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Improving Baltimore Police Relations With the City’s Black Community Alternate response to non-criminal emergency calls for service

May 29, 2024

Baltimore has a history of troubled relations between the Police Department (BPD) and its Black citizens. The 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody ignited national outcry and widespread protests, especially in major cities. The Gun Trace Task Force indictments and convictions in 2017 revealed systemic corruption and management issues in the BPD. In response to these problems, a federal consent decree was imposed in 2017, requiring the BPD to meet certain standards and to focus its efforts on initiatives such as more community-oriented policing. The consent decree also required research efforts to monitor progress.Since 2017, research conducted by the monitoring team has consistently shown a strained relationship between the police and the community. Building on this work, researchers from the University of Maryland produced a pair of companion reports examining the current state of community-police relations and the possibility of expanding a city program to divert certain 911 calls to civilian responders, with the goal of helping BPD better understand what it can do to increase trust among Black residents. In Part 2: Improving Baltimore Police Relations With the City's Black Community, Professors Greg Midgette, Thomas Luke Spreen, and Peter Reuter examine the possibility and potential benefits of extending that approach to other non-criminal emergency calls. The report examines successful reforms in Albuquerque, Atlanta, and Houston that divert some categories of 911 calls to civilian agencies rather than the police with the goal of reducing the role of police in everyday life. The researchers analyze Baltimore 911 data to model scenarios for diverting additional calls in terms of reduced police contact and easing BPD's staffing shortage. Given the existing mistrust described in Part 1, reducing police involvement in non-criminal incidents should remain an important goal for Baltimore City.

What Can Be Done To Improve PoliceCommunity Relations In Baltimore?: Exploring the experiences and perspectives of Black residents

May 29, 2024

Baltimore has a history of troubled relations between the Police Department (BPD) and its Black citizens. The 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody ignited national outcry and widespread protests, especially in major cities. The Gun Trace Task Force indictments and convictions in 2017 revealed systemic corruption and management issues in the BPD. In response to these problems, a federal consent decree was imposed in 2017, requiring the BPD to meet certain standards and to focus its efforts on initiatives such as more community-oriented policing. The consent decree also required research efforts to monitor progress.Since 2017, research conducted by the monitoring team has consistently shown a strained relationship between the police and the community. Building on this work, researchers from the University of Maryland produced a pair of companion reports examining the current state of community-police relations and the possibility of expanding a city program to divert certain 911 calls to civilian responders, with the goal of helping BPD better understand what it can do to increase trust among Black residents.In Part 1: What Can Be Done To Improve Police-Community Relations In Baltimore?, Professors Brooklynn Hitchens and Lauren C. Porter conducted interviews and focus groups with Black residents in Baltimore City to better understand experiences, attitudes, and perceptions with respect to BPD. The study deepened the findings of previous research showing that the department's current reform efforts have not altered perceptions among Black Baltimoreans and offers tangible recommendations from participants about how the BPD could improve its relationship with city residents and how funds should be invested to improve public safety and wellbeing.

Love is the Foundation for Life: Schott Report on Black Males in Public Education

May 21, 2024

This report outlines the systemic opportunities and institutional barriers Black male students face and offers cross-sector recommendations for building the supports needed to improve education and life outcomes. The research findings were produced in partnership with the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools.The report highlights several key findings impacting Black males in public education:Between 2012 and 2020, Black students experienced the highest graduation rate improvement of all groups, cutting the racial gap between graduating Black and white students nearly in half and increasing the nation's overall graduation rate by 4%. Following the pandemic in 2021, Black life expectancy declined by four years (six years lower than whites), largely driven by the decline in the Black male life expectancy by five years, which represented the largest decline of any race or gender subgroup.High school graduation is a key factor in positively impacting life expectancy. Improvements in K-12 and higher education levels contribute nearly 10 months to the average life expectancy in a county for each standard increase in educational achievement.While there was an overall improvement in graduation rates for Black male students across all 15 districts analyzed, only one district, Mobile County, AL (88%), had a graduation rate above the national average (86%).Among the 15 districts analyzed, Detroit, MI (54%), Philadelphia, PA (59%), Baltimore City, MD (65%), Minneapolis, MN (65%), and Oakland Unified (71%) had the five lowest four-year graduation rates for Black males.

The Pedagogy of Race: The Peking Union Medical College and Its Effects on Chinese Socio-Medical Scientific Discourse, 1912-1949

May 15, 2024

In 1906, the Peking Union Medical College was established in Republican China. Together with the Rockefeller Foundation's China Medical Board and the China Foundation for the Promotion of Education and Culture, the Republican Chinese government promoted the expansion of all areas of research and education. Between the 1920s and 1940s, Chinese biologists, eugenicists, among others began to make serious contributions not just to Chinese science but also to global science. Led by imported eugenicists like Edmund Cowdry and Alex Hrdlicka, many PUMC projects were preoccupated with analyzing China's "racial problems," especially the pressing question whether miscegenation ought to be encouraged or discouraged. The most ambitious of these projects, the Collection of Chinese Embryos, was an undertaking dedicated to sustained analysis of Chinese biological data. Using cutting-edge research from racial embryology, PUMC anatomists measured the biodata of donated Chinese embryonic specimens and attempted to draw conclusions about the "Mongoloid" typology as well as whether Chinese-white mixes displayed "hybrid vigor" or "enfeeblement" – the scientific terms for the conditions of mixed-race offspring at the time. Although the project ultimately failed – in part due to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, and partly due to the poor medical infrastructure across Republican China – it reflected a successful effort at tying Chinese medical development with the wider (specifically North American) scientific project of race research. Archival materials in the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC), including correspondence, annual reports, personnel biographic information, and oral history materials, reveal an overall picture of the Peking Union Medical College's efforts in disseminating racial and eugenic knowledge in China in the early twentieth century. This research report, consisting of part of my PhD research on the emergence of miscegenation discourse in twentieth-century China, underscores the process through which the Peking Union Medical College transformed the intellectual landscape of Republican China.

Supporting Indigenous Rights: A Look Back at 2023

May 13, 2024

The Christensen Fund is excited to share our 2023 annual report with our colleagues around the world. More so than ever before, our values are rooted in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). To support the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples, we prioritize Indigenous-led organizations, including Indigenous-led funds.In our practice of trust-based philanthropy, we almost always provide general operating support grants, maintain flexible requirements and criteria, and prioritize joint learning rather than stringent monitoring and evaluation. We strive to create connections between communities and movements at the grassroots, subnational, national and international levels.Thanks to our Board, staff, philanthropic colleagues and partners around the globe for informing our strategy and helping us reflect on all the learning that occurred in 2023.

Equitable Access to Quality Climate Infrastructure Jobs: A Framework for Collaborative Action

May 6, 2024

Recent federal laws, including the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), focus on updating and improving the nation's infrastructure while taking steps to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Included in these federal infrastructure investments are goals around creating quality jobs and ensuring that benefits accrue to populations that have been historically marginalized. Largely missing from enacted legislation were specific funding and requirements for developing the workforce for emerging climate infrastructure jobs.This report provides a framework for understanding what is needed at the local and regional level to advance effective implementation of workforce development in conjunction with current and future climate and infrastructure investments. Efforts are in early stages, but there are many promising practices from which to learn. To build an understanding of these practices, we interviewed individuals from national and regional nonprofit organizations, local governments, industry associations, and intermediaries. Informed by our interviews, feedback sessions, and research, our framework identifies three essential principles, a set of core actors, and five key strategies that workforce and sustainability organizations can use to advance equitable green career pathways. The report provides recommendations for federal, state, and local governments, philanthropies, employers, and unions to build collaborative capacity supporting the equitable implementation of climate infrastructure investments.

How the Racist History of the Filibuster Lives on Today

April 29, 2024

Since the end of the 19th century, the filibuster—a political procedure used in the U.S. Senate by one or more members to delay or block legislation—has emerged as a preeminent institutional tool used to deny rights and liberties to tens of millions of Black and brown Americans. Over the past two centuries, it has been abused repeatedly during some of the darkest periods of America's history to prevent the passage of legislation that would protect the civil rights and voting rights of Black Americans, including to block anti-lynching legislation.This legacy, however, is not a relic of the past; it is alive and well today through the repeated use of the filibuster to prevent the passage of critical voting rights legislation, including the Freedom to Vote Act (FTVA) and the reauthorization of the monumental Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). This latest chapter in the filibuster's history comes at a time when many states are enacting targeted measures to prevent historically disenfranchised communities from accessing the ballot box.This issue brief provides an overview of the ways the filibuster has historically been used to suppress the rights of Black and brown Americans before detailing recent voter suppression efforts. It then describes the Senate's use of the filibuster, as well as the filibuster's monumental influence on the legislative process, today.

Graciela Olivarez: From Mexican American Civil Rights and Antipoverty Activism to the Presidential Commission on Population Growth and the American Future

April 16, 2024

This report details my research trip to the Rockefeller Archive Center in August 2023. My research agenda was to analyze the work of Graciela Olivarez on the President's Commission on Population Growth and the American Future. Olivarez became one of the first Latinas to head a federal agency when President Jimmy Carter chose her in 1977 to lead the Community Services Administration (CSA).  Olivarez was an active leader in the Mexican American civil rights movement in the 1950s and early 1960s, before becoming a leader in antipoverty efforts.  John D. Rockefeller, 3rd was the chair and Olivarez the vice-chair of the President's Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, established in 1970. The Rockefeller Archive Center houses a number of boxes of records related to the formation and actions of that commission.  This Commission appointment was a crucial step in Olivarez's career and was an important factor in her later appointment by President Carter to head the Community Services Administration. I was looking to delve into Olivarez's role on the Commission, her positions on particular issues – including contraception, abortion, economic issues, environmental impact – the Commission addressed, and others' perceptions of her role on the Commission. I also was interested to see the ways in which her experience as an antipoverty activist and administrator influenced her perspective on the topic of population growth and the ways in which her experience on the Commission influenced her later work administering the War on Poverty.

Assessing Climate Risk in Marginalized Communities

March 14, 2024

This report builds upon a growing body of research exploring the implications of climate change for communities of color. Using a focused analysis of riverine flood risk, our findings illustrate how communities of color are disproportionately affected by riverine flooding events and how the impact is magnified because of these communities' greater vulnerability and weaker resilience. Based on our methodology and conclusions, we recommend several steps that can support more racially equitable outcomes from a riverine flood event, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency's adoption of a more inclusive definition and forward-looking assessment approach for riverine flooding risk, normalization of the expected annual loss attributable to a climate event by scaling the total replacement value, and incorporation of social vulnerability and community resilience measures into composite risk metrics. More broadly, we recommend that continued attention be paid to racial equity within overarching environmental, social, and governance frameworks.

Growing Racial Disparities in Voter Turnout, 2008–2022

March 2, 2024

After the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, voter access increased and representation in government grew more equitable. Unfortunately, our research shows that for more than a decade, this trend has been reversing. This report uses data to which few previous researchers have had access to document the racial turnout gap in the 21st century. 

Crossing the Line: Segregation and Resource Inequality Between America’s School Districts

February 29, 2024

School district boundaries define more than just the area where a certain group of children attends a given set of schools. They also determine the taxing jurisdiction that supports those schools with local property taxes. Big differences in property value can lead to large funding gaps, even between neighboring districts.These disparities in property values are the legacy of discriminatory housing policies explicitly intended to segregate neighborhoods by race and class. The school district lines drawn onto this divided landscape then replicate segregation and inequity in schools. But our current district borders need not be permanent. They can be redrawn to produce better outcomes for students and their schools.In this research report, New America's Education Funding Equity Initiative analyzes nearly 25,000 pairs of adjacent school districts to measure how district borders create deep economic and racial divisions, producing radically different educational resources and experiences for students in different districts—even districts that are right next door to each other. It also features stories about these disparities told by local educators and families. An accompanying multimedia story shows what these divides mean for American school districts and communities, and an interactive national map and data tool allows users to explore American school districts and the borders that surround them.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: 60 Years Later (2024 State of Black America Executive Summary)

February 28, 2024

The National Urban League's annual publication, now in its 48th edition, is the highly anticipated source for thought leaders focusing on racial equality in America. The 2024 State of Black America report examines the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, marking the first significant effort by the U.S. to address the racial caste system. Sixty years later, the publication highlights that the struggle for equality persists, emphasizing the ongoing challenges and progress made in the pursuit of a more just and equitable future.