McCormack Racial Equity Task Force (MRET)

The McCormack Racial Equity Taskforce (M-RET) is a McCormack Graduate School deans office initiative to promote racial equity and justice at the college.

Message from Dean David Cash & Associate Dean Rita Kiki Edozie (4/21/21)

Dear McCormack Community,

Yesterday, April 20th, 2021, the State of Minnesota vs Derek Chauvin case prosecuting the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer employing excessive use of force, brutality, and depraved indifference for the life of a Minnesota citizen, came to an end with a guilty charge on all three counts.

The verdict is being heralded as a rare but first step in America’s long civil rights struggle for equality in policing justice for all. Given the egregiousness of Chauvin’s crime – and its growing prevalence even in recent days – the three-count guilty verdict for George Floyd’s murder represents merely one small step towards substantive justice in policing for Black and other communities of color around the country.

True justice in policing will be restorative, seeking to eradicate all forms of anti-Black police brutality and excessive use of force, and structural inequalities that have shaped racial inequities and discriminatory living conditions for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color).

As a policy school, we recognize the political acts embarked upon by the administration and congress. We must deliberate and advance policies like the George Floyd Justice in Policing bill. The Department of Justice’s investigation into the use of force and racial policing of the Minnesota Police Department will also need to be followed closely.

Of foremost importance, however, are the acts emerging from the community. Symbolized by the group of passers-by who bore direct witness and testimony to George Floyd’s death at the hands of Derek Chauvin, it is the likes of a then 17-year-old Darnella Frazier who painfully but courageously videotaped the killing, that our own actions must aspire. If not for Frazier’s courageous act, Chauvin may never have been held accountable for his crime and the trend of injustice in policing against African Americans, especially, would continue to fester. In our own small ways, we all have the abilities to be active witnesses to moral and ethical injustices as we proactively seek change and transformation for the betterment of our communities.

We know there are many emotions, insights and thoughts swirling in our community, and we hope that the Teach-in will provide an opportunity to reflect and discuss as we process this moment.

The McCormack Racial Equity Taskforce invites you to join us for a Teach-in Following the Verdict in the George Floyd case on Monday, April 26, 2-3pm (please register here: http://bit.ly/MRETTeachIn).

In solidarity,

David and Kiki
Co-Chairs, McCormack Racial Equity Taskforce (M-RET)

Comprised of co-chairs Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, Michael Johnson and Graduate Program Director, Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy; Graduate Certificate Director, Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson as well as twenty-four faculty members, students, and staff drawn from the college’s departments and institutes/centers; the taskforce seeks to understand racial and ethnic disparities and the reasons they exist at the college. To overcome barriers in diversity, equity and inclusion at the college, the taskforce will generate data and information about race and ethnicity with the purpose of establishing a shared, progressive vision of a diverse, fair, and inclusive academic environment and workplace.

The taskforce will position McCormack Graduate School to better identify leadership, act, and increase accountability around issues of racial equity at the college. To this end, the taskforce has embarked on four major tasks including

i) increasing hiring among faculty, students, and staff of color;
ii) improving McCormack’s racial and cross-cutting cultural workplace environment;
iii) promoting on campus and off campus racial equity awareness through outreach and programming;
iv) diversifying McCormack’s graduate education and undergraduate curricula.

McCormack Racial Equity Taskforce (MRET) Members

Co-Chairs
Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson, Graduate Program Director, Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy; Graduate Certificate Program Director, Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, McCormack Graduate School
Michael Johnson, Professor and Chair, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, McCormack Graduate School

Faculty Subcommittee
Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor of Global Governance and Graduate Program Director, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance
Karen Ross, Assistant Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance
Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson, Director, Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy
Susan R. Crandall, Director, Center for Social Policy and Clinical Professor, Public Policy and Public Affairs
Len Fishman, Director, Gerontology Institute
Carolyne Arnold, Associate Professor, Department of Gerontology
Kyungmin Kim, Assistant Professor, Department of Gerontology
Michael Johnson, Professor and Chair, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs
Eben Weitzman, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance
Darren Kew, Associate Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance; Executive Director of Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development

Student Subcommittee
Esther Rogers, MPA Student/Alumni, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs
Ellen Mador, MPA Student, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs
Margaret Hassey, PhD Student, Global Governance and Human Security
Sudeshna Chatterjee, PhD Student, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance
Krystal-Gayle O’Neill, PhD Student, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance
Leena Maqsood, PhD Student, Global Governance and Human Security
Hannah Brown, PhD Student, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance
Nike Ojelabi, PhD Student, Public Policy and Public Affairs
Chantel Fields, PhD Student, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs
Denise Muro, PhD Student, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

Staff Subcommittee
Jarling Ho, Program Manager, Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration
Muna Killingback, Assistant Program Director, Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy
Jamie Tull, College Business Coordinator, McCormack Graduate School Dean's Office
 

Past Events

A Juneteenth Holiday Talk - Juneteenth: A Historic And Modern Context - June 17, 2021

MRET Juneteenth Holiday Talk

The Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) at UMass Boston & McCormack Racial Equity Task Force (MRET) co-host a special Juneteenth Holiday Talk. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. Reverend Jeffrey L. Brown presented a historical context of Juneteenth and the role it plays in today's communities.


Event Resources:
Rewatch the Event on Echo 360

Difficult Conversations in The Classroom - Addressing Racism, Communication and Social Justice - May 21, 2021

MRET Difficult Conversations in The Classroom

The McCormack Racial Equity Taskforce presents the Diversifying the Curriculum Speaker Series in a conversation with keynote speaker Dr. Tina M. Harris, Professor & Manship-Maynard Endowed Chair of Race, Media, & Cultural Literacy Affiliate, The African and African American Studies Program, Louisiana State University.


Event Resources:
Rewatch the Event on YouTube

Racial Justice and Defunding the Police in Massachusetts - Planning for POST: Peace, Officers, Standards for Training Bill - February 2, 2021

Representative Nika Elugardo

Members of MRET and MA State Representative Nika Elugardo discussed the implications of "defunding" language for the so-called left and right, deconstructing slogans to peek into the realities of making legislation.


 

Event Resources:
Rewatch the Event on YouTube
Written Event Recap

Micro-Aggression in the Workplace Workshop - December 3, 2020

Micro-Aggression in the Workplace Workshop keynote speakers Prof. Darren, Phd Student Chidima, and Prof. Edozie

An interactive session where MRet explored Micro-aggression in the workplace. The discussion was led and moderated by professor and associate dean Rita Kiki Edozie, doctoral student, Chidimma Ozor, MSW, MA, and associate professor Darren Kew.

 

Event Resources:
Microaggressions and Their Impact Powerpoint