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 Coalition Building


In order to achieve our goal of advancing racial and economic equity through education reparations, we must build an intersectoral coalition that maximizes constituency influence while mitigating potential blocking coalition power. A successful coalition must be composed of actors in government, advocacy organizations, and everyday people that exert enough influence to achieve broad-based and comprehensive reparations. This coalition must also be able to exert targeted influence to overcome opposition to reparations.

Importance of Strategic Coalition Membership 

Creating an influence maximizing coalition requires an intersectoral mix of the four levels of power: every-day, policy, structural, and discursive. Everyday power can be channeled through the general public and volunteers working in advocacy areas already working on issues of equity and racial justice. Recruiting a contingent of legislative leaders and executive officials may unlock access to the policy realm, which is mission critical for the passage and implementation of reparations. However, pro-status quo entrenched interests that may control structural levers must be folded into the coalition to unlock the pathway for this kind of policy change. Lastly, the discursive power will likely be wielded by all members of the coalition, specifically legislative leaders, advocacy groups, and the general public.

This coalition must also be able to operate within the invited and closed power arenas, as well as establish legitimacy through actors in the claimed space arena. This means creating a process that begins with members of the claimed space arena by working with respected advocacy groups and tailoring the policy to incorporate ideas. Subsequently, acting in the invited space (at hearings, legislative meetings, commission meetings, etc.) creates a mechanism for combining coalition members, including elected officials, advocacy groups, and residents. These arenas lay the groundwork for action in the closed space, providing legislators with the general support and political capital to pass a reparations bill.