Center for Racial Justice welcomes inaugural visiting fellows

August 24, 2022

The Ford School’s Center for Racial Justice proudly welcomes Atinuke (Tinu) Adediran, Makeda Easter, and Julian Brave NoiseCat as inaugural Visiting Fellows for the 2022-23 academic year.

The visiting fellows program recognizes and supports the work of social justice changemakers, offering resources to write and produce catalyst projects that are grounded in research and have the potential to transform and inform public debate, policy, and scholarly analysis. Fellows will engage with the broader Ford School and University of Michigan communities, participating in the Center’s research symposiums, public events, and professional development workshops.

The Visiting Fellows Fall Welcome Symposium will take place on Thursday, October 6 in Weill Hall and be open to the University community and the public. Fellows will be in conversation with Dr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes, founding director of the Center for Racial Justice, to share more about their catalyst projects and their work within the racial justice landscape.

“I’m thrilled to welcome three talented fellows to the Ford School and U-M community, kickstarting what we know will be an enriching and impactful experience for all,” said Watkins-Hayes, who currently serves as the interim dean of the Ford School.

“Our Visiting Fellows Program marks an exciting opportunity to spotlight and support the work of changemakers dedicated to anti-racism and racial justice,” said Dominique Adams-Santos, associate director of the Center for Racial Justice. “We are incredibly honored to be in community and conversation with our inaugural cohort of fellows. Together, they demonstrate the power and promise of activism, journalism, and research to shape how we understand–and respond to–issues at the intersection of race and public policy.”

Atinuke (Tinu) Adediran, associate professor of law at Fordham University, researches inequality in nonprofits, corporations, and law firms. Her work centers on how the law influences these institutions, how they influence the law, and how to use the law to affect change toward racial, gender, and other forms of equity within and outside of these institutions. Her catalyst project is her monograph, Affirmative Action, Inc.: Race Consciousness in America's Largest Companies, which she hopes will serve as a policy intervention tool “to deter companies from using corporate affirmative action to further entrench inequality.”  Adediran’s fellowship is co-sponsored by Goldman Sachs’s One Million Black Women (OMBW) initiative.

Makeda Easter is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, KCET, Dance Magazine, Austin Chronicle, Chemical & Engineering News, and more. The Center for Racial Justice will support Easter’s catalyst project, the art rebellion, an independent digital publication focused on artists-activists in underreported regions and communities. Inspired by disparities in current art coverage, she envisions the platform will “emphasize the importance of artists in creating social change and empower artists through service journalism to make a living and impact through their work.” Easter also hopes the project will “transform arts reporting, [by] decentralizing New York and L.A. and the wealthiest art institutions, and instead spotlight radical and resistance art in small and mid-sized cities.” Her fellowship is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellows Program.

Julian Brave NoiseCat is an Indigenous (Secwepemc/St’it’limix) writer, filmmaker, and activist who works at the intersection of climate journalism and advocacy for indigenous rights. NoiseCat's work has been recognized with numerous awards including the 2022 American Mosaic Journalism Prize, which honors "excellence in long-form, narrative or deep reporting on stories about underrepresented and/or misrepresented groups in the present American landscape." In 2021, he was named to the TIME100 Next list of emerging leaders for his work at the center of the climate crisis. As a Visiting Fellow, NoiseCat will complete his first book, We Survived the Night, as well as work on a documentary film that he is co-directing with Emily Kassie. With this support, NoiseCat says, he hopes that the projects will “shift the conversation and help policymakers and the public better understand the history, struggle, and ongoing vitality of Indigenous peoples in both the United States and Canada.”

About the Center for Racial Justice

The Center for Racial Justice is an innovative and cross-disciplinary hub in which social justice changemakers, scholars, and students work collaboratively to develop new tools and strategies in the pursuit of racial justice, resulting in better policy solutions and the cultivation of the next generation of high-impact leaders and thinkers. Housed at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, the center brings changemakers—organizational leaders, activists, artists, policy advocates, and policymakers—in direct and sustained conversation with some of the top scholars and students working at the intersection of race and public policy.