A New Deal for Families of Color

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

By Moira Bowman, Movement Building Director

Just yesterday, my colleague Yvonne Tran and I were doing some fact checking to prepare for a workshop Yvonne is leading at Applied Research Center’s Facing Race Conference happening this week. Part of our “What’s Family Got to Do With It?” workshop is about how the concept of family has been defined over the years in public policy. We were thinking about the New Deal – a number of policies that got passed during the Great Depression when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. It was during that time that new policies were put in place around housing, jobs, welfare, and social security to aid and support American families who were suffering. Well, some families…

In a blog post from last year on new deal 2.0, Meizhui Lui pointed out,

“As is often true in American history, there is another less visible story line. The truth of the matter is that the New Deal era programs pulled many white families up from the Depression, while pitifully few families of color received such aid.”

In her article, For Families of Color, New Deal – or Same Old Shuffle, Lui goes on to give examples of ways in which families of color were left behind by housing loans, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Works Progress Administration and other programs. We know that history has a tendency of repeating itself so we are using our Strong Families initiative to both understand the history of families of color in the U.S. as well as to lift up the “less visible story line” of families of color at the present moment.

This week, Yvonne is collecting stories of families of color at Facing Race. And through 2011, we will be collecting strong family stories all across the country so that we reveal who families are, demand what our families need, and ensure our families stay strong.

Check out strong family stories on our website and share the story of your family. These are the stories we need to guide policies that ensures support for families through the ongoing economic crisis.

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