Erika Gaitan is a Senior Manager of Community Impact on the Health & Racial Equity team at HRiA. In her role, she collaborates with public and private partners to support the adoption of methods to increase community power in neighborhood, municipal, and state level decision-making. She has extensive experience in community based participatory research, training and facilitation, and culturally responsive and equitable evaluation. She has a masters degree in social work with a concentration in community practice from Boston University School of Social Work and a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University.
Presentations from Facing Race 2022
Seizing the Opportunity for Equitable Recovery Through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) represents an opportunity and an imperative for local governments to intentionally engage with and invest in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and populations who, because of deliberate governmental and institutional policy decisions, are regularly harmed by and disenfranchised from government budgeting processes. ARPA funds can be truly transformational, both as a process to build community power, and because of investments that address community defined priorities. But cities need help to make this a reality. Institutional and cultural polices and engrained practices limit what is thought to be possible, even with an intention to push beyond what has normally been done. In this workshop and based on our experiences in Massachusetts, we will describe, discuss, and collectively identify solutions that: increase power for BIPOC and other disenfranchised populations to decide how public resources get spent (not just provide input), and normalize actions that demonstrate how government can collaborate with residents who have been historically excluded.
Workshop participants will gain ideas, skills, and examples to go back to their communities to:
- Describe ARPA and its opportunity for transformational change, particularly in communities of color
- Amplify key messages related to ARPA and the requirement to embed equity in the process
- Identify examples from the field and brainstorm considerations moving forward
- Apply tools and methods to disrupt traditional decision-making processes in government budgeting processes by advocating for community-led processes
- Practice power and actor mapping with participant’s community in mind