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Exploring solutions to racial inequality.
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The Big Picture
The Big Picture
Criminal Legal System | Rasheedah Phillips
The violence of evictions goes beyond displacement
Evictions can perpetuate poverty, disrupt lives, destabilize families, and fracture communities — and Black women are the most at risk.
Can restorative justice break the cycle of mass incarceration?
A growing number of programs are bringing healing and resolution to victims and perpetrators alike.
Criminal Legal System | Ryan Di Corpo, Oishika Hota, Jiayi Hao, Chang Liu, and Ian Weinman
Choosing redemption over imprisonment
The RISE program is showing how restorative justice can be a successful alternative to mass incarceration.
Criminal Legal System | Kelly Chan, Leon Jones, Jiajia Liu, Ziyu Peng and Jieyi Zhou
By repairing harm with families and communities, restorative justice has the power to heal and break the cycle of crime.
Criminal Legal System | Pavi Rajesh, Elijiah Nicholson-Messmer, Kaitlyn Fiery, Shuang Jing, Benjamin Tan and Rui Sun
Expanding the circle: The reality of implementing restorative justice across the country
Restorative justice programs can be successful alternatives to incarceration, but experts argue there is a long way to go before they become a large-scale solution.
Culture | Aaliyah Bilal
Searching for Black Muslims
Although the U.S. is home to almost a million Black Muslims, the group is absent from pop culture representations, invisible both on screen and in the American imagination.
Wealth Gap | Daryl A. Carter
Black and Brown Americans are chronically underbanked and unbanked. Here’s why that matters
Decades of no or limited access to banks has had major financial ramifications for Black and Brown Americans, who are the most underbanked and unbanked groups in the country.
Health | Leia Belt and Jill Inderstrodt
It’s possible to change low rates of Black breastfeeding, but it starts with acknowledging the legacy of slavery
Increasing breastfeeding through a public health approach isn’t enough. First, we need to reshape Black breastfeeding narratives.
Video | Solutions Circle
Breastfeeding While Black and Thriving
The Emancipator recently brought new and expecting Black and Brown moms into conversation with doulas, birth sisters, midwives, lactation consultants, and doctors.
The Big Picture | Alex LaSalvia
What do we get wrong about the March on Washington?
We talked to three historians who shed light on the dangerous, radical, and inspirational event that defined the Civil Rights Movement.
Education | Melissa Clavijo
How a ‘periodic home-school mom’ finds balance between learning and living
“It’s so important to talk to your kids, whether they are in school or home-school, because whatever they’re being taught is what they believe is important.”
Education | Jordan Wright
Essay: My Afrocentric home-school centers my Blackness instead of watering it down
Not everyone has a parent who can create a whole co-op for them, but perhaps just obtaining a library card, membership at your local Black History Museum, and placing yourself within highly diverse spaces would be just as impactful.
Education | Ethan Greene
Essay: My teachers had low expectations for me. Home-schooling changed everything.
“Some teachers would openly question my academic ability and had low expectations for me. I often felt I could not win, so why try?”
Education | Christopher Rivas
The great Ameri-con dream: Our generation is drowning in student debt
Our generation has been burdened with debt we’ll never be able to repay. Is it our fault, or the system’s?
Education | Cyrena Gawuga
New student loan forgiveness measures must include the disabled
A disability-sensitive debt relief program would benefit anyone facing hiring biases, unemployment, or changes in health status.
Culture | Frederick Joseph
Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Aniston, and the grace owed across cultures
When a Black person missteps in grasping cultural complexities, we aren’t handed teachable moments, but indictments.
Health | Allison Torres Burtka
“It’s a dignity issue”: Inside the movement tackling period poverty in the U.S.
People who struggle to afford the rising costs of scarce period supplies face higher risks of infection, and often miss work or school.
Education | Public Voices Fellows of AcademyHealth
Affirmative action decision will worsen health disparities
Diversity saves lives. And the inverse is true as well: A lack of diversity shortens them.
Author Q&A | Donovan X. Ramsey
What the crack epidemic reveals about America
In a conversation with The Emancipator, Donovan X. Ramsey, author of “When Crack Was King,” talks about lessons we can take from the systemic failures of the crack era.
Throughline | Andre M. Perry and Jordan Fields
Boston’s Reparations Task Force is setting a precedent for other states to follow
Change must begin on a local level and then grow into a federal movement.
The Big Picture | Jesús Marrero Suárez, Melena Rodriguez, Emily Stevenson, Michael Walsh, and Youmna Sukkar
Climate change is exacerbating racial inequities. Boston is trying to change that.
Historically redlined Black and Brown communities have less tree cover and higher temperatures today.
The Big Picture | Jeff Inglis and Alex LaSalvia
Black and Latino pedestrians face a higher risk of death while walking
Our analysis found more pedestrian deaths in diverse neighborhoods. Freeways have long been pushed through Black neighborhoods, but coordinated action can reduce harm.
Criminal Legal System | Nicholas Turner
Unlocking potential for incarcerated people through Pell Grant reinstatement
Access to education from prison upholds human dignity while building safer, stronger communities.
Health | Amanda Joy Calhoun
What if doctors wore body cameras?
Body camera footage is linked to reduced police brutality. If it might do the same for the racism and medical brutality Black patients face, it’s worth a try.
Criminal Legal System | Aya Gruber
Reckoning with carceral feminism in the fight to end mass incarceration
Feminists’ impulse to “lock them up” distracts from creating structures and support that prevent gender violence in the first place. There is another way.
Criminal Legal System | LaDoris H. Cordell
The fatal flaw of judicial politics: How outrage around Brock Turner led to centuries of extra prison time
Retired Judge LaDoris H. Cordell explains how calls for harsher sentences disproportionately hurt Black and Brown people — not people convicted of sex crimes.
Wealth Gap | Andre M. Perry, Tynesia Boyea Robinson, and Manann Donoghoe
Corporate America has a responsibility to boost Black businesses on Juneteenth
Given the historic discrimination against Black people in pay, lending, and business opportunities, it's time for corporate leaders to make good on those 2020 pledges.
This Land is Our Land | Austin’s Freedom Towns
After emancipation, over 550 Black settlements emerged across Texas, offering safe havens for formerly enslaved folks seeking independence and liberation from oppression known as Freedom Towns. Over the years, gentrification, cultural erasure, natural disasters, and land dispossession have threatened the very existence of these precious communities.
Throughline | Kellie Carter Jackson
Lincoln gets way too much credit for freeing enslaved Black people
For decades, historians have argued for the agency of Black Americans in securing their own liberation during the Civil War.
Culture | David Stamps
Black Men, Let’s Hug It Out
Black men need a new game plan for emotional intimacy – one that reimagines how we can support each other and our mental health.
Criminal Legal System | Jevhon Rivers
How do we address sexual violence without contributing to the harms of mass incarceration?
We spoke with Sonya Shah about her work in restorative justice and collective responsibility to deal with the messy, nuanced work of holding people accountable and helping survivors heal.
Criminal Legal System | Yoruba Richen and Rebecca Richman Cohen
The Cognitive Dissonance of Brock Turner
The recall of Judge Aaron Persky over his sentencing of the 2016 sexual assault case resulted in harsher prison sentences for Black and Brown people for any crime, and is the subject of the film “The Recall: Reframed.”
The Recall: Reframed (Full Film)
THE RECALL: REFRAMED examines the 2018 recall of California Judge Aaron Persky, who lost his judgeship after handing down a sentence deemed too lenient by many in the infamous sexual assault case involving Stanford swimmer Brock Turner. The film offers competing perspectives and asks the difficult question: Who actually bears the burden when we demand harsher punishment for a privileged white defendant?
Explainer | Nomi Sofer
Work requirements won’t affect the debt ceiling — but they will stir up racist narratives
Washington’s debt ceiling deal pushes the “lazy welfare recipient” trope. It’s time to disrupt this destructive stereotype and stop trapping workers in a cycle of low-wage jobs with no path to real economic mobility.
The Big Picture | Suja Sawafta
Arab Americans Have Been Without A Census Category for Years. Here’s Why That Matters
People from the Middle East and North Africa have been categorized as White for decades. Is it time to rethink this classification?
Author Q&A | Leon Ford
Leon Ford was shot by police. Now he’s their partner in community healing
In a Q&A with The Emancipator, the author of “An Unspeakable Hope” talks mental health, redefining justice, and how to build a better policing system.
The Big Picture | Katrina Gipson
Overpoliced hospitals are a scary place for the traumatized or undocumented
We can provide a safe work environment without risking illegal searches, interference with treatment, and fear of deportation in patients.
The Big Picture | Daryl A. Carter
The Tennessee GOP has a problem with democracy
From expelling Black members to sabotaging health care, Republicans’ zero-sum politics assault Black, Brown, and poor Tennesseans, but the people are fighting back.
The Big Picture | Ya’Ke Smith
DEI Denial is the modern day lynching
Where lynching was an arbitrary and barbaric act to terrorize Black people, modern attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion threaten the livelihoods of those challenging oppressive systems and keep us all in the dark.
Culture | Phillipe Copeland
How to tell if a film or TV Show is antiracist
While conversations about representation are essential, we also need to talk about the way racism itself is portrayed. The stories we tell can help solve the problem — or can perpetuate it.
The Big Picture | Adam Shamsi, Monica L. Wang, and Hannah McKinney
Who’s going to check them?
Racial equity audits, when done right, can provide the knowledge and data for organizations to make real improvements in racial equity.
Culture | May-lee Chai
We need to talk about Tár’s racist ending
In a time of rising anti-Asian hate, Tár, starring Cate Blanchett as a world-famous conductor, carelessly relies on Asian stereotypes to portray its White protagonist’s fall from grace.
Video | Aya Shabu
Health Equity Tour: Durham’s Hayti Neighborhood
Once one of the most vibrant Black business districts in America, Durham’s Hayti neighborhood was dismantled by urban renewal efforts. Despite challenges, its residents haven’t given up on the promise that Hayti represents.
Health | Khary Rigg, Ph.D.
The Black opioid crisis reveals that barriers to treatment must come down
Urban Black communities are now ground zero for overdose deaths, yet Black people don’t get the same access to life saving medication. Systemic racism in healthcare is making this epidemic deadlier.
The Big Picture | Arionne Nettles
Saving Black homes lost to tax inequity
For decades, the sale of tax debt and unfair property assessments have disproportionately caused Black Americans to lose their homes across the United States.
The Big Picture | Gaurav J. Pathania
Caste should not be part of the ‘American Dream’
Caste could become the newest protected class in Seattle’s anti-discrimination law. More lawmakers need to follow suit to prevent this system of rigid hierarchy from taking root in the U.S. and protect the rights of lower-caste South Asian immigrants.
The Big Picture | Nicholas Turner
Long prison sentences are cruel and ineffective: here’s the proof
The United States incarcerates nearly 2 million people. More than half are serving sentences of 10 or more years. Long sentences were promoted with weak evidence, and the evidence of the harm they do is clear — so how did we end up here?
Throughline | Margaret Littman
Nashville’s historic Woolworth building is in trouble
The history of this site, where Rep. John Lewis’ first arrest in student-led sit-ins that helped lead to desegregation of restaurants across the country, is being erased by its new owners. These stories need to be preserved.
Culture | Shay Stewart-Bouley
Go South, young (wo)man: A Black woman’s quest to manifest her own destiny
The author of ‘Black Girl in Maine’ blog reveals the struggles of being a ‘Professional Black Person’ in New England and looks South for her next chapter.
Culture | Monica Russel y Rodriguez
Lessons learned as a DEI plumber
The hope of a diversity, equity, and inclusion office is to build something better, but often staff are stuck patching constant leaks in old, flawed institutions. And it’s draining work.
Video | Shermann “Dilla” Thomas
Community Health Equity Tour
Family, heritage, and community all play a powerful role in maintaining the health and wellness of a city’s residents. Our health equity tour of Chicago’s Little Village shows a neighborhood emblematic of these ideas. Next up: Durham, North Carolina.
Video | Ibram X. Kendi
Talking to your kids about race
What are we saying to our kids about race even when we don’t say anything? Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, explains how it is a false choice whether or not to teach your young child about race, because, either way, they’re picking up on your attitude about race.
Education | Jaclyn Friedman
‘Parents’ rights’ as a red herring
The common thread through grievances around masking, vaccines, CRT, and trans kids in sports is clear: this astroturf movement wants to “defund government education.”
VIDEO | William Horne
We’ve Been Here Before: Insurrections and White Supremacy
As we remember and assess the damage of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection on America today, it’s valuable to take a hard look at the impact and consequences that white conservative election denialism played in our shared history.
Culture | Phillipe Copeland
The art of the denial
Racism denial is a political strategy and a coping tool, used by those who benefit from racism and those unwilling to confront the dire contradictions in our society. Phillipe Copeland walks us through its different forms so we can recognize and counter them.
Throughline | Jeffrey Boutwell
Time for a New Emancipation Proclamation
The dynamics of how best to maximize Black voting power remain the same as they were on Great Emancipation Day 1903 when William Monroe Trotter and former Massachusetts Gov. George S. Boutwell, an architect of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th and 15th amendments, called for a New Emancipation Proclamation.
Throughline | Jeff Inglis
U.S. military to stop honoring Confederate history — finally
The Naming Commission's goal is to remove all official commemorations of the Confederacy, which Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley has called “an act of rebellion. It was an act of treason.”
The Big Picture | Spencer Piston
Reimagining the police
Jacqueline Kung joined Cambridge HEART after witnessing a neighbor handcuffed and detained after his mother died. The Massachusetts-based mutual aid group is a kind of citizen-driven alternative to traditional policing, though activists worry these approaches will be watered down by government officials.
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The Big Picture | Neda Khoshkhoo and Jasmine Gonzales Rose
Yes, filling out race on forms is tiresome. Here’s why it matters.
Completing a race questionnaire can be tiring, intrusive, or even inaccurate, but the data they collect are necessary for understanding how racism operates, how resources are distributed, and how different racial and ethnic groups experience benefits or harms.
Video | Monica Wang
Why racism is a public health crisis
Dr. Monica Wang breaks down a U.C. Berkeley study linking racism in a community to higher risk of heart disease deaths among both Black and White members of the community.
Education | Olivia Poulin
It’s time to end catch-up culture in American schools
The COVID-19 pandemic gave us an opportunity to reimagine learning. The late bell hooks, author of “Teaching to Transgress,” laid the groundwork for an education system that fully supports student growth and teacher well-being.
Health | V. Jo Hsu
We might be over the pandemic, but it’s not over us
We cannot abandon millions plagued by long COVID, whose symptoms can include difficulty breathing, cognitive dysfunction, and fatigue that interferes with everyday activity — disproportionately hurting marginalized people.
Culture | Audra Simpson
Indigenous identity theft must stop
Once again, a scholar vaulted to a position of power and influence through a claimed Indigenous descent has been revealed to be a White woman. The overdue embrace of Native voices is being co-opted while real Native women still suffer, facing a disproportionate number of murders and disappearances.
The Big Picture | Phillipe Copeland
Call ‘tough on crime’ what it is: a tool of racial oligarchy
Conservatives and liberals alike embrace a “law and order” framework, which blames reformers, the poor, and the unhoused for concerns about crime, and enforces rule based on wealth and racism. We need to build a better future.
THE TALK | VIDEO
A letter to my White sons
Joanna Schroeder on the talk she has with her White sons breaking down the red flags of White nationalism.
Comics | Joel Christian Gill
Everything’s Racist Comic: Guns
Artist Joel Christian Gill reveals the difficult history behind everything.
Kimberly Atkins Stohr
Affirmative action in college admissions is at risk
The Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority is poised to close doors to access, equity, and diversity, but there are others that can be opened.
The Big Picture | Lina Saleh and Adaeze Okorie
Enter the Other Swing Voter: the mighty 8%
Two young Black voters at Boston University share their message for the “Other Swing Voter” – those who swing between voting Democratic or not at all, most likely to be young and Black or young and Latino.
The Big Picture | Lora-Ellen McKinney
My first abortion occurred at age 11. Then there were the others.
Lora-Ellen McKinney has never been pregnant. With an extremely rare genetic connective tissue disorder, her life was saved by abortion care.
The Big Picture | Xavier de Souza Briggs, Andre Perry, Darrick Hamilton, and Rick McGahey
To keep promises of achieving racial equity, let’s start keeping score
We already score proposed legislation for its cost to taxpayers, and we require environmental impact assessments for many major projects. If we value racial inclusion and equity, then we should measure it, score it, and hold leaders accountable for how well it is achieved through government action.
Black Progress Index | Andre M. Perry
What’s going right about Black life? The Black Progress Index tells us what, where, and how
We assembled data from as many U.S. counties as possible to identify the strongest predictors of well-being, with life expectancy as the primary measure. The index analyzes these places and more.
HEALTH | Katherine Standish and Afi Semenya
Paying attention: Boston hospital helps breastfeeding Black moms, babies thrive
Many healthcare interventions can help families successfully breastfeed and address compelling evidence of racist structures that perpetuate the vicious cycle of health inequities.
The Talk | Kristen Pope
Lily’s big hair day
For the last year of pre-kindergarten, my daughter, Lily, has thrived as the only Black child in her entire school, where her teachers and school administrators love her, care for her, and support her. But there have been some bumps that mostly involved race; one instance was related to her hair.
The Talk | Amber Payne and Deborah D. Douglas
The Talk: How identity shapes the way we keep our children safe
Depending on who you are and how you live, this conversation can go a lot of ways.
Education | Kimi Waite
The great resisters of Japanese American history have a powerful story to tell
History shows us Asian Americans have consistently engaged in resistance against injustices by challenging systemic racism as far back as 1879, but ongoing anti-critical race theory campaigns and backlash from the far right demonstrate the struggle for an antiracist education continues.
Education | Kimberly Atkins Stohr
Biden’s student loan debt relief isn’t just fair, it’s a good first start
There is a reason White parents pay much more tuition or student loans as Black parents: Because they can.
These voting rights heroes are fighting for your rights
Across the country, people are mobilizing to stop these attacks on our democracy. Meet some of the changemakers working to protect our vote.
How new voting laws may affect you
The Emancipator is here to help you understand what voting laws mean and how to prepare. From registration deadlines to requesting mail-in ballots to voting in-person, VoteChat has the answers.