Policy Topics: Opposing Racism and Discrimination through Public Policy and Leadership

Policy Topics: Opposing Racism and Discrimination through Public Policy and Leadership

If you’ve spent any time browsing the HKS website, you may have stumbled across the Policy Topics section of the site, and within it, a spotlight on Opposing Racism and Discrimination. There you’ll find recent scholarship from our faculty members and other HKS experts on the topics of race, justice, protest, and policing. Below are a few recent highlights from the Opposing Racism and Discrimination webpage—as well as an upcoming Forum event on the topic of policing and racial justice.

Creating justice in real time: The campaign for Callie House

Callie House, a pioneering

civil rights leader at the turn of the 20th century, founded the National

Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty, and Pension Association, but was later

wrongfully accused of mail fraud and imprisoned, her legacy tarnished and

minimized. Through Professor Cornell William Brooks’ course MLD-375: Creating

Justice in Real Time: Vision, Strategies and Campaigns, a group of Harvard

students has partnered with the Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice and

the Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute to posthumously right the

wrongs suffered by House. 

Experts argue that more work is needed to remove the stigma of a

criminal record on job applications

New research co-authored by Sandra Susan

Smith and Christopher Herring seeks to inform fair chance hiring policies

for individuals with arrests or criminal records and policies on equal

employment. Their policy brief, “The Limits of Ban-the-Box Legislation,”

addresses legislation that was designed to remove employment barriers for

formerly incarcerated individuals by deleting a standard box on a job

application asking about a criminal record.

“Our in-depth interviews reveal that to the extent that these job seekers continue to perceive discriminatory treatment by employers, many will understandably turn away from work in the formal economy.” - Sandra Susan Smith


change a multiplier for racial inequities warns panel

Last April, the Institute of Politics and

the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation’s Institutional

Antiracism and Accountability Project and Harvard Project on American

Indian Economic Development convened a discussion to highlight the link

between racial justice and climate justice. Panelists discussed how Indigenous

and communities of color are often left out of federal and state conversations

about climate change preparedness and resilience, though they are uniquely

suited to generate solutions around environmental sustainability. 


A Conversation about Policing and Racial Justice


In the Forum on Monday, February 27, Cornell William Brooks, professor of the practice of public leadership and social justice at Harvard Kennedy School; Yanilda María González, assistant professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School; and Sandra Susan Smith, the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice at Harvard Kennedy School, will lead a conversation about policing and racial justice. Setti Warren, interim director of the Institute of Politics, will moderate. Watch the live stream on the IOP YouTube channel.