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Hope in the Cities

Launched in 1990 in an effort to bring political, business and community leaders together in Richmond, Virginia to address racial healing, Hope in the Cities has sponsored conferences drawing international participation, has developed dialogue guides to foster conversation in communities and has spawned reconciliation efforts in several other cities. Hope in the Cities is a project of Initiatives for Change.

HIC became a national network in 1993, when these leaders sponsored a conference called Healing the Heart of America: An Honest Conversation on Race, Reconciliation and Responsibility. This conference drew 1000 participants from 50 U.S. urban centres and 20 foreign countries. It examined underlying racial issues that impact housing, education, police and community relations, and public policy as it relates to families.

In May 1996 HIC launched Call to Community at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, a program that provided a demonstration of honest and respectful public dialogue on race. In launching the Call, HIC created a network of 200 prominent individuals, national organizations and partnering organizations.

More on the HIC story…


The purpose of Hope in the Cities is to provide a framework for honest dialogue and collaboration among citizen groups. It creates conditions of trust between people of different racial and social backgrounds and divergent political views. It builds partnerships between leaders of public and private sectors, and different cultures and faith traditions.


The method is based on three interconnected steps:

  1. honest conversation leading to new partnerships among individuals of every viewpoint.
  2. personal responsibility deciding to move beyond blame, denial and personal pain to implement constructive action and offer leadership towards social transformation.
  3. acts of acknowledgement and reconciliation of specific racial history and its impact on the communal life.

Walter T. Kenney, former mayor of Richmond, Virginia has characterized the work of HIC as follows: ‘The process for moving past and not getting stuck in the blame game is critical for real growth. The mentality of victimhood or guilt-ridden shame anchors us in inaction. Hope in the Cities provides the arena for unselfish leadership and partnerships for building trust and hope.'

Resource Link: www.iofc.org/en/programmes/hic/

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