Racial justice

Our faculty think, speak out, and teach about structural inequality–about differential outcomes and experiences for Black people and other marginalized populations in education, policing, health, economics, finance, and other key systems. 

Racism is an urgent issue in America, with police violence and the powerful Black Lives Matter protest movements front and center in our minds; the issue is urgent and current, and yet it’s also far from new. Racist violence and inequality in our systems, in the U.S. and abroad, are the result of centuries of laws, policies, and institutions that have entrenched and enforced white supremacy. 

Ford School faculty help lay those structures bare, through the overlapping lenses of sociology, history, economics, political science, and more. 

Ford School students are campus leaders in the work for racial justice. They know how to build coalitions, analyze power structures, and advocate for their positions. When they graduate, many of them dedicate their careers to making public policies that shape more just, peaceful communities.

Anti-racist practice starts within our own walls. The Ford School is deeply committed to making our own community more inclusive: learn more about our strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Together, our community is committed to using the tools of public policy for good—to building structures and institutions that are just for all.

Investments

Action-based research grants "Confront and Combat Racism"

Research centers run by Ford School faculty Earl Lewis (Center for Social Solutions) and Luke Shaefer (Poverty Solutions) announced an inaugural faculty grants competition for action-based research aimed at confronting and combating systemic racism.
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Research insights

Facial recognition technology should be banned in schools

Shobita Parthasarathy's analysis finds that facial recognition exacerbates racism—and is not accurate.
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Faculty expert

Ann Lin on DACA decision: "The law is higher than the president."

The Supreme Court ruled June 18 that the Trump administration could not shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
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Research insights

Christina Cross (PhD '19) looks at dynamics among family structure, inequality, and policy.

Her dissertation, “The Color, Class, and Context of Family Structure and its Association with Children’s Educational Performance”, was been awarded the ASA 2020 Dissertation Award.
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Research insights

Learning model could improve policing

David Thacher argues that police departments should learn from “use-of-force reviews” to become more transparent and restrained.
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Research insights

COVID-19 actions that reduce social and health inequities

COVID-19 is not an equal opportunity threat. Taking a health equity lens, Paula Lantz highlights crisis response and long-term preparedness actions that are data-driven and use meaningful community engagement—to ensure the health and well-being of all.
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Faculty expert

Yazier Henry reflects on South Africa's violent, lingering landscape of inequality

He has written and published on the political economy of social voice, memory, trauma, identity, peace processes, Truth Commissions, international transitional justice and international humanitarian law.
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Engaging community

Students support local organizations to improve equity

This summer, Ford School research centers deployed the COVID-19 Consulting Corps to support local governments and nonprofits with data-gathering and operational insight as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Teams of Ford School students worked with agencies in Washtenaw County to enhance business and support networks in Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
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Our community

A Ford School conversation with alumni about Black Lives Matter

150 alumni, current students, faculty, and staff around the world joined together for a discussion to better understand and take action on issues of racial justice.
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Student experience

Susan Rice meets with students on MLK Day

Following her public event at the Ford School, Rice sat down with 20 students from the Ford School’s identity-based student organizations to discuss her career, leadership, and how to succeed in the federal workspace as a member of a minority identity group.
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Faculty expert

Some Detroit suburbs reckon with history as anti-Black 'sundown towns'

Reynolds Farley says through a massive effort, through violence and/or public policy, many Detroit border cities worked to remain all-white and keep Black people out.
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Alumni impact

Menna Demessie (PhD '10) advances underserved communities

“Data matters, and we actually have really good data that shows us why race continues to be a strong predictor of outcomes in education, employment, access to healthcare, and the list goes on.” Dr. Demessie is the vice president of policy research and analysis at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
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Our community

Student organizations stand in solidarity with Black lives

Eight Ford School student organizations released statements of solidarity with the Black community and the movements for Black lives. They are shared unedited.
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Alumni impact

Jessica Gillooly (PhD '19) calls for better 911 operator training to assess risk

Jessica Gillooly (PhD '19) calls for better 911 operator training to prevent police from killing Black people. Her new paper, published in Criminology and Public Policy, suggests uncertainty may reduce the overestimation or underestimation of incidents and improve future police encounters with the public.
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Alumni impact

Seeking asylum rights during the pandemic

Vieux and Human Rights First (HRF) created the “Know Your Rights” project to help asylum seekers prepare documents, fill out paperwork, and secure legal representation.
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Investments

Kohn gift establishes two new social policy professorships

The Karl and Martha Kohn Professorship will advance societal equity and inclusion and the Arlene Susan Kohn Professorship will address the rights of the disabled in the U.S.
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Faculty expert

Barr and Harris call for more inclusive payments

Michael S. Barr and Adrienne Harris call on central banks to take action that will low-income people better access the financial system.
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Ford School community commemoration of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and others

Kaltura Video
Ford School Community Commemoration