Things have always been busy at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, a research-centered arm of Ohio State. But ever since global protests erupted following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, and the ensuing conversations about racism that have taken place at the individual and societal levels, the Kirwan staff has been fielding requests nonstop.
Since its founding in 2003, Kirwan has been called upon for its expertise during racially charged events, whether it’s the 2016 presidential election, the uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri, or the police killing of Black men like Eric Garner and Freddie Gray. But this time feels different.
“The protests have caused a large influx of training requests from people who maybe wouldn’t have known about our work in the past,” said Preshuslee Thompson, a training and facilitation specialist at Kirwan. “We’re really starting to be more of a guide in these last couple months. I’ve been having a lot more brainstorming sessions with organizations than I did in the past. ... People are looking to establish more long-term relationships with us, and that’s been a beautiful thing.”
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