Fostering Equity: Creating Shared Understanding for Building Community Resilience

Fostering Equity:
Creating Shared Understanding for Building Community Resilience

Trauma, Equity, Resilience

Over the last five years, networks of BCR partners across the country have been working together to build community resilience by addressing and mitigating the Pair of ACEs. This guide is an outgrowth of the experiences of these communities as our work together has emphasized the importance of centering equity at the heart of what it means to be resilient.

This guide aims to help us collectively see the historical underpinnings of structural racism and the traumas and disparities that result and conduct constructive conversations that lead to policy change. The path to a Resilient Nation – one in which all our communities can not only ‘bounce back’ in the face of adversity, but thrive – must begin here.

Watch a webinar about the new tool here.


Explore the Fostering Equity Modules

CCR offers trainings and resources that not only help policymakers, researchers, academics, nonprofits, and other stakeholders understand the trauma and disparities that stem from structural racism, but also support constructive conversations that lead to policy and systems changes. Working with our partners, we advance change by exploring how local history, ordinances and practices contribute to trauma and inequity in marginalized neighborhoods. Understanding the people and unique dynamics of a community is critical to the BCR process. Through this exploration, participants map out the collective experience of oppressive systems and policies, as well as the inequitable social structures that exacerbate individual traumas.

To support this process, CCR developed four Fostering Equity modules modules in 2020, each one representing BCR network experiences in centering equity at the heart of community resilience. In 2021, we updated Module I, revising the Policy Timeline to include the emerging “War on Truth” and discuss how legislative attacks on voting rights and public health will only increase adversity and inequity in our nation’s most vulnerable communities.

  • Module I: “What’s Equity Got to Do With It?” and Connecting Policy to Community Outcomes
  • Module II: Preparing for the Equity Talk
  • Module III: Community Engagement Strategies
  • Module IV: Advancing Equity in Policy
  • Fostering Equity: Additional Resources


Explore and download the four Fostering Equity modules and Additional Resources


Truth & Equity: Dismantling Structural Racism

The dual effects of structural racism and COVID-19 reinforce the critical need to confront, reconcile, and heal from our nation’s legacy of racial oppression. Across sectors—including healthcare, education, housing and criminal justice—inequity in policies and practices has created disparate outcomes in the health, well-being, and economic prosperity of communities of color.

Launched in late 2020, CCR’s Truth & Equity initiative mobilizes local cross-sector coalitions to facilitate a process that aims to:

  • Create a shared understanding of the history of racial oppression at the local level
  • Foster racial healing and social cohesion through community building activities
  • Strengthen the capacity of residents to organize around racial and economic equity issues and engage in advocacy for policy and systems change
  • Increase public and private investments in initiatives that support racial and economic equity.

Check out this case study, Truth & Equity: Cincinnati, to learn how we collaborated with partners in Cincinnati, OH, to use truth-telling, community engagement, and systems change to advance racial equity.

Read the Truth & Equity: Cincinnati case study

The Pair of ACEs

Adverse childhood experiences in the context of adverse community environments continuously assault the developing minds of children and negatively impact health across the lifespan. These negative impacts include higher risk for mental health problems, early initiation of drug and substance abuse, school dropout, juvenile delinquency, risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy. In Building Community Resilience, we understand that many adverse childhood experiences can be linked to policy and systems driven inequities. Many of these policies are driven by and reinforce institutional racism. The resulting inequities include lack of access to economic mobility that may allow families to secure safe and affordable housing and living wages.

Across the country, parents, families and communities face the challenge of achieving or maintaining good health in the face of daunting adversity. Childhood adversity or trauma such as abuse and neglect, parental substance abuse and incarceration, oftentimes are rooted in community environments lacking equity as measured by concentrated poverty, poor housing conditions, higher risk to violence and victimization, and homelessness. These inequitable community conditions provide little access to support or buffers that support resilience. What's Equity Got to Do With It? is a one-pager describing the relationship between trauma, equity, and resilience here available for download.

Learn more about the Pair of ACEs

Download What's Equity Got to Do With It? (PDF)



Inequity By Design

Adverse community environments are the result of policies and practices across multiple systems that were perfectly designed for the place-based inequities they produce. Many of the nation’s poor live in communities of concentrated poverty not by choice, but rather by design – the cumulative result of social and criminal policies enacted over the course of our nation’s history.

For example, federal policy and lending practices in the real estate industry in the early 20th century supported housing segregation – creating patterns of racial and economic segregation that persist today. These policies combined with the inequitable enforcement of policies across criminal justice (enforcement and incarceration) and public education (funding) also help to explain the place-based differences in who is arrested, length of incarceration and odds of completing high school and attaining higher education.