In 2016, Ibram X. Kendi embarked on a national tour for his best-selling book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. He was floored when passionate attendees across the nation asked him the same three questions: Were there institutions grounded in the theory of racial change they could join or support? How could they create racial change in their communities? And perhaps most importantly, how was Kendi using his theory to create racial change?
These questions forced Kendi to recognize the lack of a research and policy center focused on racial inclusion and tolerance, so he decided to create one as a New Year's resolution for 2017. After countless constructive discussions, Kendi founded the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University.
Located in the policy capital of the world, AU is committed to equity, accessibility, and social justice, and features one of the most politically-engaged student bodies in the nation. It is currently undergoing its own ambitious period of transition under the visionary leadership of President Sylvia M. Burwell, who brings in-depth experience from the realm of policy. With the support of administrators from the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of International Service, the Antiracist Research and Policy Center will create high-impact scholarship to build a more equitable world.
On September 26, 2017, Kendi presented his vision for the Antiracist Research and Policy Center before a packed audience in the Abramson Founders Room. The exciting event officially kicked off the Center's first year. Later that night, someone put up posters of Confederate flags with cotton stalks on campus walls. But this racist attack only strengthened Kendi's resolve—and that of the AU community—to build a world-class center that will serve as an unstoppable engine of racial change.
As we engage funders, stakeholders, and thought leaders to help build the intellectual and fiscal endowment of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, we welcome support from the public. Your ideas and contributions will ensure that the Center has a productive and impactful future.
Kendi speaks at the 2016 National Book Awards