Hunger, Poverty, Race, and the Alliance’s Racial Equity Project
July 27, 2017
Margot Nitschke, Emerson Hunger Fellow, Alliance to End Hunger
The Alliance to End Hunger believes that in a food-rich nation like the United States, no one should go hungry; yet 12.7% of American households experience hunger. Unfortunately, due to generations of policies with unequal outcomes, some communities experience hunger even more severely. Households of color experience hunger at rates of up to 21.5% (Black Non-Hispanic – 21.5%; Hispanic – 19.1%; other People of Color – 10.3% White – 10%). Ending hunger and poverty through policy, therefore, is closely linked to racial equity.
With this understanding, the Alliance to End Hunger decided to incorporate a racial equity lens into its work. As an Emerson National Hunger Fellow working at the Alliance, I piloted the Alliance’s Hunger is a Racial Equity Issue framework – developing educational materials around the race-hunger connection and building the capacity for Alliance members to include racial equity in their work. Through collaboration with experts at Bread for the World Institute, the Congressional Hunger Center, Prosperity Now, and others, a number of products and initiatives came to fruition.
A crucial part of engaging Alliance members in our racial equity project was developing tools to help promote a shared understanding of the issue. The Alliance developed a Racial Equity Focus Group that guided the creation of an educational fact sheet and a background paper co-authored by the Alliance to End Hunger and Bread for the World Institute. These resources prioritize approachable language so that anyone, regardless of their prior knowledge about racial equity, can find them informative.
While some Alliance members have already embedded an equity lens in their work, others are just discovering the hunger-race connection. As an entry point to thinking about Racial Equity, I coordinated a webinar that focused on assessing the internal equity practices of organizations, highlighting examples such as those of the Congressional Hunger Center as practices to emulate. This momentum carried into an in-person convening where the Alliance to End Hunger, with the help of a couple expert partners, shared information around the connections between hunger, poverty, and race.
While my own fellowship is coming to an end, the Alliance will continue this critical work through the Alliance’s Racial Equity Learning Group – with the aim to grow together and further include racial equity in its organizations through the sharing of tools and best practices. If you are interested in joining the learning group, please contact Minerva Delgado.
I look forward to seeing how the Alliance will continue to develop and expand its racial equity framework, and incorporate it throughout the work that they do.