Cultural Equity to Achieve Social Change in New Haven, Conn.

Adriane Jefferson

Cultural Equity to Achieve Social Change in New Haven, Conn.

Adriane Jefferson

From local government officials to philanthropic stakeholders to Living Cities staff, this story is one in a series that demonstrates the impact Living Cities has across the U.S. — connecting individuals and highlighting successful initiatives.

Adriane Jefferson
Director of the Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs for the City of New Haven, Connecticut

To achieve true, cultural equity, we need to work across intersections, within different departments and industries, to address all aspects that affect livelihoods.

In New Haven, Connecticut, we are actively striving to create a place of belonging for residents and those looking to join our community. As the city’s Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs we’re taking an anti-racist approach through arts and culture to create momentum for social change and activism. In order to achieve this and true, cultural equity, we need to work across intersections, within different departments and industries, to address all aspects that affect livelihoods.

Because my department is housed beneath the Economic Development Administration, my team has a unique opportunity to work with the economic development team, in addition to the Mayor’s office, and play a leading role in shaping the city’s work to be more equitable, and anti-racist. And while our work with Living Cities has just begun, we have already seen what the power of these experts, and having access to a network of individuals all working within the same space, really have, particularly in an advisory and supportive role, helping us to encourage our Mayor to join the Government Alliance of Racial Equity. Now, we have not only been able to expand our programs, but to center our work of arts and culture around social activism.

After the murder of George Floyd, there were many solidarity statements, but what do those really mean, in terms of impact, if policies and practices are not being implemented? To address this, my team released an anti-racism pledge last year, which serves as a toolkit and process of learning among a cohort of art and cultural organizations of what it means to be anti-racist. Since then, it has become a national tool, being used by more than 30 organizations — across municipalities.

At the end of the day, I just want to make sure everything we are doing is actually impactful and making a difference within our community. I would feel accomplished, if we can see those unjust systems in our city, and throughout the U.S., changing, shifting and being disrupted for the better.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Latest Articles

1863 Ventures Seeks to Close the ‘Friends and Family’ Financing Gap for New Majority Entrepreneurs

Melissa Bradley understands how barriers to capital for entrepreneurs of color hurt our economy and our communities. “There is clearly a cost if we do not invest in diversity,” said Bradley, founder of 1863 Ventures. “We miss out on great returns when we are not inclusive in our investment theses. There are opportunity costs for all of us.” She cites …

A Vision for Systemic Change in the Twin Cities: An Interview with Marcus Pope

JK:We’re celebrating your new role as President of Youthprise! Can you tell us a bit about Youthprise? MP: I’ll start by sharing Youthprise’s mission, which is to increase equity with and for Minnesota’s Indigenous, low income, and racially diverse youth. We take the “with and for” very seriously; half of our board members are young people between the ages of …

The Legacy of Wealth Inequities in the Brown and Flynn Families: A Hypothetical Exploration

The first post in a two-part series explores the potential of capital to undo the historical legacy of inequities. Race is a complex issue that continues to drive many of the socioeconomic outcomes in the US. For example, if you are a person of color born in the United States, your zip code is more of a predictor of your …

Living Cities Selected to the ImpactAssets 50 for 11th Year in a Row

Living Cities’ Capital for the New Majority team is thrilled to announce that Living Cities and the Catalyst Family of Funds have been selected to the ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) for the eleventh consecutive year and named as an Emeritus Impact Manager for the second time. “Now in its eleventh year, the ImpactAssets 50™ is the most recognized free database of …

Get Updates

We want to stay in touch with you! Sign up for our email list to receive updates on the progress we’re making with our network of partners, as well as helpful resources and blog posts.

Name