Reckoning With Race:

A Storytelling Initiative by Living Cities + Gumbo Media

Living Cities has partnered with Gumbo Media to curate nuanced, dynamic storytelling about the history and impacts of race in six U.S. cities.

6 Stories; 1 Vision

Each of the stories in Reckoning With Race is unique, ranging from a personal account of how highway construction in Austin, TX has pushed Black folks out of their homes, to a work of magical realism in which a Black organizer in Minneapolis is visited by the spirits of recent ancestors slain by the police. They each represent just one among many stories of race in each city, but together, they reflect how anti-Blackness is foundational to the structures that harm Black, Indigenous and people of color in the United States, and how communities of color have embodied hope even in the face of that harm.

Why Reckoning With Race?

Reckoning With Race is an initiative of the Closing the Gaps Network, a ten-year initiative that brings together leaders from cities across the country who are committed to imagining what an anti-racist society might look like, and to playing an important role in building it through the transformation of government policies, practices and operations. 

Within the network, six cities—Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Memphis, TN; Minneapolis, MN; Rochester, NY; and St. Paul, MN—are participating in a Year of Reckoning Cohort. Through this deep, year-long experience, public servants leading anti-racism work are supported to organize within local government and shift power to communities of color. 

An important step in Year of Reckoning cities' journey is 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—in part by engaging with the Reckoning With Race stories and storytellers—is directly informing the way that cities are being assisted to transform government policies and practices. 

Discussion Guide

We invite you to join us in reckoning with race. The reflections, discoveries and truths expressed in these six stories are applicable to every city in the U.S. We’ve crafted the following discussion guide to support you in your reading, and to ensure the lessons gathered here live beyond the page.