Task Force on Anti-Black Racism

The crucial fight to do away with systemic racism requires deep-rooted, long-term commitment.

In fall 2020, amid a national movement confronting anti-Black racism in the United States, Brown University President Christina H. Paxson charged a Task Force on Anti-Black Racism to develop recommendations for solutions and substantive action to solidify a culture of equity and inclusion at Brown. The task force began its work in September 2020 and will deliver a set of recommendations to President Paxson by April 2021.

President’s Charge to the Task Force

In this nation, unjust legacies of slavery and violence rooted in anti-Black racism date back more than 400 years. The persistence of structural and systemic inequalities in education, economic opportunity, policing, health care, housing, criminal justice, and more threaten the lives and livelihoods of Black people in this country.

Brown has a role to play in dismantling societal systemic racism by providing pathways for equity and access, advancing knowledge and enacting change locally and globally through teaching, research and public engagement. The Task Force on Anti-Black Racism will consider how Brown can best address these issues in a way that reflects Brown’s mission of education, scholarship and service to society.

The task force will focus on topics including, but not limited to:

  • The development of educational programs, workshops and trainings that ensure that all members of the Brown community have opportunities to learn about and understand anti-Black racism
  • The consideration of ways to ensure that the Brown campus is welcoming and supportive of Black students, faculty, staff, and alumni
  • The support of curriculum, scholarship and research that sheds light on the history of anti-Black racism and its role in economic, health and social disparities, with the goal of reducing those disparities
  • The expansion of the Brown-Tougaloo partnership and the exploration of collaborations with other historically Black colleges and universities, as well as local school systems to create expanded educational opportunities for students of color, especially Black students

It is imperative that work on anti-Black racism be supported and sustained over a long period of time, rather than be merely reactive to current circumstances. To that end, the task force should consider the long-term sustainability of any programs and partnerships that are recommended.  

Task Force Composition

The task force is co-chaired by Andre C. Willis, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, and Shontay Delalue, Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity. To ensure that the task force is representative of all facets of the Brown community, members of the task force were nominated by their respective governing bodies. In addition to the co-chairs, the task force is composed of:

  • Two staff members
  • Two faculty members
  • Two undergraduate students
  • One graduate student
  • One medical student
  • One alumnus
  • One community member
  • One ex Officio member

Task Force Focus Areas

The task force has identified four areas in which it is focusing its work:

  • Curriculum and the classroom experience
  • Culture and climate
  • Administrative and academic policies
  • External and community engagement

Each focus area has a subcommittee dedicated to developing recommendations for actions that can directly address anti-Blackness in these realms.