In mid-June, at the intersection of the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests in Tampa, several USF faculty members were asked to form an interdisciplinary task force tackling a call for proposals to study anti-Black racism and its impact on Black communities.
The initiative is funded by the Office of the Provost and USF Research & Innovation, which has jointly committed $500,000 for Round 1 of a year-long research grant program to understand and address the effects of systemic racism at the local, national, and international levels.
The research grants are open to USF faculty at the Tampa, Sarasota, and St. Pete campuses. Awards will range from $10,000 to $30,000.
“Research teams with established and demonstrated research and creative scholarly activity in Africana Studies and/or engagement with Black communities” will be prioritized. The deadline for submissions is August 17, 2020.
USF Associate Professor of Sociology Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, Ph.D., a member of the research task force, says the goals of the initiative are both better understanding and innovative solutions.
“As faculty members, we are always interested in fostering a better understanding of anti-Black racism – the mechanisms through which it works and how it shapes what’s happening within Black communities. This research will broaden people’s understanding of what it means and what it actually looks like on the ground,” says Hordge-Freeman. This is also “research that leads to solutions, so we elevate from focusing on just understanding to devising policies and practices that can officially combat anti-Black racism.”
Hordge-Freeman, who is also a member of the USF Black Faculty & Staff Association, earlier this year submitted a letter from the association to USF President Steven Currall outlining ways USF could be responsive to anti-Black systemic racism. She says USF’s approach is “distinguished and powerful” as it recognizes there is much more than the acute issues facing anti-Black racism, that sustained engagement with the question of anti-Black racism and a systemic approach is necessary to fight racism at the university and in the broader society.
“USF is already demonstrating its commitment to engaging in ongoing and sustained efforts to address systemic racism because this is only the first phase of a broader plan,” Hordge-Freeman says.
For more information, visit the complete call for proposals.