Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd.
Their names were etched into our collective consciousness in 2020 amidst national protests against police violence toward Black people. So was another word: Antiracism. On July 1, after more than a year in development, Boston University, the school where Martin Luther King Jr. received his PhD, opened the Center for Antiracist Research. The mission of the center will be to convene a cross-section of researchers, from social workers to data scientists, engineers to health professionals, to uncover novel and practical ways not merely to understand racial inequity, but to help solve the injustices of it. At its core, the center will push forward “research-based policy innovation, data-driven educational and advocacy campaigns, and narrative-change initiatives,” always striving toward building an antiracist society that ensures equity and justice for all.
Against the Black Lives Matter backdrop, the message from its founding director and leading scholar on antiracism, Ibram X. Kendi, is both profound and simple. It is no longer enough to say you are not a racist. That’s too easy. “To be antiracist,” says Kendi, who was named to Time magazine’s 2020 Most Influential People list, “is to support policies that lead to equity and justice.”