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.

Events

View all
Apr 4 2024

Voices of Impact

4:00-5:30 pm
Apr 3 2024

Misogynoir in Education

11:30 am-12:50 pm
Research insights

Piloting guaranteed income in U-M’s backyard

Kristin Seefeldt and U-M researchers work to reimagine social safety net in Ann Arbor and beyond.
Read more
Research insights

Facial recognition technology should be banned in schools

Shobita Parthasarathy's analysis finds that facial recognition exacerbates racism—and is not accurate.
Read more about this study
Research insights

Chronicling anti-Asian hate

Poverty Solutions report provides insights into the location, nature, and perpetrators of anti-Asian hate incidents that occurred in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more
Research insights

How can we make public transportation more equitable?

A new multidisciplinary project with U-M researchers reveals common barriers transportation decision makers face in considering and addressing equity.
Read more
Research insights

Injuries of inequality and the promise of safety nets

Celeste Watkins-Hayes and Dominique Adams-Santos shed light on the consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade and how robust safety nets can stem the tide of inequality in the American Journal of Sociology.
Read more
Research insights

Policing a neurodiverse world

David Thacher contends that police should work to change the environments where people with psychiatric disabilities live and work, in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice.
Read more
Research insights

State bans on ‘divisive concepts’ could stifle population health research

Paula Lantz reviews recent legislation that prohibits teaching and mandatory training for students, faculty, and staff in public higher education on specified 'divisive concepts' related to race and sex—and argues that many are critical to understanding and addressing disparities in health.
Read more
Student experience

Students find inspiration from racial justice changemakers

Social justice leaders, artists, and advocates shared their diverse journeys into activism and students learned how to leverage different skill sets to positively impact communities of color.
Read more
Engaging community

Addressing systemic inequities and educational disparities

Katherine Michelmore examines how much black-white educational disparities reflect differences in family, school, and neighborhood contexts, and how the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) impacts multigenerational households and lower-income families with a nonresident parent.
Read more
Research insights

Detroiters' views on reparations

According to a 2023 survey, 63% of Detroit residents support some form of reparations and 70% say addressing racial inequality should be a high policy priority for elected officials.
Read more
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.
Susan Rice meets with students on MLK Day
Visiting fellows

Catalysts for racial justice

The inaugural 2022-2203 Center for Racial Justice visiting fellows cohort—Julian Brave NoiseCat, Makeda Easter, and Atinuke (Tinu) O. Adediran—reflect on the work they've pursued during their year at the Ford School.
Read more
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.
Read more about Dr. Demessie
Student engagement

Racial justice practitioners help policy students apply new skills

Four workshops explored different dimensions of justice, led by practitioners with on-the-ground expertise in areas ranging from antiracism and global development to community organizing.
Read more
New program

New Michigan Medicine Program Seeks to Address Adolescent and Child Health-care Inequities

Michigan Medicine launched a first-of-its-kind program designed to identify and address equity issues for young patients and their families.
Read more
Faculty expert

Earl Lewis featured in PBS series, Making Black America

The founding director of the Center for Social Solutions showcases the ability of the Black community to collectively prosper, defy white supremacy, and define Blackness in ways that transformed America.
Read more
Research insights

Risks of pretrial assessment tools

New research shows serious bias concerns with the use of pretrial risk assessment tools as an alternative to cash bail.
Read more
Research insights

Forty acres and a mule?

Research fellows Erykah Benson and Jasmine Simington from the Center for Racial Justice summarize Flint residents' attitudes about reparations, based on a representative survey conducted by the Michigan Metro Area Communities Study.
Read more

Masterclass in activism with Angela Harrelson

Kaltura Video