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The simulation is an interactive tool that helps people understand the connections among racial equity, hunger, poverty, and wealth. It is a good first step for people unaware of structural inequality, a support tool for those who want a deeper understanding of structural inequality, and a source of information for experts who want to know the quantifiable economic impact of each policy that has widened today’s racial hunger, income, and wealth divides.
In the simulation, participants learn how federal policies created structural inequalities—property ownership and education are just two among many areas affected—and how these policies increase hunger and poverty in communities of color. The simulation guides participants to an understanding of why racial equity is so important to ending hunger and poverty in the United States. Our hope is that participants, in becoming more aware of structural inequality, can support policies that undo and/or reduce disparities.
Since the simulation emphasizes the importance of racial equity, it can be a helpful companion tool for churches, organizations, agencies, schools, and communities that have begun working on race and want to learn more about the role that public policy has had, over time, in creating structural divides based on race.
There are many ways of talking or thinking about race. Feeling uncomfortable with the topic can be a barrier to engaging in conversation. Yet these conversations are essential, especially if we are going to end U.S. hunger and poverty. This is one reason the simulation calls for participants to randomly select cards that assign them a racial identity that may be different from their own. This helps break down some of the barriers.
The Racial Wealth Gap Learning Simulation was a joint effort from Bread for the World and NETWORK. The concept and design of the simulation was co-created by Marlysa D. Gamblin, a policy expert on the racial hunger, income, and wealth divide with Bread for the World Institute. She worked closely with Emma Tacke and Catherine Guerrier with NETWORK to pilot it for the first time at Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) in April 2017. Afterward, Bread dedicated a full year to piloting the simulation in the field and making adjustments as necessary to ensure that this tool is helpful to a wide variety of communities in different settings.
Bread has seen that the simulation can change people’s hearts and minds and inspire them to become committed to applying a racial equity lens to their work, both inside and outside the anti-hunger and anti-poverty communities. This tool can be used at home, Bible study, churches, larger gatherings, and schools, and among staff at nonprofits, advocacy organizations, service providers, government agencies, and private entities.
If you are interested in using the simulation, view the "Bringing This to Your Community" video above. It gives further details about the simulation. We also recommend downloading the Facilitator’s Guide linked below. The guide offers tips on preparing for and facilitating the simulation in various settings. If you want to bring this tool to your church or Bible study, please also download the Biblical Activity Sheet below.