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Jan. 6 should be a lasting reminder that American democracy is fragile

A Just Economy requires fair elections

A year ago, supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol. They wanted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election that Joe Biden won.

The Jan. 6 coup failed, but the danger it posed to American democracy continues. Voting rights are under attack across the nation through changes to state laws and elections administration that could enable local political appointees or state legislatures to manipulate voting, restrict access or even overturn results. They won’t need a riot.

At NCRC, we work on how to make a just economy a national priority and a local reality. We focus on ending discrimination in lending and housing, expanding access to homeownership and opportunities for all Americans to earn and accumulate wealth and live well. Among other things, we’re working to end the racial wealth divide and to make racial equity an explicit objective of the Community Reinvestment Act, and a compliance requirement for lenders.

But without fair elections and representative government, aspirations for fairness and equity in everyday life will fall to the whims of liars, extremists and authoritarians. A Just Economy requires a trusted, inclusive and accessible democracy. That needs to be ensured everywhere, and that’s why we need stronger federal protections for the integrity of elections. Voter suppression is nothing new for America, but its resurgence is. 

Congress should pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to outlaw racial voter discrimination and to ensure that everyone can vote in safe, accessible and transparent elections.

Jan. 6 should be a day of remembrance for the violence of 2021, and a reminder that even our grandest democratic principles and institutions are fragile, even Congress and the presidency. It’s also a day to remind ourselves and our leaders that we need to continuously protect, strengthen and celebrate participation in democracy, punish suppression of voting rights and ensure sound, trusted voting systems. That’s among the principles of the Just Economy Pledge and we hope you’ll sign and share that widely. Here’s the link to read our full pledge, and then share it with your friends and professional contacts: www.justpledge.org

Andrew Nachison is NCRC’s Chief Communications and Marketing Officer.

Photo by Blink O’fanaye on Flickr.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

Complete the form to download the full report: