Mission and Vision
The Center for Community Advancement (CCA) is a community-based think tank and a public policy research organization whose mission is to develop public policy recommendations for the many social, political and economic problems that have beset our community for generations.
By addressing the root cause of the social, economic and political disparities faced by our community and driving systemic change through contributions to opinions and policy formation, institutional collaborations and grass-roots activism, we envision a unified, reformed, and empowered community that fuels the success of its succeeding generations.
Statement of Needs
The concept of a community based think tank is distinguished from a think tank created by a special interest group or a think tank created by a governmental entity. A community is funded by the community, and designs a research agenda that is driven by the needs of the community and sees the members of the community as stakeholders. Whereas, think tanks created and developed by a special interest group or the government focus on a research agenda that is relevant to their unique special interests. It is the case that some think tanks created by special interest groups or the government may share a common interest with that of the Black Community; but that interest is secondary to the main purpose for which it is created.
Some may argue that the creation and development of a think tank by the Black community is not necessary because other interest groups have taken on the task of researching the root causes of the social and economic disparities that exist between the Black Community and the White Community. That argument is easily dispelled because the existing think tanks were created and developed to resolve social ills that impact the special interest groups or advance their interest. It is not reasonable to expect that those special interest groups would set aside the purpose for which they organize their think tanks and instead work to resolve the concerns of the Black Community. As a consequence, the Black Community must create and develop its own public policy organization (think tank) that will prioritize its guided research in a way that would empirically and objectively identify the core causes of its social, political and economic ills.
It is through the process of guided research that the think tank would develop public policy (laws, rules and regulations) that would serve to eradicate the disparities that exist between the Black Community and the White Community. The solution to the issue of racial inequality requires critical and creative thinking. This concept of the Black Community creating, developing and financing its own think tank with the intention of identifying and solving its own social ills may seem novel; but it will be effective.
A think tank may identify the core problem that undermines the development and advancement of the Black Community and conduct the most effective research to understand the said issue. It may then develop excellent public policy, designed to resolve the identified problems. The quality of the research and the policy developed to overcome the problem, however, will have no effect if the policies are not implemented. As such, advocacy becomes a critical component of the public policy process. The National Rifle Association (NRA) provides us with an example of the power of grass roots advocacy. Through its ability to register members and their members’ participation in the democratic process, they have become the most politically potent organization in the US. We can do the same.
One only needs to look at our status in the society to see how the Black and Brown communities in America have fallen behind in the areas of economic development, health, education, criminal justice, just to mention a few. Although the poverty has declined for everyone, the economic gap between Black and White America remain as wide as it was in 1963, when Dr. King and hundreds of thousands of citizens marched on Washington DC to protest for economic justice and civil rights. When a group of people is deprived of equal opportunities to create wealth, it indicates a vicious cycle that prevents them from the pursuit of their future well-being and a downward spiral where they find themselves at the mercy of other interest groups.
While we need to become conscious of the reality of oppression, we must not let the ideology of victimhood become our collective identity. As a community, we must accept responsibility for making change happen. We must not let structural obstacles be an excuse not to succeed as a community. We must commit to the advancement of our own future well-being. We must work together as a community, support the research focusing on the root causes of the economic, social and political disparities, and develop strategies and policies that seek to ultimately change systematic inequalities.
As a community-based think tank, CCA takes a democratic and grass-root approach to the development of research agenda and public policy recommendations, where participation and contribution from the members of the community is encouraged and emphasized.
As a member-driven organization, CCA carries out its mission by engaging in the following initiatives
· Providing a platform where a variety of stakeholders can come together to address shared concerns; where a broad spectrum of knowledge, experience and wisdom are brought together; where ideas and leaders of tomorrow are identified and nurtured to foster innovations that will move from where we are to where we want to be.
· Conducting research on the issues that affect our community the most, synthesizing and translate research on obstacles to opportunities. View project
· Regularly hosting community meetings and workshops to drive inclusiveness and participation from all walks of life, with the goal of empowering individuals to realize their potential to contribute to the development of a functional community.
· Advocating for the challenges and opportunities posed to our community under the influence of a macro political, social and economic climate, through the development of public policy recommendations and theories of change. View Petition
· Use communication and media to amplify community voice and inform the community about issues and events relevant to development and advancement and expand opportunities for all through a community public radio program. Listen to CP-Radio
· Maintaining a diverse membership and developing robust membership programs that seek to promote various interests and maximize impact from the members with the goal of becoming a member-funded organization that supports and is supported by our community.
CCA’s leadership is comprised of highly accomplished and committed people with a stake in the welfare of our community. As the organization grows, it will continue to recruit individuals and join forces with organizations who possess a wide range of disciplines and skill-set that will add to the scope of activities carried out by the organization.