In the months following the murder of George Floyd and the summer Black Lives Matter protests, members of the Executive Development team and the DIB Task Force wanted to find a way to respond while educating others about the policy issues at the core of protests.
“It’s ambitious, but we want to do programming across a multitude of policy areas,” said Aisha Washington, program coordinator for Executive Development. “We want to bring in experts from within the School, across campus and even outside the University to talk about these issues.”
The result: members of the Executive Development team and the DIB Task Force came together to create the Black Friday webinar series, focusing on the effects public policy has had on Black people in the United States. Washington said that they hope to explore the racial outcomes of policy in areas such as housing, education, healthcare, criminal justice, finance and more.
“As a policy school, it’s our job to be engaged with these issues. Our students are going to be the people creating policies [in these areas] in the future,” said Washington “The goal is to educate people, give them perspective, and provide them supporting documentation and resources so they can get involved because we want to create change.”
The webinar series has already covered the topics of voting rights, voter suppression and the impact of the Black vote with their first two webinars in January. Oluwatoni Elewa-Gidado, a third year public policy major, interviewed Gideon Epstein '19 about his work on voting advocacy, and David Mussington moderated a session with political strategist Donna Brazile on the rise of women of color in politics.
Washington hopes that the resources and calls to action they provide at the end of each webinar will help others learn how they can get involved on campus or in their communities, and that the series acts as a stepping stone towards greater political involvement.
“The energy right now is about helping people. This is a perfect opportunity for us as a policy school to provide this platform for everyone to get involved.