The Just Economy Pledge

for National Recovery & Reinvention


The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice protests in the middle of it underscored economic and social fractures that were there all along. Inequality isn’t simply about how much stuff you have. It’s about life and death.

America needs to recover – not only from a pandemic, but from an economic system and a culture that has from its beginning valued some lives over others. We need to rebuild and revive devastated communities, shore up and regain trust in essential institutions and systems, and when we do we need to create a new normal that is unlike the old. The old normal wasn’t built for everyone. It was indefensible.

America needs a new reality rooted in a just economy.

America should not only promise but deliver to all Americans opportunities to build wealth and live well. That isn’t a radical goal, just a restatement of the very first principle from the nation’s founding:

We hold these truths to be self-evident ...

Black lives matter. Women and girls, immigrants, essential workers, Latino, Asian, gay, transgender, indigenous, rural, urban, suburban, old and poor people matter. A just economy, formulated and perpetually recalibrated to ensure public benefits and individual achievements, should sustain, celebrate and embolden all

This is a starting point: a set of principles upon which public sector policies and private sector practices should be organized and evaluated.

This is also an open letter to leaders and a commitment to ourselves and our children. Together, we pledge to …

  • End all forms of discrimination and inequality in business and community life.
  • Advance equitable and inclusive access to credit, capital, jobs, housing, health, education, knowledge, financial security and personal well-being.
  • Embrace truth and science, confront history, invest to repair injustice and reinvent the future.

Together, we urge government, business, nonprofit, faith and philanthropic leaders, and informed, empowered individuals everywhere, to imagine and create a just economy.

Build it upon these principles:

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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