UofM’s Hooks Institute to Host Virtual Policy Papers Presentation on Race in the Time of COVID 

Oct. 29, 2021 — The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute will present its 2021 Policy Papers via Facebook Live on the Hooks Institute Facebook page on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m. 

During the virtual presentation, participating scholars will discuss their research on critical civil and human rights issues as a starting point to build community dialogue and action toward solving contemporary problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Hooks Institute 2021 Policy Papers address the myriad of ways that the ongoing global health crisis has exposed existing injustices in our society, including: 

  • "COVID-19 and Evictions in Memphis" by Andrew Guthrie (UofM City and Regional Planning), Courtnee Melton-Fant (UofM Division of Health Systems Management and Policy) and Katherine Lambert-Pennington (UofM Department of Anthropology) reveals pockets of social marginalization and economic vulnerability in Shelby County, focusing on susceptibility to evictions.
  • "Race and COVID: Illuminating Inequities in Education" by Cardell Orrin (Stand for the Children) and Kelsey Jirikils (Freedom Preparatory Academy) highlights how the pandemic more clearly revealed the vast disparities in resources available to students throughout Shelby County.
  • "COVID-19 and Work: Employment Disparities Magnified" by Elena Delavega (UofM Department of Social Work) and Gregory M. Blumenthal (GMBS Consulting) quantifies how the pandemic's work disruptions fell most harshly on the most vulnerable, a group made up disproportionately of racial and ethnic minorities.
  • "COVID-19 Reveals the Power — and Limits — of Collective Will" by Daniel Kiel (UofM Law School) examines the emergency policy responses to the pandemic's most urgent social needs, such as evictions and unemployment benefits and how it took the shocks of COVID-19 to make them viable policy options.
  • "Through a Glass Darkly: Musings on the Harsh Realities of COVID-19 Social Determinants of Health in the Age of Pandemic" by Albert Mosley (Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare) highlights racial disparities in hospitalizations, mortalities and vaccination rates, lamenting that such distressing statistics were entirely predictable given community history with systemic racism that ensured economic and educational disparities.
  • "Life After Death: COVID-19's Impact on the Wealth of African American Families" by Daphene R. McFerren (Hooks Institute) describes the deterioration of wealth that results when individuals pass away without a will or proper direction as to how to distribute their estate, a problem made tragically more vital during the pandemic.

The Policy Papers presentation is free and open to the public. However, RSVP is strongly encouraged through this link. 

About the Hooks Institute Policy Papers 

The Hooks Institute Policy Papers are published annually about current civil rights, social justice and equity issues. The papers provide a review of the issues and offer recommendations toward solutions for policymakers, civic and business leaders and the greater community. 

About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change 

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute implements its mission of teaching, studying and promoting civil rights and social change through research, education and direct intervention programs. Institute programs include community outreach; funding faculty research initiatives on community issues; implementing community service projects; hosting conferences, symposiums and lectures; and promoting local and national scholarship on civil and human rights. The Hooks Institute is an interdisciplinary center at the University of Memphis. Contributed revenue for the Hooks Institute, including funding from individuals, corporations and foundations, is administered through the University of Memphis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.