Protesters rally outside the Supreme Court, where justices this week ruled in favor of protections for gay and transgender workers. Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call


"A Black Plague": U.S. Rep. James Clyburn discusses race and the pandemic

Professor of Practice Cornell William Brooks, director of the Kennedy School’s William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice, holds a discussion with veteran Congressman James Clyburn to discuss the intersection of racism and the coronavirus pandemic. Tonight's conversation, at 6 p.m. EDT (Thursday June 18), takes place on the eve of Juneteenth, which marks the day in 1865 when enslaved black people in Texas received word that the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln 2 ½ years years earlier was fully in effect and the Civil War was over. Clyburn (D-South Carolina) and Brooks, the former president of the NAACP, will unpack topics including the links between the recent protests and the pandemic. This is the fourth episode of the Trotter Collaborative’s Avant Guardian Podcast series.

Also upcoming: “Who watches the watchmen? A discussion about race and policing through the lens of popular entertainment,” Ash Center, June 25, 12 p.m. EDT, Leah Wright Rigueur, Christopher Robichaud.



Professor of Practice Nancy Gibbs, director of the Shorenstein Center and former editor in chief of Time magazine, reflects on the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus and its implications for the health of our democracies. Listen to her Wiener Conference Call, part of a series in which Kennedy School faculty members share their expertise.


Jason Furman joins policymakers charting recovery plan

HKS Professor of Practice Jason Furman, who was chair of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, joined other leading policymakers and economists in proposing a four-part economic recovery plan. The group wrote in the Washington Post that the plan needs to include: income support for the unemployed and underemployed, pandemic benefits for low-wage workers, support for small businesses, and federal funding for state and local governments. The authors warn that “we are still only one-tenth of the way to repairing the massive labor market damage caused by the novel coronavirus.” Joining Furman were former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; Glenn Hubbard, dean emeritus of Columbia Business School; and Melissa Kearney, an economist at the University of Maryland and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.


HKS researcher found broad public support for LGBTQ rights ahead of Supreme Court ruling

Even before the Supreme Court ruled by a 6-3 vote this week that LGBTQ workers are protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, new research co-authored by Kennedy School Professor Maya Sen documented widespread public support for that position. In April, Sen and two colleagues launched SCOTUSPoll, an annual opinion survey assessing public views on major Supreme Court cases. On the LGBTQ rights case, the poll found that 83 percent of those surveyed favor protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation, including 74 percent of Republicans. Sen spelled out the findings in a Washington Post column. Commenting on the ruling itself, Timothy McCarthy, an adjunct lecturer at HKS, told the Harvard Gazette: “Yes, it is a huge ruling. But it is also a limited ruling, in the sense that most Supreme Court rulings are. People can’t be denied a job because of their sexual and gender identity. But they can be denied access to health care, housing and other rights.”



"The young activists of the ’60s were the infants and the toddlers of Brown vs. Board of Education, so they came into activism in the wake of a landmark legal decision, which validated the proposition that if you come to the table, you can bring about an affirmation of your humanity. If you came of age in the wake of Trayvon Martin, if you came of age in the midst of the term of the nation’s first African American president, when there is rampant police brutality, there is a collective sense of frustration."

Professor of Practice Cornell William Brooks, Los Angeles Times


Faculty analyze global effects of lack of U.S. leadership on pandemic

Three of the Kennedy School’s leading scholars on international relations and human rights discussed what they described as crises of U.S. leadership during the pandemic and the longer-term implications for the United States’ standing and influence in the world. Professors Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nicholas Burns, former under secretary of state for political affairs, and Kathryn Sikkink, an expert on international norms and institutions, assessed the pandemic’s global consequences, including the risks flowing from the Trump administration’s decision to cease working with the World Health Organization. Their conversation, “COVID-19: The U.S. Response and its Impact on International Relations,” was the first in a new summer series of Dean’s Discussions, focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These sessions are hosted by HKS Dean Douglas Elmendorf and moderated by his chief of staff and adjunct lecturer, Sarah Wald.

Also see: A new Kennedy School webpage brings together analysis by Kennedy School experts and recommendations for action from our research centers at the intersection of policy, race, and justice.



“In Conversation with Ambassador Nicholas Burns on the COVID-19 crisis,” an in-depth interview with Indian politician Rahul Gandhi


  • Killings by American police harm the education of some local students [Desmond Ang] The Economist

  • What ‘defund the police’ might look like [Khalil Gibran Muhammad] Washington Post

  • Former NAACP president, Cornell William Brooks, says American policing needs "top to bottom" cultural change [Cornell William Brooks] WGBH News

  • We need to create more good jobs. The old easy answers won’t work any more. [Dani Rodrik] MarketWatch

  • The indispensable power [Nicholas Burns] Harvard Magazine

  • Electoral eccentricity [Alexander Keyssar] Harvard Magazine

  • The next Greatest Generation [David Gergen] CNN

  • Ibram X. Kendi recommends 10 antiracist books to read [Khalil Gibran Muhammad] The Oprah Magazine

Insight. Policy. Action. Ideas from Harvard Kennedy School.

Copyright © 2020 Harvard Kennedy School, all rights reserved.

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.