Prof. Copeland Named Assistant Director of Narrative at New BU Center for Antiracist Research

Phillipe Copeland

The new Boston University Center for Antiracist Research has named BUSSW faculty member Phillipe Copeland to its inaugural leadership team as the assistant director of narrative.

The Center for Antiracist Research, launched in June 2020, was founded by race scholar Ibram X. Kendi to address pervasive problems of racial injustice guided by a world-class, multi-disciplinary group of researchers and practitioners. As the Center develops its first programs and partnerships, Copeland will oversee antiracism training and education initiatives and collaborations.

A world without racism is the mission that drives Copeland’s teaching, scholarship and service. “A world without racism requires building the will and skill necessary to achieve it,” he explains. “This includes creating, sharing and applying knowledge, developing critical thinking, emotional intelligence and moral stamina, and engaging in mindful, principled, competent action.”

Copeland engages in all of this work from inside and outside the walls of BUSSW. He is the author of “Let’s Get Free: Social Work and the Movement for Black Lives,” which appeared in the peer-reviewed Journal of Forensic Social Work in 2016. In addition, Copeland serves as co-leader of the Smart Decarceration Education Working Group for the Grand Challenges for Social Work, an initiative of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.

He is a former advisory committee member for the Racial Reconciliation and Healing Project at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center and recently ended a two-year term as a member of the first-ever Racial Justice Council of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-MA). Copeland has been selected to serve a two-year term as a member of the BU Initiative on Cities’ Faculty Advisory Board.

The Center for Antiracist Research

The mission of the Center is to convene researchers and practitioners from various disciplines to figure out novel and practical ways to understand, explain, and solve seemingly intractable problems of racial inequity and injustice. It fosters exhaustive racial research, research-based policy innovation, data-driven educational and advocacy campaigns, and narrative-change initiatives. The Center is working toward building an antiracist society that ensures equity and justice for all.

What is Antiracist Research?

Whereas racist research historically has posed the question, “What is wrong with people?” antiracist research now asks a different question, a better question: “What is wrong with policies?” Our belief is that framing research on race and racism around antiracist questions leads to antiracist narratives, effective policy solutions, and impactful advocacy campaigns that cut to the root of racial inequality: racist policy.