Attending to Equity Here in Sarasota County

This week at SCOPE we are participating in the e-conference of the Community Indicators Consortium.  Today we listened to Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink, talk about "Equity, Measurement and the Future."  She defined her organization as a "community-building intermediary," which is one way to describe SCOPE as well.  She talked about that point when her organization "first understood the power of data, and what that could do to help local communities, local activists, and residents to have a different conversation about their future, their issues, and the solutions."  We resonate with this perspective on data and its role in community conversation. 

Ms. Blackwell defined equity as "fair and just inclusion into a society in which all can participate and prosper and reach their full potential."  She went on to say:

  • Equity "has become absolutely essential,"
  • Equity "continues to be the thing we need to invest in if democracy is to thrive," and
  • The economic reality is that equity "has become the superior growth model for the nation - if we don't invest equitably, America will not thrive."

With regard to equity indicators, she urged us all to think not simply in terms of disparities, but in terms of "aspiration indicators," asking "What do we aspire to?  And how can we measure the distance between our goals and where we are now?"

Here at SCOPE, we enthusiastically agree with Ms. Blackwell about the critical importance of equity.  Who else in our community resonates with this perspective? 

As the Community Data Collaborative here in Sarasota County evolves, who among us has data to share to bring issues of equity into focus at the local scale?  What else do we need to be gathering, data-wise -- as citizens, neighborhoods, businesses/organizations, and governments -- in order to notice how all of us who live here are participating, prospering and reaching our full potential?