Equity Summit Launches Journal of Social Equity and Public Administration
More than 70 social equity scholars from across the globe gathered in Charlottesville, Va. at the Morven Farm for the 2022 Equity Summit. The summit was organized to bring social equity experts together for collaboration and officially launch the Journal of Social Equity and Public Administration. JSEPA seeks to become a collaborative voice that combines equity research and practice in public policy.
The three-day event, hosted by the University of Virginia featured a strong presence from the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.
“This historic gathering of social equity scholars and students on the eve of the inaugural issue of the Journal of Social Equity and Public Administration (JSEPA) offered a centering of social equity challenges in public administration, said Susan Gooden, dean of the Wilder School. “The conference organizers did a superb job of elevating voices from a wide spectrum of faculty and students, against a backdrop of historic and contemporary context.”
Sesha Joi-Moon, director of the U.S. House of Representatives Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Demonstrating Wilder School expertise
- Wilder School alumna Sesha Joi-Moon, director of the U.S. House of Representatives Office of Diversity and Inclusion, served as a keynote speaker. A two-time VCU alumna, Joi Moon graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in African American studies and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice in 2008. Her speech “DEIA as the Intersection of the American Past and Present: Where Do We Go From Here?" referenced the need for greater intersectionality, defined as the interconnected role of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
- Susan Gooden, dean of the Wilder School, delivered a keynote address and rallying call for the gathering’s collective focus and vision for the future. She explored the importance of recognizing the inequitable history of the Morven Farm. Formerly a plantation built upon the backs of enslaved workers, it was also the ancestral home of the indigenous Monacan peoples.
Her presentation, entitled “Equity in Administration: A Global Challenge” will appear as a commissioned article in an early edition of JSEPA and focused on five overarching actions that offer promise in addressing global inequities: 1) embracing the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 2) focusing on social inequities as problems rather than conditions; 3) strengthening commitment to core democratic principles; 4) promoting accountability for race, colonization, and slavery; and 5) advancing a humanitarian approach.
- RaJade Berry-James, Wilder School senior associate dean of faculty and academic affairs, moderated a panel session entitled “Black Women Been Knew: Understanding Intersectionality to Advance Justice.”
- Anthony Starke, an assistant professor and 2008 Master of Public Administration alumnus served as a panelist. The group discussed the historical traditions that contextualize how Black women have remained resilient despite systematic racism and injustice.
- The summit was also attended by social equity scholar Blue Wooldridge, distinguished career professor and professor emeritus, and Wilder School students Elizabeth Harden, Sophie Webb and Keandra Davis. Davis was selected as an inaugural JSEPA Fellow.
Transforming equity research
A peer-reviewed, open-access publication, the JSEPA journal is sponsored by the Section on Democracy and Social Justice of the American Society for Public Administration and is supported by the Wilder School, the University of Minnesota and the University of Nebraska Omaha.
According to its website, “JSEPA seeks to be the leading voice on social equity as it pertains to the pursuit of public purposes. Publishing two issues per year, it is the outlet for cutting-edge theory, research, and commentary on matters of access, process, quality, and outcomes of administrative actions, policy decisions, and administrative law. It is also a voice for reconciliation, restoration, and remediation strategies.”
Gooden and other creators of the publication seek to bridge the research-practice gap to help inform and overcome social and structural inequities. JSEPA will examine social equity across the context of management, policy and law and share best practices, ethical considerations and perspectives to unite theory with practice.
“JSEPA offers a much-needed peer-reviewed journal in the field that will offer substantive and nuanced scholarship from academics and practitioners on social equity problems and solutions,” Gooden said. “It will offer both breadth–capturing perspectives from around the world — and depth–covering a wide range of equity issues, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, and ability status.”
The Journal of Social Equity and Public Administration will launch the first of its biannual publication in early 2023. In addition to research articles, JSEPA will also include two sections, Racial Healing and Promoting Social Justice featuring conceptual papers, commentaries and essays.