USBC believes that communities thrive when residents take ownership of problems and opportunities and come together to generate solutions. These are our current initiatives to support community building:
The Historic Neighborhood Alliance (HNA)
USBC is a founding member and leader of the 25-year-old Historic Neighborhood Alliance (HNA) that developed and promoted resident-driven Sector Development Plans to give Albuquerque neighborhoods a voice in land use. The Sector Plans protect quality of life and home values in low-income neighborhoods of color, and give low-income families a voice in public policy affecting their neighborhoods.
To ensure those voices are heard, the Alliance holds periodic community meetings to teach neighborhood residents civic-engagement skills that will have lasting value as a neighborhood resource:
How planning, zoning, traffic engineering and transit policies affect neighborhood quality of life and real estate values
How to prepare to testify before city council and county commission meetings
How to prepare to meet one-on-one with councilors, commissioners and state legislators
How to prepare to run for these offices themselves
Engaged residents are a living resource that maintains the community’s integrity through time and change.
The Anti-Racism Training Institute of the Southwest
The Anti-Racism Training Institute of the Southwest (ARTI) grew out of the work of Albuquerque Project Change, a multi-racial, multi- cultural organization founded in 1991 to address institutional racism in Albuquerque and three other cities across the nation (Seattle, New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale).
The work continued in collaboration with the Claremont Graduate College Institute for Democratic Renewal in Claremont, California under the leadership of the late John Maguire, and the University of New Mexico Public Policy Center.
Over the first decade of work it became clear that a major barrier to undoing racism is the lack of a shared analysis about what racism is. Even well-meaning people can’t agree about the basic definition of racism and therefore cannot forge alliances to uproot it.
In response USBC established ARTI as a permanent, community-based organization to take up the challenge through education and training.
We believe that a shared analysis and understanding of racism, its history, and its institutional structure is essential to building and maintaining healthy communities. Institutional racism, as opposed to individual bigotry or prejudice is systemic and is the intentional or unconscious subordination of specific racial groups through organizational practices and norms.
ARTI periodically convenes workshops with leaders in five areas that profoundly affect the well-being of all New Mexicans:
The Legal System
Community and Economic Development
Experts assist workshop participants to examine their institutional policies and practices, develop insights into how these policies and practices may perpetuate racial inequality, and what action is required for change.
ARTI also partners with the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB) of New Orleans to offer intensive, two-day workshops on Undoing Racism ©. The People's Institute is a national network of seasoned community organizers with decades of experience and an international reputation.
The People's Institute workshops expose the historical roots of racism and its grip on society today, while providing participants the tools for change. The underlying premise of the workshops is that, because racism was "done" by people, it can be "undone." However, racism can be undone only when we understand how it happened in the first place. The workshop unearths the historical origins of racism, teaching explicitly how, when, where and why racial hierarchies have been established and maintained in the United States.
ARTI’s predecessor, Albuquerque Project Change, was awarded the Ron Brown Corporate Citizenship Award by President Bill Clinton in a White House ceremony in 1998.