Former New Orleans Mayor and E Pluribus Unum Founder and President Mitch Landrieu announced his organization’s inaugural cohort of policy scholars today.
Landrieu's initiative seeks to engage with researchers across the south to advance public policy by providing independent, in-depth, and actionable policy recommendations that advance racial equity and address systemic racism in America.
E Pluribus Unum, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has a mission is to build a more just, inclusive, and equitable south while uprooting barriers that have long divided the American south by race and class.
EPU says, "We believe that the solutions to our problems as a nation will come from and by the south. If we don’t utilize the intellectual capital the bright minds of today afford the south, we risk losing it and missing opportunities to create the south as we should have in the first place. That’s why we’re tapping southern scholars to address the issues we face."
While E Pluribus Unum aims to help illuminate the policy challenges policymakers are facing while dealing with the compounded challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, they say their focus will be on actions at the state and local levels.
Landrieu said, “Though the events of the past year and a half have sparked a nationwide conversation around racial equity and systemic racism, policy changes have been few and fleeting. Institutionalized racism pervades nearly every system in the nation while leaders at every level are trying to understand our nation’s collective failure to fully address the long-standing issues of police brutality, poverty, the racial wealth gap, and deeply entrenched healthcare inequities."
Through this initiative, E Pluribus Unum says they will elevate diverse voices from southern institutions and researchers with unique experiences and insights. The inaugural Policy Scholars are:
- Leslie Taylor Grover, Ph.D.—President-Founder, Assisi House, Inc.: Dr. Grover will be working in conjunction with fellow Policy Scholar Dr. Revathi Hines on the production of research and a set of workshops that provide actionable tools for policymakers to address pandemic induced housing challenges, a model of engagement for communities addressing contentious subjects, and addressing burnout among frontline workers during the pandemic. More on Dr. Grover here [u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net]
- Revathi Hines, Ph.D.—Vice President, Assisi House, Inc.: Dr. Hines will be working in conjunction with fellow Policy Scholar Dr. Leslie Taylor Grover on the production of research and a set of workshops that provide actionable tools for policymakers to address pandemic induced housing challenges, a model of engagement for communities addressing contentious subjects, and addressing burnout among frontline workers during the pandemic. More on Dr. Hines here [u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net]
- Mark Little, Ph.D.—Executive Direction, CREATE, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: In his research, Dr. Little will leverage his combined experience researching southern economic development and his work with the United Nations (UN) to explore how the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can be applied to the American South to address long-standing racial inequities. More on Dr. Little here [u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net]
- Gregory N. Price, Ph.D. — Professor of Economics, University of New Orleans: As an economist, Dr. Price’s work will bring both an economic and a racial equity lens to examining the distribution of environmental quality, entrepreneurship opportunities for justice-involved populations, and the distribution of recovery funding. More on Dr. Price here [u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net]
- Stephen Sills, Ph.D.—Professor, and Director of The Center for Housing and Community Studies, University of North Carolina-Greensboro: Leveraging his years of experience as an applied researcher, Dr. Sills will provide innovative approaches for community leaders to uncover and address disparities linked to historical disinvestment and discrimination in housing. More on Dr. Sills here [u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net]
Landrieu's efforts come after Louisiana lawmakers watered down a bill back in May to discourage civil lawsuits against police officers.
Democratic Rep. for Baton Rouge, Edmond Jordan, who is Black, said at that time to his white colleagues, "We live in two different Americas. We live in two different Louisianas. And some of the issues we have to face, I hope you never have to face.”
Some U.S. business leaders have launched a five-year $250 million campaign to support Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that have fell victim to racist attacks around the pandemic.
In early June, Sephora launched an Indigenous History Month campaign for Native Americans after revelations of indigenous families' trauma with residential schools and findings of a mass grave of babies in British Colombia came to light.
Now, EPU is working to accelerate change to create equal access to opportunity, democracy, and justice under the law at the local, state, and federal levels.
"The urgency to tackle these issues head-on is evident. That’s why we’re partnering with this cohort of knowledgeable and accomplished researchers to develop data- and research-driven policy recommendations for the leaders of today,” Landrieu says.
Their policy scholars program will foster the creation of high-quality research and innovative policy prescriptions that they say to be impactful.
To learn more about the EPU Policy Scholars program, visit https://www.unumfund.org/policy-scholars/ [u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net].