As many of you know, in 2018, Community Action Lehigh Valley (CALV) began its Color Outside the Lines Initiative. Color Outside the Lines (COTL) is a five-to seven-year strategic plan to invest in Lehigh Valley’s future. The plan seeks to eliminate racial inequities and reduce disparities in the following areas: Housing, education, economic opportunity, employment, criminal justice, health care, mental health, arts and culture and recreation.
When it began, the plan was massive and involved for-profits, non-profits, and grassroots organizations throughout the Lehigh Valley. Each sector had a vested interest in making the Lehigh Valley a stronger community; one in which we challenge inequities across all sectors. We are thankful to the community partners who helped lay the groundwork for this initiative to flourish.
In 2024, Winslow Mason, Jr., Community Action’s new Director of Racial and Ethnic Justice, will bring new leadership and direction to this initiative. We have revised our strategic goals to increase outcomes and streamline success measures. We have disbanded the COTL Steering Committee and will implement a work group of community leaders representing the nine focus areas. These leaders are already doing great work in their respective fields but want to lean into the fight for racial and ethnic justice. This work group will drive the initiative’s goals. CALV staff will provide training, resources, and technical assistance to ensure the initiative achieves targeted outcomes.
In January 2024, the COTL work group met to refine goals and set strategy. In the months following, this group will harness the achievements from the initial steering committee and continue the bold vision of racial and ethnic justice so many in the Lehigh Valley have committed to. After our initial gathering, the plan is to meet quarterly throughout the year to touch base on progress.
As always, Community Action will continue building relationships with stakeholders and community partners. Many of you will be asked to join us. We know we cannot do this work alone.
As you know, systemic racism and racial inequality still exist. The racial reckoning of 2020, marked by the murder of George Floyd, serves as a reminder that we must continue working toward racial and ethnic justice. If this work stops, we are doomed to repeat the atrocities of the past.
We look forward to continuing this bold initiative to ensure a productive and equitable future for all.
We thank everyone in advance and look forward to the exciting work ahead.
Director, Racial and Ethnic Justice for Community Action Lehigh Valley
To contact Winslow, please email email@example.com or call 484-893-1033.