The Atlantic: ‘We cannot move forward if these kids are left behind’

The Atlantic, March 27, 2018: ‘We cannot move forward if these kids are left behind’

What does it take to widen the circle of opportunity in a rapidly diversifying America?

Few questions are more pressing for the country. The Census Bureau recently forecast that racial and ethnic minorities will become a majority of the nation’s under-18 population by 2020, most of the under-30 population by 2027, and a majority of the under-40 population just six years after that. These young people represent the nation’s future—its workers, consumers, taxpayers, and voters. Yet despite gains over the past generation, particularly in educational attainment, huge gaps still separate African American and Latino families from white (and, often, Asian American) families in terms of income, wealth, and college completion.

Each of the five winners of the 2017 Renewal Awards, which will be announced Tuesday at a forum in New Orleans, is trying to narrow those gaps. Now in their third year, the awards honor grassroots nonprofit organizations confronting the nation’s toughest challenges. The common insight connecting these groups was perhaps best expressed by Teresa Granillo, the executive director of Con Mi Madre, one of the winning organizations. “As a nation,” she told me, “we cannot move forward if these kids are left behind.”

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