color outside the lines
The Color Outside the Lines initiative is a 5- to 7-year strategic plan to invest in our community's future. The plan seeks to address racial inequities and disparities in the following areas: housing, economic opportunity and employment, education, criminal justice, and quality of life with focuses on mental health, health, arts and culture, and recreation.
The Housing sub-committee seeks to co-design solutions with community stakeholders to deconstruct the systemic discrimination and inequalities in housing policies, practices and systems that prohibit the acquisition of fair affordable housing options for communities of focus.
The Economic Opportunity and Employment subcommittee addresses the racial disparities that exist in the Lehigh Valley within the areas of workforce development, employability, economic mobility, transportation and entrepreneurship.
The Lehigh Valley’s convenient location to New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. contributes to its development and economic growth, making it one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. Without access to resources for economic growth, and policies that ensure all Lehigh Valley residents have access to that opportunity, disparities, especially those that exist for the community of focus.
The Education sub-committee addresses the disparities in the number of teachers who reflect our communities of focus in the Lehigh Valley (Pre School-Higher Ed), hiring practices of HR departments to hire teachers and staff who reflect our communities of focus, and the necessity of Cultural Humility and Implicit Bias trainings for all educators, school personnel, city and municipal staff across the Lehigh Valley.
The Criminal Justice plan addresses the demographic disparities, with an emphasis on our communities of focus that exist in the Lehigh Valley’s criminal justice complex. In response to the issue of mass incarceration, towns and cities across the country are reimagining the way that they envision criminal justice. It is time that the Lehigh Valley joins this growing movement to reduce and eliminate an unjust system of mass incarceration.
quality of life
The Quality of Life Sub-Committee of the Color Outside the Lines Initiative is dedicated to ensuring equitable access to Quality of Life for communities of focus within the greater Lehigh Valley in the areas of health, mental health, arts and culture, and recreation. By challenging the disparities caused by the inequities in these areas, as well as cultivating mutual respect for all people, it is the subcommittee’s intent to engage civil rights and cultural advocacy groups in our region to work together and achieve authentic and cohesive racial equity as it relates to the Quality of Life for the Lehigh Valley.
Our vision is that communities of focus, regardless of national origin, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, creed or socio-economic status, are ensured fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access to information and resources. The mission is to identify, examine, and challenge the status quo towards the elimination of racial inequity, intentional or otherwise, in the lives of all communities of focus in the said areas of Quality of Life.
The Mental Health Services program for individuals in the Lehigh Valley is based on the Color Outside the Lines Quality of Life Mental Health committee’s goal to “Increase access, affordability, and representation within mental health service provision by 2027.” The program works to meet that goal by providing funding at the county level to supplement mental health treatment for members of the Lehigh Valley who meet eligibility criteria as laid out in the eligibility intake assessment. The program also strives to match Black, Indigenous, People of Color with mental health practitioners who come from the same community, thereby increasing cultural understanding.
Contact us below for more information on how to receive treatment.