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Meet Community Action Lehigh Valley’s Racial and Ethnic Justice team, from left to right in the photo above: Candace Moody, Kumari Ghafoor-Davis, Robyn Weaver, Jenilyn Rodriguez, and Olga Torres (seated)
Community Action Lehigh Valley staff and community partners recently announced the launch of the Color Outside the Lines initiative, a five- to seven-year strategic plan that seeks to address racial inequities and disparities. The nine areas of focus are housing, education, criminal justice, economic opportunity and employment, and quality of life (which encompasses health, mental health, arts and culture, and recreation).
The plan’s communities of focus are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and all other underserved communities. Color Outside the Lines was developed through a series of informed, communitywide conversations focusing on race, inclusion, humility, empathy, and cooperation. These conversations involved hundreds of people through forums, workshops, informal gatherings, community meetings, focus groups, conferences, and trainings within diverse sectors of the community.
Some institutions involved in the process include: Lehigh Valley Partnership, Lehigh Valley Justice Institute, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley, FACES International, Ortiz Art Foundation, Unidos Foundation, Project Equity, The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, Lehigh Valley Arts Council, and more. Collaborators are united behind a vision to make the Lehigh Valley a community that celebrates its diversity through developing mechanisms to open doors rather than close them.
The initiative’s name refers to the act of removing barriers that have historically been drawn to erase the value of people of color or thwart their access to opportunity, education, housing, a meaningful quality of life, employment, and equal rights. By choosing to color outside the lines, we embrace the notion that the way things have been done does not work for everyone. We all deserve fairness, equity, access, safety, and belonging. This work is building a better Lehigh Valley and a stronger community where we all are thriving.
Join a committee, review the plan, provide feedback, or donate! For more info, contact Candace Moody
at email@example.com or visit communityactionlv.org/cotl