King Boston Launches Research Institute Through Center for Economic Justice

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Research arm to aggregate data nationwide to help form policy, help turn moments into movements

King Boston’s Center for Economic Justice will be the epicenter for research to support action-oriented solutions to end economic and social disparities

King Boston today announced its research agenda for the Center for Economic Justice, grounded in community engagement and aimed at generating the data and knowledge needed to inform movements at the grassroots level and beyond. This will be the blueprint for what will ultimately become a research institute, shaped in partnership with community groups, coalitions, and other stakeholders.

“King Boston’s Center for Economic Justice will be the epicenter for research to support action-oriented solutions to end economic and social disparities,” said Imari Paris Jeffries, Executive Director of King Boston. “We are turning a moment into a movement while establishing an institution that investigates, collects and evaluates new and ongoing policies and proposals. Together, with our community partners, legislators and stakeholders, we will transform the future of the Commonwealth.”

King Boston is tracking municipal, state and federal antiracism and equity legislation along with litigation across specific impact areas – wealth, housing, racial equity and public education – to build a database that will equip grassroots movements with key strategic insights. While taking a quantitative approach, in-depth interviews of key players and analysis of specific proposals in these impact areas will generate qualitative learnings to more robustly shape these efforts.

King Boston is also crafting a “Harm Report” to inform local and Massachusetts efforts in passing reparations legislation and other policies of comparable impact. Beyond well-informed political strategy, an essential element of reparations proposals is a careful documenting of the specific past and ongoing state-sanctioned discriminatory policies and harms that will shape the kind of redress being offered.

This report will serve as a focal point for ongoing community conversations about reparations, and will provide legislators with a menu of options to consider for redress. King Boston is working with a cross-disciplinary team of scholars to aggregate and summarize the local and state data across seven impact areas: housing, transportation, income and wealth, criminal and legal, education, health, and culture and symbols.

“Reparations for slavery and ongoing discrimination is one current application of our work, including tracking policy proposals across the federal level, all 50 states, and 700 municipalities,” said Dr. April Khadijah Inniss, Director of Community Engaged Research of King Boston. “We’re eager to develop, execute and lead King Boston’s advocacy and legislative agenda to find the power of community-engaged research.”

“Preliminary analyses show a substantial uptick in reparations proposals in 2021, which confirms that now is the time to coalesce around strategy to enhance the chances of passing reparations legislation at all levels of government, specifically at the city and state levels,” added Jeffries.

In July 2021, King Boston hired Dr. Inniss to build and lead the development of the organization’s research agendas and accompanying work plans, working in conjunction with the Jeffries, Deputy Director Tammy Tai, King Boston Advisory Board members, and cross-sector partners.

About King Boston
Founded in 2017, King Boston is a nonprofit with a mission of honoring the legacy of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through “The Embrace” memorial in the Boston Commons, while addressing economic and racial inequities. Collectively, the work is intended to inspire change and activate social justice values towards the realization of a radically equitable and inclusive Boston by 2030, the City’s 400th birthday. Over the next 24-months, the organization’s three-pronged approach will build and invest in cultural representations, such as “The Embrace”; 2) engage in research, policy development and community organizing towards solutions for economic justice in our Center for Economic Justice; and 3) launch Embrace Ideas, a community-wide arts and culture engagement series leading towards an inaugural annual festival planned for June 2022.

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Amanda Albert
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