Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
~ James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro
Leadership Alabama was founded more than thirty years ago, in part to address matters of race and equity in our state. While we have undoubtedly made progress since 1989, by virtually every measure of quality of life, Black Alabamians do not enjoy parity with their white counterparts. This is due in large measure to systemic racism that persists to this day. Leadership Alabama recognizes that if we are to make significant and sustainable progress toward a more just and equitable Alabama where, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, its citizens are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, we must do more than talk. We must act. Our state will never realize its true potential until we fully address racism and the resultant inequities.
Leadership Alabama is committed to be a force for change on these vital issues. The Leadership Alabama Commission on Race and Equity (LACRE) is charged with taking a comprehensive look at race and equity in our state, with an emphasis on solutions and action. With the assistance of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), the commission will explore, identify and summarize the data related to racial inequality and inequality in general in Alabama. The commission will hear from subject matter experts on a range of topics, including education, health, housing, transportation, poverty and income inequality, employment and economic opportunities, government, racism/prejudice, history, the environment, the legal and criminal justice systems, and police reform.
In conjunction with media partners, the commission will conduct listening sessions around the state on these topics and others, learning from regional experts and spotlighting successful programs that have driven positive change. The sessions will also provide opportunities for public comment on the topics of focus, as well as the broader issues of race and equity. Utilizing the information it has gathered, and with guidance from experts, the commission will formulate a list of policy options that will enable thoughtful decision-making that can lead to substantive changes that address the root causes of racism and equality in our state. The commission’s goal and desire is that its work can serve as a catalyst for Leadership Alabama members and the public to band together and utilize the commission’s findings to establish programs and seek policy outcomes that make Alabama a more just and equitable place for all its citizens.