The University of South Florida community grieves the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affects Black people in America, and the perpetuation of systemic racism that has resulted in inequities and violence in Black communities. In no uncertain terms, this is a time of fundamental and enduring change. We must unite in our commitment to end anti-Black racism and focus on fostering an actively anti-racist culture across our nation and at USF. USF’s Principles of Community, affirming our value of inclusivity, individual dignity, equity, and our common humanity, clearly resonate with great urgency at this time. We have immense intellectual capital at USF with faculty/researchers dedicated to analyzing inequality and systems of oppression and are exceptionally well-positioned to provide a transdisciplinary, community-based approach to this vital work. We are dedicated to fostering increased opportunities to understand anti-Black racism and its implications and improve public and institutional engagement with Black communities, particularly nurturing and providing equitable opportunities and collegial support for Black faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students.

The Office of the Provost and USF Research & Innovation have jointly committed $500,000 for Round 1 of a research grant program that holds the promise of seeding future contributions from local and federal agencies, private and corporate donors, as well as foundations to understand and address the effects of systemic racism at the local, national, and international levels. The Call for Proposals, administered through USF Research & Innovation, offers tenured/tenuretrack, full-time research faculty members, and instructors or administrators with research assignments, with established and demonstrated research and creative scholarly activity backgrounds impacting Africana Studies and/or demonstrated engagement with Black communities the opportunity to apply for internal research funds. The research should specifically focus on improving understanding and yielding meaningful and sustained solutions to systemic social, environmental, and economic issues affecting Black communities, such as discrimination, poverty, health disparities, violence, justice, policing, and racial politics.