Applying Racial Equity to U.S. Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs - Flipbook - Page 53
Ending hunger and poverty is possible, but it requires addressing the root causes. Structural racism is the most significant
cause of hunger and poverty in communities of color. Ending hunger by 2030 requires fully committing to and applying a
racial equity lens to all policies and programs.
Since many policies and programs currently do not apply a racial equity lens, embedding this lens in anti-hunger policies
and programs is a top priority. Racial equity is not just a goal, though—it is also a daily
commitment and practice. Advocates, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers must
commit to being intentional about racial equity.
is possible, but it
As mentioned earlier, to achieve racial equity in any area, it is important that a
racial equity lens be comprehensively applied at the legislative, administrative, and
implementation levels. It calls for a true multi-layered approach, which is why the report’s
recommendations reflect this application at all three levels.
with racial equity.”
A racial equity approach should be applied in all policy areas, including but not limited
to nutrition, to end hunger. The methodology of this report can be used to apply a racial
equity lens to other nutrition programs in addition to SNAP, WIC, and Child Nutrition programs, as well as to other policy
areas, such as jobs, housing, asset-building, transportation, health care, and more.
As a recap, the Institute started this research by not making assumptions about whether or how federal nutrition programs
promote various forms of equity. The three most important equitable aspects of the programs were identified as:
1. Elements of inclusivity in eligibility criteria.
2. Policies that target support to individuals and families most in need.
3. Promotion of equity-centered approaches that make it easier for people to participate.
The Institute also identified opportunities for SNAP, WIC, and Child Nutrition programs to strengthen their design by
applying a racial equity lens. The top six recommendations are:
Center program solutions around the needs of communities of color
Strengthen practices that make it easier for applicants to access support
Increase support and accountability among implementing staff
Create structures that empower recipients of color to equitably engage in improving programs
Strengthen the collection and reporting of data disaggregated by race and ethnicity
Strengthening racial equity will help communities of color as well as people of all races who benefit from nutrition
programs. By definition, it will also begin to narrow the persistent racial disparities in nutrition and food security.
An overarching recommendation that USDA might consider is to create a Special Commission for Racial Equity,
which should be led by researchers, practitioners, and program participants of color, to assist in the implementation of
the recommendations in this report and to identify additional changes that would promote racial equity. The individuals
selected for this effort should have real decision-making power rather than simply
being asked to comment. The commission’s work should also inform the efforts
To learn more about how
of other USDA offices and programs to apply a racial equity lens to new areas
to apply a racial equity
lens in your organization,
In turn, a transformed internal culture that reflects racial equity makes it easier
see Tool 1 in the Appendix
to create processes, narratives, and analysis that are racially equitable as well. It
on page 75 and read this
can inform the efforts of other offices and programs to apply a racial equity lens to
resource from the Alliance
new areas and issues. All of this will contribute to shifts in federal policy that will
to End Hunger.
move the country more quickly to the end of hunger and poverty—problems that are
completely unnecessary in such a wealthy country.
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