The President's Initiative on Race

The President's Initiative on Race

The President's Initiative on Race is an effort to move the country closer to a stronger, more just, and unified America, one that offers opportunity and fairness for all Americans. It is a chance for every citizen in our country to be a part of a great national conversation about America's racial diversity and about the strength it brings our nation. As Americans, our shared values unite us, but we can do more to be One America. The President is asking all Americans to join him in this effort which combines thoughtful study, constructive dialogue, and positive action to address the continuing challenge of how to live and work more productively as One America in the 21st century.

Promising Practices

One of the activities of the President's Initiative on Race is identifying promising practices. Promising practices are both community-based and national efforts that are designed to promote racial reconciliation, increase positive dialogues and expand opportunities for every American. In communities across America, people from different racial backgrounds are working together in a variety of programs to improve race relations. These efforts advance the President's vision of One America in the 21st Century.

Listed below are some examples of promising practices programs in which the Asian Pacific American community may be interested because there is significant Asian Pacific American participation in the programs and/or in the leadership positions. Also listed below are national resources. For more information, please visit The President's Initiative on Race home page.

The African American, Latino, Asian, Native and American Program (ALANA) in Brattleboro, Vt., brings together communities of color and government institutions by addressing various social issues in a culturally sensitive manner. ALANA operates five programs on health, education, economic development, youth empowerment and families in transition. [Contact: Naima Wade, Director: (802) 254-2972]

Asian Neighborhood Design (A.N.D.) in San Francisco, Calif., began its work in 1973 by helping to make improvements in low-income Asian neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area. By the late 1980s, A.N.D. decided to partner with other ethnically diverse communities both regionally and nationally. The organization operates programs that focus on business development, employment training, and housing and community development. [Contact: Maurice Lim Miller, Executive Director: (415) 982-2959]

Since 1994, the Bridging the Gap Project (BTG) in Atlanta, Ga., offers support to refugees in transition, and provides assistance in helping them settle into a more stable lifestyle in America. The project is sponsored by a number of institutions, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement, the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services and the Governor of Georgia's Children and Youth Coordinating Council. [Contact: Gail A. Hoffman, Director: (404) 872-9400)]

The Illinois Ethnic Coalition was created in 1971 in Chicago, Ill., to bring together Chicago's white ethnic, African American, Asian and Latino communities to work together on projects of common concern. The coalition has worked on a variety of issues, including multicultural education, hate crimes and immigration. [Contact: Jeryl Levin, Executive Director: (312) 368-1155]

The -ISM (N.) National Diversity Project in Durham, N.C., has three components: 1.) a television program that chronicles the lives of seven college students across the country, 2.) a program that works with colleges and universities to develop courses that integrate video production with experiential learning, and 3.) an event that involved four weeks of campus activities addressing diversity issues and culminated in a live town-hall style videoconference. [Contact: Tony Deifell, Executive Director: (919) 688-0332]

The Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations Program (LDIR) of Los Angeles, Calif., was created in 1991 by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) to address the many calls for crisis intervention, mediations and other race-related conflicts. Since the program's inception, civil and human rights organizations have joined APALC to aid planning, set policy, and review program operations for LDIR. [Contact: Jan Armstrong, Program Director: (213) 748-2022]

The Marathon County Diversity Management Education Program in Wasau, Wis., educates county government employees on the value of diversity. The goals of the program include enhancing the understanding and appreciation of the Southeast Asian culture, developing leadership skills to overcome barriers to diversity, and enhancing the understanding of the value of a diverse population and workforce. [Contact: Brad Karger, Director of Personnel, Marathon County: (715) 847-5451]

The Metropolitan Human Rights Center (MHRC) in Portland, Ore., was started in the 1970s to address concerns about the racial integration of blacks and whites in Portland's schools and housing complexes. As the city's ethnic and racial population has grown to include people of Hispanic, Southeast Asian, Russian and Romanian descent, the mission of MHRC has expanded to ensure that all ethnic groups feel like valued members of the metropolitan community. [Contact: Linda Hunter, Coordinator: (503) 823-5136]

The New Majority Joint Venture Initiative in New York brings together business owners from minority communities to promote sustainable business relations. The initiative has three objectives: to identify the businesses that are interested in entering into joint ventures for the development of new markets; to pair business owners from diverse ethnic groups to form joint ventures; and to provide participating businesses with technical assistance in financing, marketing and business development. [Contact: John Wang, Project Chief: (212) 483-8898]

National Resources

Anytown is an award-winning summer program created by The National Conference for youth and emerging leaders to focus on reducing prejudice and increasing understanding among people of different races and ethnicities. High school students who are interested in attending the program must submit applications expressing their desire to learn about other cultures, promote peace and commit to positively affect the world. [Contact: (212) 206-0006]

The Center for Living Democracy in Brattleboro, Vt., published "Bridging the Racial Divide: A Report on Interracial Dialogue in America," based on a year-long survey of interracial dialogue groups in over 30 states. It offers practical lessons and success stories of citizens engaged in dialogues that lead to cross-cultural collaboration in solving community problems. [Contact: (802) 254-1234]

As part of the AmeriCorps program, City Year, which is based in Boston, Mass., began in 1988 to generate community service projects that break down social barriers, inspire citizens to civic action, develop new leaders for the common good, and improve and promote the concept of voluntary national service. [Contact: Alan Khazei or Michael Brown, Co-founders: (617) 927-2500]

Facing History and Ourselves in Brookline, Mass., is a non-profit foundation devoted to teaching about the dangers of indifference and the values of civility. The program helps middle and high school students confront the complexities of history in ways that promote critical and creative thinking about the challenges we face and the opportunities we have for positive change. The foundation provides teachers with developmental opportunities in the form of workshops, institutes, and seminars. [Contact: (617) 232-1595]

Hope in the Cities is an interracial, multi-faith network in Richmond, Va., that bridges racial divides by hosting a series of constructive dialogues on race and ensuring the participation of government and non-governmental personnel in the dialogue. The organization operates several public education programs to increase awareness of racism, and it highlights models of hope that demonstrate effective partnerships to address racism. [Contact: Robert Corcoran, National Coordinator: (804) 358-1764]

The Leadership Conference Education Fund (LCEF) was established in 1969 to support educational activities relevant to civil rights issues. Specifically, LCEF serves as an information clearinghouse on civil rights issues, issues reports, sponsors conferences and symposia, and through its civil rights education campaign, seeks to build a national consensus to combat bigotry of all kinds. [Contact: (202) 466-3434]

The National Conference, founded in 1927 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ), is a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry and racism in America. NCCJ promotes understanding and respect among all races, religions and cultures through advocacy, conflict resolution and education. [Contact: (212) 206-0006]

"Skin Deep" is a documentary film that was made in 1995 in response to increasing racial tensions and incidents of racial violence on college campuses. The filmmaker went to colleges around the country and interviewed over 200 students before selecting a group to participate in a facilitated weekend workshop of interracial dialogue. [Contact: Frances Reid, Director: (510) 845-5415]

The Study Circles Resource Center (SCRC) in Pomfret, Conn., is a project of the Topsfield Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation dedicated to advancing deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. The center carries out its mission by helping communities use study circles--small-group, democratic, highly participatory discussions--to involve large numbers of citizens in public dialogue and problem solving on critical issues such as race, education, crime and youth issues. [Contact: (860) 928-2616]

The Teaching Tolerance Project in Montgomery, Ala., was created by the Southern Poverty Law Center to offer free, high-quality educational materials to help teachers promote interracial and intercultural harmony in the classroom and beyond. The program produces teaching kits containing a video, a text and a teacher's guide for grades K through 12. [Contact: fax: (334) 264-3121]

The Young Heroes Program was created in Boston in 1995 to unite sixth-, seventh-and eighth-grade students from all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds to perform community service. The program--affiliated with City Year, an AmeriCorps program that works with young adults age 17 to 24--is located in several sites around the country, including Boston, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.; Cleveland, Ohio; Columbia S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia, Penn.; Providence, R.I.; San Antonio, Texas; and, San Jose/Silicon Valley, Calif. [Contact: Nicole Sanchez, National Director: (617) 927-2397]

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