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Introducing IASP Lab

Welcome to IASP Lab! We are initiating this curated column in the midst of disaster and uncertainty, as COVID-19’s ravages and the George Floyd-inspired nationwide protest and demand for change alters our world, our mission, our lives, our identities, and our work. Our Work. The space that melds the personal, practice, and policy to our future.

Directing IASP has been a great honor and now a greater calling. Finding innovative ways to stand fast to our Mission is more critical than ever: “IASP is a research institute that advances economic opportunity and equity for individuals and families, particularly households of color and those kept out of the economic mainstream.

Working at the intersections of academia, policy, and practice, IASP partners with diverse communities to transform structures, policies, and narratives. Grounded in a social justice tradition, our research informs strategic action for racial and economic justice to achieve an inclusive, equitable society.” The Mission is more important ever as this pandemic and the ghastly response have burst deep, enduring, embedded, and manufactured inequality fissures into in plain-sight structural inequity and racism. COVID does not change our social justice mission; however, it does change how we must pursue social justice. Weeks of protest and demands for racial equity sharpen the urgency and possibilities of this moment.

IASP Lab reflects our Mission in the scary, uncertain time of COVID. Our reflections and contributions cannot wait for the next research report, media interview, press report, Heller Highlight, or truncated Twitter shout out. Our commitment is to bring fresh and short (750-1,000 words) essays on the most pressing issues of the day centering race, equity, gender, and wealth as our North Stars. We see ourselves as a place where evidence and analysis meets narrative, advocacy and mobilization, and policy as a theory of change. IASP Staff, community partners, guests, and involved graduate students will contribute posts in the weeks and months ahead. We hope that this Lab will synergize with other deep thinking, reflections, and strategizing during COVID and add to our understanding of racism, structural racism, and white supremacy.

We will continue with IASP Lab only so long as these columns add value to critical transformations in the public discourse, narrative, policy, research, evidence, advocacy, and partnerships.

Here are the sorts of posts that excite us and already occupy the IASP space:

  • Seizing Executive, Administrative, (De)Regulatory Power under the guise of COVID-19
  • Sharing ideas with larger community about regarding COVID, equity, wealth, race, narrative
  • Policies prioritizing Market over Democracy, public health, and safety
  • Windows for COVID-19 Narrative Work—moving from individual to collective
  • Broad Project Concepts—what is Economic Empowerment? Structures and Processes of Wealth Extraction/Accumulation?
  • Equity within program delivery
  • Implications for how “deservedness” performs differently for work before, during, and after COVID-19
  • COVID’s Cascade: Emergency savings, hardship withdrawals; homelessness; residential homes; incarceration
  • The Violence of Inequality
  • Columns that lift up current and previous work as they relate to the COVID pandemic (Example: Not Only Unequal Paychecks illustrates the connection between occupational segregation and COVID-19’s higher infection rates for Latinos and Blacks).

These are big ideas but ones these times call for. This is not a time for mundane, routine, or sweeping-out-the-corner projects. Our aim is for accessible, edgy, thought-provoking posts, about 750-1,000 words. Each post will reflect the thinking of the author. I hope we are up to this challenge! Let us know what you think and what you would like to read more about here.

IASP Director, Thomas Shapiro
By Tom Shapiro, IASP Director