Educating students to be dignified selfless guardians and advocates of structural diversity.

Creating dignified, diverse, enlightened, equitable and loving environments in academic institutions for African-Americans, Latinos and other marginalized people, by systematically identifying and ending organizational culture and policies that detriment racial equity, reinforce structural racism and condone metastasized racism in academic institutions.

Welcome

The Diversity Think Tank was founded in 2020 by Professor Louis Kwame Fosu of the University of Rhode Island to effectively train students in America to become transformative racial equity and diversity policy experts, and change agents who propose transformative policies while utilizing strategic nonviolent advocacy to end policies that reinforce structural, systemic and institutional racism in academic Institutions.

Students and activists are coached, mentored and advised by civil rights activists, educators/professors, media experts, attorneys, legal strategists and advocacy experts on how to change structurally racist policies, by utilizing multidimensional nonviolent advocacy strategies that encompass: negotiations, demonstrations, never bargaining their dignity to accept a “Three-Fifths Compromise”, drafting policy, influencing and proposing new inclusive policy.

It is Professor Louis Kwame Fosu’s firm belief that if celebrated members of the most benevolent, enlightened, academic, intellectual communities and environments in society, such as the University of Rhode Island and other institutions, cannot break and dismantle the fortified structures of historic systemic racism, then there can be no hope for the rest of society. For that reason, structural racism first needs to be methodically identified and wholly uprooted with the force of deliberate precision at the University of Rhode Island, and other lofty, high-minded institutions of education, to set the standard for society and other business and public institutions to follow.

In the tradition of the Innocence Project’s Peter Neufeld, who Louis Kwame Fosu met at an inspirational Rebellious Lawyering Conference at Yale University, it is Prof. Fosu’s ardent desire that the Diversity Think Tank’s work expand from University of Rhode Island and be established on all campuses in New England, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, South Carolina Texas, and across America with funding provided by the Obama Foundation, George Soros, Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z and Beyonce, Michael Rubin, MacKenzie Scott, Laurene Powell, Michael Bloomberg, Kardashians, Dr. Priscilla Chan, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and many others seeking real systemic change in diversity for a more equitable and dignified society. Author, Women’s Rights Activist and former Ford Foundation Senior Program Officer Dr. Jael Silliman heads the Diversity Think Tank’s funding efforts.

Need For a Diversity Think Tank

Professor Fosu believes that even the whitest structurally racist university, in one of the whitest states in our nation, such as the University of Rhode Island, can deliberately transform to become an oasis of diversity.  For that reason, after consultation with URI students and professors, The Diversity Think Tank was founded in 2020 by Professor Louis Kwame Fosu to effectively train students to become transformative racial equity and diversity policy experts who utilize strategic nonviolent advocacy to end antiquated policies that reinforce structural, systemic and institutional racism in academic Institutions. The goal is to create dignified, diverse, enlightened, equitable and loving environments in academic institutions especially for African-Americans, Latinos and other marginalized people. 

To paraphrase Justice Earl Warren in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision that dismantled the racist Separate but Equal doctrine in 1954 argued by an African-American Thurgood Marshall who was the NAACP’s lead attorney, “…to separate education experiences solely because of their race, generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the world that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone…”  

In America today, there is a phenomenon where some educated Blacks, who have been damaged by generations of systemic racism and centuries of oppression and lynchings, are now living Earl Warren’s dire warnings about discrimination and what Justice Felix Frankfurter describes as a “chilling effect” in the 1952 Supreme Court case Wieman v. Updegraff. That chilling effect has chastened some African-Americans to a point where they are unwilling or unable to raise their voices on behalf of their own marginalized communities. As in the Wieman case, black faculty and administrators are pressured to implicitly pledge loyalty and allegiance to their institutional racist oppressors or their jobs are immediately at risk. We bear witness to this tragic phenomenon at the University of Rhode Island and many other institutions, where some African-American men and women, and other historically oppressed people, have become deniers of racism and are often actively complicit in defending and buttressing the dehumanizing policies of institutional racism.

In the Wieman case, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter’s extraordinary opinion stresses the necessity of independence in the noble role which teachers play in a democracy:   

“The process of education has naturally enough been the basis of hope for the perdurance of our democracy on the part of all our great leaders, from Thomas Jefferson onwards. To regard teachers — in our entire educational system, from the primary grades to the university — as the priests of our democracy is therefore not to indulge in hyperbole. It is the special task of teachers to foster those habits of open-mindedness and critical inquiry which alone make for responsible citizens, who, in turn, make possible an enlightened and effective public opinion. Teachers must fulfill their function by precept and practice, by the very atmosphere which they generate; they must be exemplars of open-mindedness and free inquiry. They [teachers] cannot carry out their noble task if the conditions for the practice of a responsible and critical mind are denied to them. They must have the freedom of responsible inquiry, by thought and action, into the meaning of social and economic ideas, into the checkered history of social and economic dogma.”