A message to our stakeholders

June 10, 2020

Dear Readers: 

My colleagues and I in the Chicago Fed’s Community Development and Policy Studies unit are outraged and deeply saddened by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It was, of course, only the most recent tragedy of its kind to horrify the nation. And we sadly are reminded that fear of racist confrontations continues to place a burden on black people every day in this country. 

The protests occurring all around the nation are a powerful sign that many want to see fundamental change. Unfortunately, along with protest, some places have also seen significant destruction of property, including that of many small businesses. This has disproportionately impacted communities of color and others that were already suffering from chronic disinvestment and severe disparities across multiple measures of well-being. As many of these communities come together to clean up, rebuild, and reopen, we are reminded of the vulnerability of already-disadvantaged communities and the challenges that lie ahead in attempting to strengthen their resiliency. 

At times such as this, it can be useful to reflect on our core values and how our work in CDPS is aligned with our commitment to fostering economic inclusion and opportunity. 

The Federal Reserve as an institution rejects racism and strives to uphold racial equity in the workplace. The work we do in CDPS, both in our research and in our partnerships with those working on the front lines of community development, also contributes to greater racial equity and an economy in which all can truly participate and reach their full potential. Economic inclusion isn’t just an idealistic goal. It is in our collective interest. To work toward this goal and to promote anti-racism, we acknowledge the need to actively engage voices from our most vulnerable communities and those who have historically been excluded. 

To fulfill our mandate, we have the responsibility to understand how forces – social, economic, and other – affect the lives of individuals. Until recently, our country had experienced solid growth and a generally strong labor market. However, we know that those conditions were not experienced in the same ways or to the same extent by everyone. In many places, disparities widened. Our challenge, more urgent now than ever, is to craft responses that will create paths to recovery, but also broader opportunity. 

We are committed to redoubling our efforts to achieving these goals. 

Dan Sullivan 

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