Invest, Democratize, Organize

Lessons on building more equitable cities from Nashville and Raleigh-Durham

July 2018

After decades of disinvestment and the Great Recession, cities are making a comeback, especially in the growing and sprawling cities in the Southern U.S. However, without concerted and meaningful intervention from organizers, advocates, and elected leaders, the “business as usual” practices deployed by many developers and corporations will continue to have a negative impact on the most vulnerable communities.

To build real power and victories for working people of color and immigrants, the Partnership’s approach focuses on supporting and driving comprehensive trans-local campaigns to transform institutions, such as government, universities and corporations, that have historically benefitted from and perpetuated racialized inequality. We rely on our experience and best practices with diverse community and labor coalitions and our network spanning 19 regions across the country (including our affiliate Georgia STAND-UP in Atlanta). Most recently, the Partnership and Estolano LeSar Advisors have developed a set of recommendations based on lessons learned from implementing an inside-outside strategy with coalitions in Nashville and Raleigh-Durham for how to create more progressive, equitable development in cities.

This document provides tools and resources for groups that are building progressive power and advocating for equitable local development against the backdrop of structural racism and entrenched political opposition existing in many regions of the South. After summarizing existing strategies and case studies, we provide a checklist and guidelines for establishing and moving a successful coalition.

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