Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

john powell

Director | Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society
Professor john a. powell is Executive Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (HIFIS) and Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion at the University of California, Berkeley. Formerly, he directed the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University and the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. He led the development of an “opportunity-based” model that connects affordable housing to racialized spaces in education, health, health care, and employment. He is the author of Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

Is America Possible? Building a Multiracial Democracy in an Era of Division

As the U.S. approaches 2043 and a demographic tipping point, right-wing demagogues of division are advancing their vision of white minority rule. How do we think about the struggle for a democratic future? What kinds of lessons can we draw from the global crisis of neoliberalism, beset by extreme economic and social inequality coupled with the rise of religious fundamentalism, misogyny, and racial and ethnic nationalism? How do we stop the march toward authoritarianism? In this plenary, leading thinkers and organizers discuss how we can advance the promise and possibility of a true multiracial democracy.

Speakers: john powell, Tarso Luís Ramos, Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Anat Shenker-Osorio, Julie Nelson

Presentations from Facing Race 2014

How Big Money Politics Holds Back Racial Justice

The drive for racial equity in America faces a serious headwind: the role of private wealth and big business in our political system.  While the undemocratic role of big money hurts us all, its consequences are particularly dire for communities of color, who are severely underrepresented in the “donor class” whose large contributions fuel campaigns and therefore set the agendas in Washington and state capitals across the country. A Princeton University scholar recently investigated average voters' and wealthy Americans’ influence on policy, with results suggesting the United States is an oligarchy.  How can articulating the connections between big money politics and racial justice help us win on all fronts?  This panel and breakout discussion will explore the specific ways in which the role of big money in politics undermines racial equality, and investigate how highlighting these connections can expand the constituency for change nationally by motivating voters and more deeply connecting “good government reformers” and communities and leaders of color. 

Speakers: john powell, Jodeen Olguín-Tayler

Presentations from Facing Race 2012

Storytelling for Racial Justice

To advance our racial justice efforts, we need to connect our audience to the issues in a meaningful way that helps them to see things from another perspective. An essential tool in reframing the conversation on race is story-telling that pulls at the heart-strings, appeals to deeply held values, and leads audiences through a day in someone else's shoes. In this workshop participants will develop vivid, compelling stories that include the key elements of narrative, and how to use stories to effect change

Speakers: Rinku Sen, john powell