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These Are the Top States Leading the Way in Racial Equality

Because everyone deserves to feel valued, respected, and included wherever they live.

March 5, 2024 at 9:05 PM PST

Though the U.S. has come quite a long way on the road toward racial equality and social justice, the journey is still ongoing. From legislative reforms to grassroots movements, various factors contribute to the advancement of racial equity within communities.

And while racial equality is an ongoing journey, there are several states that are further along than others. These states have made it a point to take up the mantle in the fight for equality, with many enacting policies and practices that promote a more inclusive society for all.

By prioritizing diversity, inclusivity, and justice, these forward-thinking states illustrate that meaningful progress is possible, especially when we as a society come together to fight for what’s right.

Top States Leading the Way in Racial Equality

While there is no perfect utopia in America, there are plenty of areas where Black families and individuals can not only live, but thrive. So whether you’re planning a vacation or an entire move, here are four states that have made significant strides toward racial equality.

Photo credit: Robert Bye


Ahh, California — this sunny state is best known for having top-tier weather, stunning landscapes, and a bustling entertainment scene. But beyond that, California is a fantastic place for Black and other POC communities to thrive.

Home to one of the most diverse populations in the country, California is big on implementing policies specifically designed to eradicate systemic inequality, from public education to environmental justice. In 2019, California became the very first state to enact the CROWN Act, positioning itself as a leader in the fight against hair discrimination, particularly targeting Black people.

Plus, the Golden State is known to implement initiatives like diversity training, criminal justice reform, and community outreach efforts, all of which have helped contribute to a more inclusive society for everyone.

Photo credit: Jason Briscoe

New York

New York — a.k.a the Big Apple — is consistently at the forefront of forward-thinking policies designed to foster racial equality and social justice. Featuring a history of activism, the state is home to an incredibly diverse population, which includes Afro-Latinos, Afro-Carribeans, Africans, and African-Americans. So because New York is such a heterogeneous place, it’s no wonder that so many in the Black community feel comfortable making New York their home.

New York is a leader when it comes to issues such as criminal justice reform, affordable housing initiatives, and boosting access to quality education for underserved communities, especially in recent years.

Photo credit: Bruce W


If you looking for a state that doesn’t just talk the talk, but actually enacts change, look no further than Washington! Given that Washington is home to our entire judicial system, it’s no surprise that the Evergreen State really does walk the walk.

Washington is a leader in advancing not only equity but opportunity for everyone, no matter your race, sex, political ideology, etc.

For example, the state is known to foster conversations on important matters such as criminal justice reform, affordable housing programs, and investments in education and workforce development.

And beyond just talking about it, Washington state actively contributes to narrowing the gap in racial disparities, and as a result, creates better opportunities for historically marginalized communities.

Photo credit: KOJI FUTAMI


When it comes to cultural diversity, Hawaii is a state that leads the charge. In the Aloha State, cultural diversity is actually celebrated as a cornerstone of the state’s identity.

Its population is mostly comprised of Native Hawaiians, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and individuals of mixed ethnicities, making it the multicultural mosaic utopia that drives so many to retire there year after year.

The Hawaiian people embody an “aloha spirit,” which prioritizes acceptance, respect, and harmony for all individuals. And their efforts to not only acknowledge but preserve Native Hawaiian sovereignty and cultural practices point to their serious commitment to indigenous rights and social justice.



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