Temple University unveils Center for Anti-Racism Research
Temple officials and politicians spoke at the grand opening this morning.
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Thanks to a $1.3 million state grant, Temple University was able to construct its own Center for Anti-Racism Research. Today at noon, Temple officials — including Temple President Jason Wingard and former President Richard M. Englert — along with state politicians gathered at Mazur Hall on campus to celebrate the opening of the center. It aims to help researchers understand, explain and solve problems of racial inequity and injustice; as well as educate the public about it.
Molefi Kete Asante, Professor in the Department of Africology and African American Studies at Temple University, said that the biggest inspiration for the center was the murder of George Floyd, in 2020. He reached out to the university, which wasn’t being active, and proposed a change. After back and forth discussions, the university committed to a center for anti-racism.
“I felt that Temple University should make a positive response against racism,” added Asante.
President Wingard thanked the support of legislators, such as state Sen. Sharif Street and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, responsible for getting the funding needed for the center. He expects Temple to continue to be present in the community and beyond North Philadelphia, serving as a model to the rest of the country.
Asante also mentioned the importance of having the center in North Philadelphia. While it is economically one of the poorest regions of the city, Temple is considered among the best urban universities in the country. Asante believes Temple resources will be able to elevate the discourse around race and racism in a very positive way.
Timothy Welbeck, director of the Center for Anti-Racism Research, said the center will work in collaboration with offices across the university and will create scholarships to help shape the course of the discourse that will help the community better understand what racism is and how to better fight against it.
“We will inform, educate and empower the public to join us in this fight,” Welbeck added.
Representing the future for Temple, the center will not only work to combat racism, but also all other oppressions — from religious to gender and sexuality issues.
For the former President Engler, the center belongs to Temple as it aligns with the university’s mission. Funded in the post civil war, the institution aimed to provide a college education to the most underserved and neglected of the society. In the civil rights movement, Temple in partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania committed to serving all citizens of the state. Temple also created the first doctoral program in African American Studies in the nation, in the late 1980s — coordinated by Asante.
“Temple University center will provide evidence-based research both to discover and disseminate the truth, and to combat lies,” former President Englert said.