A Community-Driven Anti-Racist Vision for SNAP
By Alice Aluoch, Maryann Broxton, Yolanda Gordon, Barbie Izquierdo, Tamika Moore, Parker Gilkesson, Teon Dolby, and Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Public benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provide critical care and support for families with low incomes. However, they also reinforce structures of oppression. Historical context shows “welfare reform” in America is rooted in anti-Blackness, xenophobia, and other forms of racism. False racist narratives have left an ingrained mark on the system of public benefits and disproportionately affect communities of color with low incomes.
Our public policies far too often focus on scrutinizing individual people experiencing poverty rather than identifying systemic barriers, the root causes of poverty, and solutions for ending poverty. This report offers recommendations for changes to the SNAP program that move it in an anti-racist direction. This includes examining issues around sufficiency; availability; trauma; trust; respect; promotion of opportunity; and the perspectives of participants. By rejecting racist assumptions and not limiting ourselves to what is politically possible today, we can envision a program that truly centers what people with low incomes, of all races and ethnicities, need.
This paper was written as a partnership between CLASP staff and people with direct lived experience of poverty who are members of the Community Partnership Group.
➡️ Read more about our continued work on food and nutrition policy related to the Farm Bill in 2023.