Rev. Ronnie Galvin: Can We Do It? Reparations, Community Wealth Building, and Closing the Racial Wealth Gap in the DMV

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM EDT
Johnson Center, Meeting Room B

Ronnie Galvin is a guest of the 2023 Next System Speakers Series:

The racial wealth gap is a defining and persistent feature in an American political economic system built on stolen land, labor, and lives. This theft was and continues to be fueled by anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism and reinforced by an economic system (and policy decisions) designed to produce these outcomes.

A 2016 report by the Institute for Policy Studies revealed that if White people (nationally) stopped accruing wealth today it would take 228 years and 84 years for the wealth gap to close with Black and Latinx people respectively. In the District of Columbia a study by the Urban Institute revealed that there is an 81x’s difference in wealth between White families and Black families.

Wealth is a primary determinant of an individual’s, family’s, community’s, and a nation’s well-being.  Relatedly, the presence of persistent wealth inequality across all SES groups generally, and between Black, Brown, and White people serves as a seminal indicator of the collective health and well-being of our people, our democracy, and our planet.  

So What Then Must We Do?

At the Greater Washington Community Foundation we are exploring a suite interventions to address the racial wealth gap in our region.  At the heart of these efforts is an ambition to pilot and scale approaches to community wealth building in the DMV’s most racially and economically isolated neighborhoods. Our bet:  If we can establish infrastructures that can build wealth and close the racial wealth gap in the region’s most racially and economically isolated neighborhoods, we can improve quality of life in those places and in the entire region.  In other words “when those among us who are struggling the most do well, we all do well.”

In this talk we will offer some of the basic and evolving tenets of community wealth building and prospects for how the approach might be coupled with a reparations program to close the racial wealth gap.

Rev. Ronnie Galvin

Ronnie Galvin is a Senior Fellow at The Community Foundation. Prior to joining The Community Foundation, Ronnie was a part of the team Ronnie Galvinat The Democracy Collaborative, serving as the Vice-President for Racial Equity and the Democratic Economy. In this work he and his team helped advance the Collaborative's work to interrogate, reimagine, and redesign local and regional economic systems to that they produce justice, equity, sustainability, and broadly held wealth. 

Ronnie is also a facilitator and leading voice in the region and around the country on issues of racial equity and reparative justice. He will be bringing this background to support the Greater Washington Community Foundation’s evolution as an organization that leads with racial equity in the region.

In addition to his work at the Foundation, Ronnie is founder and lead community builder of Comunivation- an enterprise that brings people together innovate the way we do community and to ideate on issues that matter.

Hosted by Next System Studies at Mason and the Center for Social Science Research.

Sponsored by African and African American Studies, CSSR Urban Research Hub, and Cultural Studies..

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