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Racial Equity Fellowship

No Room for Racism
Racial Equity Graduate Research Fellowship
Stay tuned for Call for Proposals Fall 2021

The Irwin W. Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning and the Center for Black Diaspora are pleased to announce Laronda Wilson and Kimberly Fair as the recipients of its inaugural Racial Equity Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship supports African-American graduate students in conducting focused, community-based research on efforts to promote racial equity in Chicago.

About Laronda Wilson

Laronda Wilson

Laronda's research will focus on advancing solutions to police violence targeting Black Lives, on policies that counter systemic racism, and on efforts to positively transform institutions that condone white supremacy.

Laronda Wilson is a DePaul graduate student pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Public Policy focused on the intersection of policy and law. Her professional goal is to become a Civil Rights Attorney. She strives to address social issues such as poverty, crime, social inequality, employment, education, economic justice, political corruption, and more. She is a passionate racial justice advocate in the African American community, and dedicated to making a change in our economy and society for everyone.

About Kimberly Fair

Kimberly Fair        

Kimberly's research seeks to evaluate fellowship and mentoring program success at combating systemic racism through economic mobility and empowerment in 18–30-year-old black men. 

Kimberly is a Public Policy graduate student and winter 2021 Chaddick Scholar. She has a deep passion for economic policy and how it can be used to tackle poverty in the US. Her area of interest is developing policy programs at the state and municipal level to alleviate poverty for distressed black communities. She has a genuine love for helping others and wants to dedicate her life's work to eliminating poverty. In addition to her academic life, she is a wife, mother, and avid swimmer.

The fight is not just being able to keep breathing. The fight is actually to be able to walk down the street with your head held high — and feel like I belong here, or I deserve to be here, or I just have [a] right to have a level of dignity. 

Alicia Garza, civil rights activist, co-founder of Black Lives Matter movement, 2015

Under the guidance and supervision of the Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning the 2020-21 Graduate Research Fellow will work with one or more mission-driven community organizations that addresses systemic racism affecting Black Chicagoans who struggle in communities for freedom, justice, and equality.

The emphasis of this fellowship is on applied research, highlighting work being done to promote racial justice with and by community-based organizations in the Chicago region.

Applicants should be able to state clearly the general purpose and specific objectives, what they propose to do, the significance related to racial justice, the approach related to their academic area or the interdisciplinary approach, and what results or products they expect to be generated. Proposals should:

  • Have an existing connection to a partnering community organization that is working on racial justice, broadly defined. This includes partnership with organizations that counter systemic racism through policy making; the creative arts and music; through education; community gardens; housing, etc.  
  • Define clearly the roles of the student and the partner community organization in the research project. 
  • Explain how the project was co-created with a community organization and how the organization plans to utilize the research results.
  • Describe the relationship between the research project and the students' academic and professional/career interests.

The Graduate Research Fellow will work 100 hours during Winter term and will receive a $2,000 stipend through the Steans Center.  In addition to the $2,000 fellowship, the Graduate Fellow will receive through—the Center for Black Diaspora— five hours weekly of research support as well as administrative support: this includes access to the Center's Reading Room (containing a collection of approximately 2,500 books and 250 films), photocopying privileges, and access to a quiet contained space to work.  In return, the Graduate Research Fellow will provide a documentation of time and activities during the Fellowship and a written summary research report. 

To apply, send your cover letter and resume to:  If you have questions, please contact Barbara Smith at