The 2023 Anti-Racism Research & Community Impact Faculty Fellowship provides instrumental support to early career faculty to advance their anti-racism scholarship. Informed by ongoing discussions with anti-racism scholars at the University of Michigan, the fellowship aims to address a critical need—to successfully advance in the tenure and promotion process while concurrently supporting their efforts to utilize their expertise to fight systemic racism through policy advocacy, practice, teaching, and/or community partnerships. The fellowship provides funding to support research and public engagement that align with the aims of the initiative.

“Anti-racism scholars are not only engaged in intellectual discovery and pursuits related to racial equality, racial justice, and structural racism—they’re thinking about how to get their research to media outlets, policymakers, and practitioners. They’re also collaborating with community partners. But building these relationships takes time and effort that most funding sources will not support,” says Elizabeth R. Cole, NCID director and University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor of Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies. “We designed this fellowship to support early career scholars so that their work can reach these important audiences, and so they can be successful in their academic careers.”

The National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) is home to the Anti-Racism Collaborative (ARC), a space created to facilitate University of Michigan (U-M) community engagement around research and scholarship focused on racial inequality, racial justice, and anti-racist praxis. The ARC supports a variety of activities to catalyze innovation in research and scholarship, as well as informed practice, public engagement, and action to advance anti-racist principles and organizing.

2023 Anti-Racism Research & Community Impact Faculty Fellows

Virulent Hate: Anti-Asian Racism and Anti-Racism Activism During Covid-19
Melissa Borja
Assistant Professor, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Ann Arbor

The Virulent Hate project uses news media to identify, analyze, and map incidents of anti-Asian racism and Asian American anti-racism activism that occurred during 2020 and 2021 in the United States. We also conduct oral histories with Asian American activists to document experiences of racism and strategies and models of resistance, with attention to local drivers of conflict and chosen means of resolution. This project has two goals: to contribute to scholarly understanding of contemporary anti-Asian racism and Asian American anti-racism activism and to provide data and analysis to guide policy and inform the advocacy of Asian American community organizations.

Advancing a Community-Academic Partnership to Address Homelessness, Structural Racism, and Health Inequities
P. Paul Chandanabhumma
Assistant Professor, Family Medicine, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor

This proposal seeks to advance a community-academic partnership between Avalon Housing and the Anti-Racism and Health Equity Program at the Department of Family Medicine to address the impacts of homelessness, housing insecurity, and structural racism among communities served by Avalon in Washtenaw County, Michigan. We aim to foster partnership maturation by implementing co-learning and capacity-building activities that enhance Avalon Housing’s capacity for knowledge translation, program evaluation, and grant development. Accomplishing these milestones will be pivotal to realizing the collective visions of health equity as well as enhancing the community impact of the applicant's anti-racist scholarship.

Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Latinx Youth in Washtenaw County
Fernanda Cross
Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Ann Arbor

Latinx immigrant families face numerous barriers to accessing mental health care, including no insurance, limited-English proficiency, no language interpretation for mental health services, and a dearth of culturally responsive providers. These barriers are compounded for adolescents from mixed-status families who are at elevated risk for depression compared to adolescents of other groups. This project provides school-based group therapy for youth from these communities. It supports their mental health by teaching coping skills, building community, and supporting healing through empowering counter-storytelling practices to redefine their own and their families’ immigration histories and experiences from a perspective of strength and resilience.

No More Swipe Wrongs: Teaching About Automated Sexual Racism through Online Dating Tools
Apryl Williams
Assistant Professor, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and Digital Studies Institute, Ann Arbor

Technology enthusiasts purport that digitizing or automating older social mechanisms and rituals such as dating can rid us of social ails such as racism. But many scholars have already pointed out numerous examples for which this idealist thinking fails to hold true (see Noble 2018; Benjamin 2019; Chun 2021). If socially constructed racialized beliefs about attractiveness, femininity, and masculinity are so deeply entrenched in our society, how can the algorithms that govern our online intimacy experiences claim to avoid them? Or is it the case that they rely specifically on this human bias as a measure for sorting? How do algorithms perpetuate the ideas that undergird our learned beliefs about race, gender, and attractiveness? My forthcoming book, Not My Type: Automating Sexual Racism in Online Dating (Stanford University Press), presents a deep exploration of these entangled ideas and concepts, centering on the larger question of how algorithms used by intimacy platforms impact the online dating experience of people of color. The work proposed for the fellowship entails creating an accompanying curriculum guide that centers marginalized daters and aims to engage movement-building strategies across academic and public interest audiences.

Data Analysis of Detroit Police Department Surveillance Technologies and Impacts
Tian An Wong
Assistant Professor, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, Dearborn

The proposed research project focuses on research questions surrounding the use of surveillance technology by the Detroit Police Department, namely Project Greenlight and ShotSpotter, in Detroit since the mid-2010s. The efficacy and effects of these systems are highly contested, particularly given the lack of related data that is publicly available. This project proposes to conduct an audit of these surveillance systems by analyzing pre-existing data, while further data will be obtained through FOIA requests. The resulting data visualizations and analyses will be made publicly available as an online dashboard and further dissemination through the StopShotspotter coalition and other community networks.

Navigating Barriers to Re-Entry: Advancing Health and Digital Literacy Among Returning Citizens
Megan Threats
Assistant Professor, School of Information and School of Public Health (by courtesy), Ann Arbor

This project investigates how returning citizens (i.e., formerly incarcerated individuals) in the state of Michigan navigate the digital divide and attain health, digital, and digital health literacies. Health and digital literacy have been identified as determinants of health that have an impact on the health, well-being, and quality of life of people. Mass incarceration and the digital divide disproportionately impact Black and Latino communities throughout the state. This project aims to expand our understanding of how these systems of oppression collectively shape the lived experiences of returning citizens and works to develop an open-education resource for helping returning citizens attain digital, health, and digital health literacy skills.