Ludovic Blain III
Director of Special Projects (through 12/08)

Roger Clay
President Insight Center for Community Economic Development

Yesenia Bran
Administrative Assistant

Colin Greer
President New World Foundation

Jacob Faber

Richard Healey
President The Grassroots Policy Project

Mafruza Khan
Deputy Director (through 4/08)

Connie Cagampang Heller

Devon Kearney
Associate Director

Mahdis Keshavarz
Principal The MaKe Agency

Lynda Turet
Project Associate

Idelisse Malavé
Former Executive Director The Tides Foundation

Cassandra Welchlin
Director of Southern Programs

Maya Wiley

john a. powell
Executive Director Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Ohio State University

Lynne Wolf
Advocacy Coordinator (through 2/09)

Ramon Ramirez
President Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN)

Ron Shiffman
Professor Pratt Institute

layout & design: SGNET Solutions, NYC Photographs courtesy of Harvey Finkle and Brett Flashnick


CSI donors
The following foundations and individuals provided support to the Center for Social Inclusion between November 2007 and October 2008

Swati Agarwal Akonadi Foundation The Boston Foundation Francisco Cabanillas Quinn Delaney and Wayne Jordan Democracy Alliance Member Donors (anonymous, 6) Deborah Drysdale FACT Brett Flashnick Ford Foundation Darrick Hamilton Connie and Jonathan Heller The Hess Family Daciano Lamparas* Greg and Maria Jobin Leeds The W. K. Kellogg Foundation J. Livingston Kosberg J. McDonald Williams Fund of the Dallas Foundation Beatriz Maya* Rob McKay The New World Foundation*

The One World Fund The Open Society Institute Oxfam America Richard L. Pearlstone* Doug Phelps Public Welfare Foundation* Quixote Foundation Deborah Sagner Susan Sandler and Steve Phillips Schooner Foundation Schott Foundation Southern Partners Fund* The Starry Night Fund The Surdna Foundation Robert Turner and Stephanie Barton* The Twenty-First Century Foundation Steve Viederman* Phillip and Kate Villers Robin P. Wolaner Sue Oy Wong Paul Youn
* Donation to the Alston Bannerman Leadership Initiative

Revenue Grants and Contributions Contracts, Fees and Honoraria total Revenue Expenses Personnel Consultants Travel/Convenings Fellowships Administration total expenses $705,413.55 $51,911.50 $97,111.88 $51,153.91 $279,316.55 $1,184,907.39 $1,503,330.00 $153,513.87 $1,656,843.87

The Center for Social Inclusion
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