Art in branding provided by The Arc Westchester’s Gallery 265, where artists with developmental disabilities demonstrate their talents in the community. Artist is Robert Vittorini.

Friday Keynote Session: Society at a Tipping Point: Race, Class, & The Way Forward with Wes Moore

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Continuing the Conversation

Learning Opportunities Related to the Race and Intergenerational Poverty


Race and the lack of intergenerational economic mobility in the United States
by Bradley Hardy and Trevon Logan

Points to Highlight

       “Intergenerational economic mobility—the likelihood that children achieve a higher standard of living than the household in which they were reared—varies considerably throughout the United States. In addition to the geographic variability of mobility, there also are significant racial and gender differences in mobility. Mobility, in short, is a complex nexus of individual, community, state, and national policies and circumstances.”

       “Scholars have long known that race is related to both intra- and intergenerational economic mobility—within a single generation and between multiple generations. Major research volumes have documented large black-white gaps in employment and incarceration, particularly among black males. Today, newer evidence demonstrates that the lack of black intergenerational income mobility is driven in large part by the extremely poor socioeconomic outcomes of black children, according to research by economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues at Harvard University.”

       “Research has documented several correlates of the large intergenerational mobility gap by race, each of which is important for policy. The presence of fathers is correlated with a lower black-white gap, as are marriage rates. And segregation, poverty, and education are all related to larger black-white gaps in mobility. Each of these underlying correlates is itself influenced by a number of existing policies, suggesting that changes in these policies could also change the trajectory of racial gaps in mobility.”

       “The crisis of intergenerational poverty and low socioeconomic outcomes among black Americans must be properly contextualized. Many black Americans have succeeded in the face of substantial adversity and labor market discrimination—and in spite of limited access to wealth, networks, connections, and educational opportunities. Still, exceptionalism in the face of adversity is not a sufficient policy prescription.”

●“Additional educational expenditures also have been shown to improve student outcomes and so should be taken seriously. Such expenditures should also expand social and employment services available within primary and secondary educational settings. In this way, policymakers could better direct resources toward families and aggressively target the link between income and educational achievement.”


21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge

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A Change Must Come: The Intersection of Intergenerational Poverty and Public Benefits

by Tricia Young

Points to Highlight    

       “Despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the United States continues on in its trend of passing on a low quality of life from one generation of the poor to the next—thereby exacerbating and perpetuating poverty into the foreseeable future. Intergenerational poverty, as this concept is aptly named, disproportionately impacts people of color. While poverty has many origins, this Article specifically discusses two public benefits that contribute to intergenerational poverty—Medicaid and Social Security Income. These public “benefits” permeate the country while simultaneously and disproportionately impacting communities of color.

       “It is consistently debated in the public discourse and on both sides of the political aisle, how to cut public benefits and which public benefits should be cut. However, the idea that our government will be able to simultaneously cut public benefits to reduce debt and still be able to help lower poverty is not only astoundingly nonsensical, but also oxymoronic. Eliminating or reducing public benefits does the exact opposite of addressing poverty. ”

       Although the purpose and principles of the SSI program appear to be race neutral, African Americans are disparately impacted. For example, African Americans are more likely to be disabled. Fourteen point four percent of AfricanAmericans are disabled in comparison to 12.6 percent in the total population.” In this regard, African Americans are more likely to depend on SSI for disability benefits. Additionally, the median earnings in 2014 “for people who worked fulltime, year-round were $44,000 for all workers, compared to $31,760 for African Americans and $30,000 for Hispanics.””

● “One of the most common misconceptions in the United States about poverty is that we can “pull [ourselves] up by [our] bootstraps.” It is a phrase that says to people that are poor that they should be able to resolve their needs independently, without government help and that their poverty is their fault. Yet, no suggestion is provided on how to accomplish the task of pulling oneself out of poverty. There is little to no acknowledgment that systematic racism has stacked barriers against people of color before they are even born.”