Undoing ‘Generations of Rank Discrimination’: Inclusive Communities and the Future of Anti-Bias Forensics

Anita HillMLK Visiting Professor of Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) 

Tuesday, October 17
11:45am-1pm
MIT Room 6-104 (Chipman Room)

In June, in a decision that promises to energize American desegregation efforts, the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed a broad interpretation of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The Court confirmed that the law proscribes not only overt, intentional acts of discrimination but also policies and practices that are “fair in form, but discriminatory in operation.” I will discuss how the Court’s decision could change the way housing, employment and education bias cases are argued and proven. The talk’s title is inspired by the words of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who during the case’s oral arguments reminded listeners that the “grand goal” of the Fair Housing Act was to “undo generations of rank discrimination.


This talk will be accessible to a general audience. We ask that you register here. If you are able to attend, please reply to Shauna Bush-Fenty (sfenty@mit.edu) with any dietary restrictions, accessibility considerations or other needs.

 

The Gender/Race Imperative: The Future of Title IX

Anita Hill will be moderating a series of presentations and workshops entitled The Gender/Race Imperative. It aims to revive awareness of the broad capacity of Title IX, the crucial law mandating equal education opportunities for women. The hope is that the series will kick start inquiry to foster legal, policy, and social reforms that enable success in schools and workplaces for girls and women of all races and economic backgrounds. To engage and educate MIT and the broader Boston area community on the role of Title IX in education, particularly for STEM, MIT brings engineers and other scientists together in conversation with lawyers and social scientists to develop multidimensional strategies for promoting equity in STEM.


First in the series is “The Future of Title X”
Tuesday October 3rd, 2017
Doors open at 3:30PM
Presentation starts at 4:00PM
Walker Memorial – Building 50

Open to the public, no registration required

Hosted by:
  • Muriel Medard – Cecil H. Green Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
  •  Anita Hill – MIT Martin Luther King Fellow, University Professor of Law, Public Policy and Women’s Studies, Heller Graduate School of Policy and Management, Brandeis University
Guest speakers:
  • Catherine Lhamon – Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Former Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
  • Deborah Slaner Larkin – Chief, Advocacy Officer at the Women’s Sports Foundation
  • Fatima Goss Graves – Director of the National Women’s Law Center
Lhamon, Larkin, and Graves are national authorities on Title IX, each of whom brings a different perspective on how this civil rights law works and how to strengthen its effectiveness.  In this first in a series of programs, these speakers will familiarize the audience with the many ways which Title IX insures that no person “shall be excluded from participation, in be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”  As well, each speaker will provide an assessment of Title IX’s influence going forward.

 

 

 

Garnette Cadogan: The Future of New Writing

The Future of New Writing: Introducing Freeman’s Issue Four

Garnette Cadogan is among the 29 writers whose work “will continue to be traveling into the future—perhaps even define it,” according to Freeman’s. The literary journal is a new biannual of unpublished writing by former Granta editor and National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) president John Freeman, which brings together the best new fiction, nonfiction, and poetry around a single theme.

Says Freeman:

On occasion here, writers allow us to see them making themselves, like an artist painting his own portrait into a large fresco. In a moving personal essay, Garnette Cadogan reveals how a childhood of step-parental abuse forced him to think of himself as a character destined for abuse or revenge.

The Future of New Writing will be launched in New York City, Thursday October 5th at the New School, 66 West 12th Street, with Garnette Cadogan, Elaine Castillo, Valeria Luiselli and Dinaw Mengestu. Tickets are available here.

READ MORE

 

 

EVENT

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
11:45 am – 1 pm
MIT Room 6-104 (Chipman Room)

Please join us in our first 2017-2018 monthly MLK Scholars luncheon on Tuesday, September 19 in 6-104. All members of the MIT community are welcome!

Lunch will be served. Please inform us of any dietary restrictions or preferences.

From Truthdig, 9 June 2017: 

Although headlines about Russia and James Comey have dominated mainstream media for most of Trump’s presidency thus far, damage to democracy has been going on behind the scenes. Advocates of net neutrality are watching in horror as Ajit Pai, head of the Federal Communications Commission, works to destroy net neutrality and other consumer protection regulations.

“Most Americans are not able to get the information that they need to keep themselves safe.” So says Mark Lloyd [MLK Visiting Scholar 2002-04], the associate general counsel and chief diversity officer at the Federal Communications Commission in 2009-2012. Lloyd, also an author, a professor of communications at USC’s Annenberg School and an Emmy Award-winning journalist, sat down with Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer on his KCRW podcast “Scheer Intelligence” for a conversation on media consolidation and consumer protection.

Lloyd has written for Truthdig about media consolidation and the communications crisis happening in America, and he expands on these ideas in his discussion with Scheer.

 

 

This communications crisis started “before Trump,” Lloyd says. He explains how a lack of effective telecommunications affects health, finances and other crucial factors of Americans’ lives.

“In the U.S., our priorities are to make sure that people are making money in communications,” Lloyd continues, “and not making sure that people are safe with the communications services that they use.”

“So we’re not even talking about whether they’re being informed about trade with China or the war in Syria,” Scheer notes. “We’re talking about, actually, what they need for their well-being.”

The two go on to discuss the FCC, where Lloyd once worked as a lawyer. Lloyd explained that, while at the FCC, he tried to make communications services more accessible to all—but then the 2016 election happened.

He goes on to break down the current battle over net neutrality:

The challenge is that organizations like Google, like Netflix, like Facebook—they don’t really provide you with internet service. What they provide you with is the entertainment, with the application that you need to search the internet, with your ability to connect with your friends and things like that because you’re connected to an application. Internet service providers—Comcast, AT&T, Verizon—those folks actually provide you with internet service. That’s where the rubber meets the road. So Google, Facebook, these other companies, they don’t want to have to pay any more than they have to to have access to you.

Lloyd also explains the constitutional origins of U.S. communications and delves into media consolidation in the U.S.

“There’s nothing radically new here,” Lloyd says of the Trump administration’s stance on net neutrality and consumer protections. “The big challenge is that we have an FCC that is not really even looking at the impact of media consolidation, on what it means to local communities.”

Read the full transcript for the interview here.

 

 

Former MLK Visiting Professors Christopher Rose and Sylvester James Gates, Jr. are part of Brown University’s diversity and inclusion action plan, which is committed to doubling the number of faculty from historically underrepresented groups, two initiatives are already attracting both early-career and experienced scholars to Brown.


From “New programs seek to diversify faculty at Brown and beyond,” News from Brown, 19 May 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Just over a year ago, Brown University launched into the work of activating an ambitious, far-reaching plan to create a more diverse and inclusive academic community. Among the plan’s chief priorities was a multifaceted effort to double the number of faculty members from historically underrepresented groups by 2022.

Two initiatives related to that effort — the Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the Provost’s Visiting Professors Program — are in full swing, each representing a distinct element in a broader strategy to boost faculty diversity. The first aims to widen the pipeline of young scholars from diverse backgrounds who will compete for tenure-track positions at Brown and elsewhere in the future. The other focuses more immediately on the present by attracting distinguished senior scholars from historically underrepresented groups to Brown for temporary appointments.

And both are already producing results.

“Diversity is a cornerstone of academic excellence,” Brown President Christina Paxson said. “Through a set of distinctive and purposeful programs, we are seeing success at increasing faculty diversity at all levels — from the most recent recipients of Ph.D.s to academics who are at the peak of their careers as educators and scholars.”

Liza Cariaga-Lo, the University’s vice president for academic development, diversity and inclusion, said that cultivating a more diverse faculty is essential to the creation of an academic community that embodies the social and intellectual diversity of the world and offers students and scholars the highest level of academic excellence.

“These programs are already helping us to meet the goals set out in our diversity and action plan by addressing faculty hiring at multiple points in the academic career pipeline,” she said.

Developing young scholars

In 2015 — a semester before the debut of the full Pathways to Diversity and Inclusionaction plan — Brown launched the Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program to support the development of early career scholars who add intellectual diversity to the campus.

From the start of the first cohort of six fellows, Cariaga-Lo said, the program’s specific emphasis has been recruiting scholars from historically underrepresented groups who might eventually compete for tenure-track faculty positions at the University. During their time at Brown, each fellow spends two semesters teaching a course of their own design and another two semesters wholly devoted to their research. With each new cohort, the University will bring in up to six new scholars, she noted.

Attracting accomplished researchers

While the Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program offers opportunities for emerging scholars, the Provost’s Visiting Professors Program is designed to bring to Brown those who are already highly accomplished. All come from historically underrepresented groups for periods ranging from six to 24 months.

For the current 2016-17 academic year, Brown welcomed the first cohort of visitors: renowned physicists Sylvester James Gates Jr. and John A. Johnson, and accomplished epidemiologist Ronald Aubert.

The aim is to broaden the excellence of Brown faculty while helping to build a critical mass of diverse voices in the University’s academic community, said Provost Richard M. Locke.

“We were very pleased to draw such exceptional scholars to Brown as part of this program,” Locke said. “I know our students and faculty benefited greatly from their interactions with the first cohort of visitors, and we hope to see that continue as the program moves forward.”

Gates, a theoretical physicist at the University of Maryland, is a recipient of the National Medal of Science and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He also served a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology during the Obama administration.

He says several factors made him want to be a part of the visiting professors program at Brown.

“Brown has long had a reputation for its flexibility in educating undergraduates and for having fantastic students, and I wanted to be involved with that,” he said. “But the other thing is that Brown is making some historic efforts at being more inclusive, and that also is something that fascinated me.”

Gates says when he thinks about the value of programs like this, he’s reminded of something a female colleague once said to him.

“She said it really matters when a young woman sees someone who looks like her at the blackboard,” Gates recalled. “It provides real encouragement for people from groups who have been traditionally locked out of some of these positions.”

Chris Rose, a professor of engineering and associate dean of the faculty for special initiatives, helps oversee the program. He said it has been gratifying to see the first cohort engaging with students and fellow faculty members throughout campus.

“We’re not the first university to have this type of program, but we wanted to structure ours differently,” Rose said. “From the beginning, we aimed for a program that was outward-facing, where visitors weren’t cloistered within a single academic department, but instead were making connections across campus. To do that, we need to bring people to campus who not only have great depth in their interests, but great breadth as well.”

Aubert, chief science officer for a health care consulting firm and an adjunct associate professor at the University of North Carolina, has a dual visiting appointment in the Brown University School of Public Health and with the University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA). So in addition to teaching and mentoring students in public health, he also gave informal talks with students and faculty at CSREA on issues of race and ethnicity as they relate to the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. He’ll continue his work over he summer, developing campus-wide programming on issues of public health and race.

Gates co-taught a physics class, gave a colloquium on science-based public policy at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and served as co-director of Brown’s Presidential Scholars Program, which provides research opportunities and support for low-and-middle-income undergraduates.

Amid all that, Gates still had time to continue his research, which he said benefitted from the collaborative ethos he found at Brown.

“What I’m working on is a strange combination of physics, mathematics, computer science and even a bit of evolutionary biology,” Gates said. “There’s a real spirit of interdisciplinarity here that enabled my work.”

Rose says he looks forward to the program’s continued success, along with the suite of related programs aimed at creating a more diverse academic community at Brown.

“There’s a constant drumbeat of these kinds of programs at Brown growing out of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, along with the institutional will to see them through,” Rose said. “In terms of making meaningful progress in diversity and inclusion, I think Brown is the place to watch.”

[Editor’s Note: In late May 2017, shortly after publication of this story, Sylvester James Gates Jr. agreed to become a permanent member of Brown’s faculty.]

 

READ FULL ARTICLE

 

 

 Baratunde Cola wins the 2017 Waterman Award, awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF):

Bara won the most prestigious award to young scientists and engineers given by the US, which very very few MIT faculty have ever won.

–Ed Bertschinger, MIT Department of Physics and Institute Community & Equity Officer (ICEO)

 

 

 

 

 

EVENT

Thursday, April 27, 2017
6:30-8:30 pm
MIT Student Center – W20-306

 

Come for dinner and to enjoy the visual art and performances of MIT and Wellesley students.

All visual, literary art and performance art is inspired by the ideals of Dr. King and/or other civil rights leaders in the past or current human rights activists in the US and the World. These ideals include freedom, justice, peace, equality, civil rights, human rights and/or social justice.


CONTEST

DEADLINE TO ENTER: Monday, April 24, 2017 [entry form]

 

Win cash prizes up to $250.00 each!

The Fifth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. – Inspired Art and Performance Contest

Are you inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr or other civil rights leaders such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, Fannie Lou Hamer and Harvey Milk?

Express yourself by entering

  • visual art (painting, photography, sculpture, video)
  • performance art (music, song, spoken word, dance, theater)
  • literary work (poetry, short story, speech, play)

The contest is open to all MIT Undergraduates, Graduate Students, and Wellesley students cross registered at MIT this semester.

Your entry should be related to or inspired by any of the ideals of Dr. King and/or other civil rights leaders in the past or current human rights activists in the US and the World. These ideals include freedom, justice, peace, equality, civil rights, human rights and/or social justice.

Here is your chance to show off your creativity and artistic skills to the MIT community, have fun and win money!

Please send long literary entries (short stories, plays, speeches) to Tobie Weiner (iguanatw@mit.edu) prior to the contest.

 

WHEN

Sat, April 22, 2017
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT

Add to Calendar

WHERE

MIT DUSP City Arena
105 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 9-255
Cambridge, MA 02139

View Map

 


The Spirit of Detroit: 1950 to 2050 is a one-day symposium which focuses on the City of Detroit’s past, present, and future. The symposium is an outgrowth of the work of Kenneth E. Reeves, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholar in the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at MIT. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Detroit 1967 riot, and the symposium focuses on Detroit’s heyday in the 1950’s and 1960’s and the city’s journey from 1967 into a potentially promising yet uncertain future. The symposium will feature knowledgeable speakers from Detroit on a morning panel and an afternoon panel to explore a wide range of topics on the city from 1950 to 2050. Camilo José Vergara, author of Detroit Is No Dry Bones: The Eternal City of the Industrial Age, will give a keynote address during lunch. The overarching goal of this event will be to look back in order to look forward.

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

REGISTER HERE

 

 

 From MIT News, 30 March 2017:

3Q: J. Phillip Thompson on revitalizing Central Brooklyn
Advisor to $1.4 billion state plan sees health care as foundation for “Vital Brooklyn.”

By Ken Shulman | School of Architecture and Planning

 

In early March, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an ambitious $1.4 billion state plan to revitalize Central Brooklyn — a zone that experiences chronically high rates of unemployment, obesity, and murder. Called “Vital Brooklyn,” the initiative includes a $700 million investment in health care. J. Phillip Thompson, associate professor of urban studies and planning at MIT, was instrumental in shaping this comprehensive approach to health. An urban planner and political scientist who focuses on race, community development, and health, Thompson worked for New York’s Mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990s and has long worked with labor unions and community groups.   

 

Q: How did you become involved in the Vital Brooklyn project?

A: This initiative started in response to a proposal to close the Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn in 2015. The hospital workers’ union, Local 1199 (SEIU), and the New York State Nurses Association — along with an array of community organizations, churches, and elected officials — contacted me to put together a community health needs study and to help determine whether it made sense to close that hospital. I think they reached out to me because of my research interests and connection with MIT, and because I’d worked both with Brooklyn community groups and for the New York City government. I think they wanted “experts” they could trust to give them an opinion based on data analysis — who would be straight with them whether the news was good or bad.

Mariana Arcaya, now an assistant professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), and about a dozen students from DUSP also participated in various stages of the research. From analyzing data, speaking with health experts, and surveying the various community groups, we saw that not only was there still a need for a hospital in the community, but that the hospital wasn’t delivering the services that this particular community needed most. For the short term, they needed better cardiovascular and ob/gyn departments. But the larger picture that emerged showed that this was a very sick community. And that most of its illnesses were chronic diseases that can be attributed to poverty and unemployment: asthma caused by mold in substandard housing; obesity due to poor food and fear of going to parks and public spaces for exercise because of violence from the drug trade; and all the ailments that stem from the stress of unemployment.

Q: Can a hospital respond to those conditions?

A: Not on its own. These hospitals all lose money. Typically, when a hospital is losing money, they try to make up the difference by doing things such as performing more heart surgeries, because Medicaid reimburses these surgeries at an advantageous rate. But this makes sense only if you look at each hospital individually. Medicaid is a giant insurance program and the state is the insurer. And it’s not in the state’s interest — or good for its fiscal bottom line — to have more heart surgeries. What’s good for their bottom line is to keep people out of hospitals and out of emergency rooms.

We believe that the only way we can improve community health — and save the state some money — is to build a primary care network throughout the community where people can see a doctor or nurse on a regular basis and get a prescription for medication for high blood pressure or diabetes. It is equally important to aggressively go after the conditions that are responsible for the community’s poor health. We need a comprehensive integrated plan to address social problems. You can’t improve public health unless you consider housing, for example. And you can’t improve housing without looking at unemployment. And you can’t reduce unemployment without looking at the local economy and schools.

It is equally essential that we empower the community to control the process of implementation. That means instead of having contractors and laborers from outside the community build the housing, you hire workers from the community. You establish training and educational support so people can be trained rapidly and become qualified for construction jobs and for work in the community health clinics. We also have to learn to identify underutilized assets in these communities and stop looking at them simply as poor communities. Hospitals and other industries in these communities buy billions of dollars in goods and services from all over the world. Why not have them buy some of them from local vendors? Who does your laundry? Who grows your food? Later, we can start to look at creating more complex local businesses like manufacturing.

Q: And public safety? How does the plan promote that?

A: If you want to solve the problem of fear, of people being afraid of going to the park to exercise, you need to address the issue of felons. This is one of the most difficult issues in the community. What do you do with these people who no one wants to hire? How do you keep them from committing crimes, terrorizing the neighborhood? How do you keep them from returning to prison? In Cleveland, University Hospitals created an industrial laundry, a worker-owned business that deliberately hires ex-felons. This is a way to improve the conditions in communities beset with crime. We believe this idea is replicable in Brooklyn. And we’ve already been contacted on this idea by hospitals in Wilmington, Delaware, and Hartford, Connecticut. Sometimes when you do the right thing, you can improve conditions in a community and save the state money. We believe it’s possible to be fiscally conservative, politically radical, and morally correct, all at the same time.