The regional equity initiative Eley oversees has been taking form since 2016, but it is coming together at a time when the deaths of Black residents at the hands of police have forced a reckoning over racial inequality nationwide.
“National events help to encourage greater sensitivity to local issues that may have been less visible,” said Eley. “Also, they help to motivate varying interests to be proactive, rather than wait for a local crisis to act.”
Eley said other regions have proven that equity planning can make an impact. The ReGenesis Project in Spartanburg, South Carolina, turned a $20,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant into a community-driven revitalization of long-neglected neighborhoods that eventually yielded $300 million in investment.
“Carlton’s role is critical to our agency and to our region,” MVRPC Executive Director Brian Martin said.
“The current national dialogue is confirmation that the Miami Valley is not unique in terms of racism and inequity,” Martin said. “What does make us unique is that our region has researched this issue since 2016 and we are making investments to address past racism and inequities.”