By Marcia Ely

Welcoming audiences to our evening programs is one of my tasks at the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS). In my words of greeting, I often try to dispel the associations many have of historical societies as dusty places of White perspectives, telling one-sided histories. “Brooklyn Historical Society is not like that,” I say, with urgency. I really want people to get that. I know that distrusting institutions of historical authority is entirely reasonable. Especially in matters of race.


By Mindy Thompson Fullilove

This year, 2019, marks the 400th anniversary of the first landing of Africans at colonial Jamestown, to be sold into bondage. Such an historic moment raises challenges of open and honest observance of the full ramifications of that pivotal event – an observance that embraces remembrance and reparation, resistance and reform, contrition and correction.


The terrifying message came via a robo-call on April 20.

“Pack your things. Your stay is not the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) responsibility anymore,” Andrea Tejeda, 26, recalls hearing on her cellphone. She was one of a dozen Puerto Rican families dislocated by last September’s devastating Hurricane Maria staying in a hotel on West 38th Street in Manhattan.


URBAN MATTERS | Racial Equity

Chaos or Community: The Tasks that Dr. King Left Us

By Mindy Fullilove, Darrick Hamilton with Chris Famighetti, and Maya Wiley

Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis. Just months before his death he authored his final book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? From three different perspectives, three of The New School’s leading scholars tackle that question, and current challenges to creating a more just and humane society.


In 1619, colonists in Jamestown, Virginia bought the first African slaves to be brought to what eventually became the United States. To mark this impending major anniversary of an event lamented by the poet Langston Hughes as “the American Heartbreak,” teachers and students at The New School have launched a project called “400 Years of Inequality.” It’s a university-wide conversation, including a recent week of “curriculum disruptions” in classes ranging from music to mathematics, designed to explore slavery’s enduring impact on American life, history, and the social structure of inequality.


Urban Matters | Racial Equity

Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap

By Sean Thomas-Breitfeld and Frances Kunreuther

The nonprofit sector is experiencing a racial leadership gap. Studies show the percentage of people of color in the executive director/CEO role has remained under 20% for the last 15 years, even as the country becomes more diverse.


Urban Matters | Racial Equity

℞ for the New York Region: How We Can Create a 'Culture of Health'

By Mandu Sen

When we talk about the wellbeing of a city or region, all too often we use economic data, such as income or employment statistics. Only rarely do we also take stock of our collective health. But there are many appropriate reasons why we ought to. 


Urban Matters | Racial Equity  | School Integration

Tough Test Ahead: Bringing Racial Diversity To New York’s Specialized High Schools (2016)

By Bruce Cory and Nicole Mader
There’s a longstanding debate about why so few Black and Hispanic students are admitted to New York City’s specialized high schools, including Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech. They accounted for fewer than 9% of students offered admissions at eight specialized schools for the current school year; that’s down from 9.6% the year before. 


The Privilege of Investing in our Kids and the Racial Wealth Gap (2016)

America’s racial disparities in wealth are enormous. The white-to-black disparity in median net worth – the value of what a family owns over and above what it owes is 19 to 1. This vast wealth divide has deep, long-term implications. One consequence is that when black children become adults, they are far less likely than their white counterparts to get financial help from their parents for higher education – a disparity that has financial implications over the course of the adult child’s life and reinforce unequal socio-economic status across generations.


Report | Racial Equity, School Integration

Segregated Schools in Integrated Neighborhoods: The City's Schools Are Even More Divided Than Our Housing (2016)

By Clara Hemphill and Nicole Mader
In multi-ethnic New York City, why are so many elementary schools segregated by race and class? New research demonstrates that school segregation is not always the result of housing patterns.


Events | Racial Equity, Criminal Justice Reform, Education, 

The 2015 Henry Cohen Lecture Series

The 2015 Henry Cohen Lecture Series, Public Policy in Action, is devoted to advancing social equity in America. The series examines how public policy serves as a vehicle to advance economic and social inclusion in the context of evolving demographic, economic, and political shifts in America. This series serves as a catalyst for the continuing dialog on the state of social justice in America.


Ben Jealous, Partner, Kapor Center for Social Impact
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Former CEO, Green for All
Jealous and Ellis-Lamkins speak on The New Civil Rights Agenda. Through this lens questions such as “How do you build an organized movement for racial justice?” and “How can advocates and community activists effectively use public policy as a tool for advancing a new civil rights agenda?” can be explored. 



Sam Myers, Jr., Director and Roy Wilkins Professor of Human Relations and Social Justice, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. 
Monifa Bandele, Senior Campaign Director for

Myers and Bandele frame their comments around the intersection of incarceration, race, policy, and economic inclusion and exclusion.



John Powell, Executive Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, University of California at Berkeley,
Noliwe Rooks, Director of Graduate Studies in Africana Studies, Cornell University.





Manuel Pastor, Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity
What are the national demographic shifts and their impact on our country and the economy? What is the “uncommon common ground”? How can policies be used to advance an inclusive agenda that works for all?


Van Jones, President of Dream Corps Unlimited, speaks on “Rebuilding the Dream: Framing Civil Rights for the 21st Century.”

Urban Matters | Racial Equity, Inequality & Poverty

The Stark Black and White of America's Wealth Divide (2015) 

By Darrick Hamilton and William Darity, Jr. 
Wealth – the value of what you and your family own minus what you owe – matters.  A lot. Wealth generates opportunity, fosters well-being, offers children the advantages of debt-free higher education and parent-provided home down-payments, provides capital for business formation and investment, and deflects the slings and arrows of outrageous economic fortune. Wealth is, in short, the paramount indicator of future economic success.