Programmatic Initiative

Year of Reckoning

In early 2020, Living Cities and six of the “Closing the Gaps” Network (‘CTG Network’) (add link to CTG page) cities embarked on a “Year of Reckoning” journey, acknowledging that —when it comes to racism and inequity — the effects of past exclusions based on race persist in the present.


Reckoning with Racism

The cities’ “Year of Reckoning” experience went on to converge with a global reckoning with racism following the murder of George Floyd in Spring of 2020.

Living Cities granted over $3.2M across cohort cities
to advance the following initiatives:

  • Support cities in creating community-owned land trust models.
  • Develop city land to expand the stock of affordable homes meeting the needs of Native and Black residents.
  • Support for new models of co-ownership of businesses and homes designed by and for BIPOC young adults.
  • Invest in community-based business incubators.
  • Conduct intentional community engagement with Head Start families with Housing Choice Vouchers to provide counseling to buy a home utilizing vouchers.
  • Invest in intentional cultivation of BIPOC general contractors through city development projects.
  • Support cities in providing financial support to families seeking to purchase homes, including descendants of displaced residents.

Participating Cities

Strengthening Relationships with Communities They Serve

These six cities receive deeper support and technical assistance to build their racial equity understanding and competencies and to implement practices and policies that expand BIPOC homeownership and business ownership. Representatives from the Year of Reckoning cities first received foundational racial equity training and competency-building support from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB).

They then worked with Living Cities to gather and analyze their respective data and community input on the landscape of BIPOC homeownership and business ownership and understand how historic systemic racism was shaping the current landscape of their cities.

These cities are committed to implementing the strategies and workplans over the next three years. Along the way, they will reflect on power and accountability and deepen their relationships with the communities they serve.

Participating Cities

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Austin, TX
  • Memphis, TN
  • Rochester, NY
  • St. Paul, MN

The Results

Building Racial Equity Competencies Across the U.S.

Year of Reckoning Needs Assessments & Workplans

Community members and partners know best what the barriers and opportunities are for expanding BIPOC homeownership and entrepreneurship. We engaged the community in each of our Year of Reckoning cohort cities to understand how city programs can meet their needs. Their feedback is detailed in these reports, which in turn informed the cities’ work plans.

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Reckoning With

An important step in the Year of Reckoning cities’ journey was taking the time to learn about their histories, how their cities were designed to create inequitable outcomes, and who has been organizing for racial justice throughout. This process of reckoning with the history of race is directly informing the way that cities are being assisted to transform government policies and practices.

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Reckoning with Race Curriculum

An important step in Year of Reckoning cities’ journey is taking the time to build racial equity competencies through deep learning, discussion, and practice. Explore our Reckoning with Race curriculum, which includes seven components with resources, discussion questions, and sample workshop agendas that you can adapt for your own learning environments.

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