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Achieve Equal Opportunity and Justice

The Grand Challenge to Achieve Equal Opportunity and Justice recognizes glaring inequities in access

to healthcare, affordable housing, quality education, and gainful employment. It sees a vital role for social

work in deconstructing the underlying prejudice, bias, and stigmatization that perpetuate and exacerbate

these inequities. And it sees social workers as agents of change in their communities and institutions.

Consistent with its vision of a society of equal opportunity and justice, Grand Challenge members have

published and presented widely on the subject during the past five years and advocated for state and

federal policies to accelerate integration and combat discrimination. For school districts, the network

has also launched the School Success Project to identify and reduce disproportionate suspension and

expulsion. Looking ahead, the network envisions teaming up with other Grand Challenges, such as

Eliminate Racism and Promote Smart Decarceration, to further their common goals.

Sources: 2016 GCSW Policy Brief, 2017 concept papers and the Center for American Progress website

A VISION OF AN EQUAL AND JUST SOCIETY

Employment

The wage gap in the United States persists. As recently as

2018, compared to every $1 that men of all races earn:

• White women working full time earn an average of $0.79

• Black women earn only $0.63

• Latina women earn as little as $0.54

Healthcare

In 2016, the uninsured rate among working-age members

of the Latino community in states that had expanded

Medicaid eligibility decreased from 36% to 23%. In states

that opted not to expand Medicaid eligibility, the rate

remained virtually unchanged.

Education

Although African American children and youth account for

15% of the U.S. public-school population, they represent

48% of those suspended from school, outpacing all other

ethnic groups in school suspension rates, with no evidence

that they engage in misbehavior at higher rates.

Housing

Although the 1968 Fair Housing Act prohibits housing

discrimination, American metropolitan areas remain

highly segregated: the majority of White Americans live in

neighborhoods that are more than 80% White, and nearly

a third of White Americans - roughly 63 million people -

live in neighborhoods that are more than 90% White.

34 | Progress and Plans for the Grand Challenges

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