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How Black leaders are pursuing racial equity in St. Louis

During her campaign, newly elected St. Louis mayor Tishaura Jones promised to tackle the history of deep neglect that had kept her city mired in poverty and blight by looking “at every issue through a racial equity lens.” Instead of laying blame on people, Jones pointed to structural inequality. In 2017 she wrote, “what is killing our city is poverty. What is killing our region is a systemic racism that pervades almost every public and private institution.” She promised to “ask if every decision we make helps those who have been disenfranchised, red-lined and flat-out ignored for way too long.”

Just a few months into her tenure, Jones has involved the public in participatory budgeting for decisions on how to spend $68 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds the city received. Within what the mayor’s office calls The People’s Agenda, Jones explains her approach: “Process is policy, and I believe that bringing in diverse perspectives will help us make wise investments and build a diversified portfolio.”

Read more the city’s efforts to advance equitable development here.

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