Research & Engagement

At the Center for Racial Justice, we organize and sponsor various opportunities to advance antiracism and racial justice through research, policy work, and community engagement in the Ford School and wider U-M community. We invite you to explore our current opportunities and to connect with us to learn more.

My vision for the Center for Racial Justice is to expand the body of scholarship exploring the historical, current, and potential relationship between public policy and racial equity. We seek to approach this work with an eye towards evidence-based solutions. Equally important, we seek to cultivate and support early-career scholars that share a desire to advance this area of research.

Mara Ostfeld, research director at the Center of Racial Justice




June 2023

By Young Chan Lim

Michigan, like many states, faces a child care crisis. There are at least four children under 12 for every available opening at a child care center in the state. Some analyses suggest that these numbers underestimate the problem and that when accounting for both the number of child care spots a center is licensed to provide and the number of spots that centers have staffing to support, the true picture of child care availability in Michigan is much more grim. Importantly, the challenges presented by the limited number of openings in child care centers are exacerbated by a range of other impediments, including the cost of child care and the need for back-up and emergency care.

The challenges of finding and affording child care has harmful effects on both individual families and the larger economy. In particular, access to high-quality care can be an important determinant of labor force participation for parents, and especially mothers, in the United States. These challenges became particularly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when racial and economic disparities in access to child care widened. Disparities in access to child care at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to widening racial disparities in the labor market. Because of the broad implications of child care inaccessibility, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has expanded access to free or low-cost child care for Michigan families and allocated $2.4 million in Regional Child Care Planning Grants to enhance and expand child care infrastructure across the state.

In this brief, we examine parents’ experiences with child care in Ypsilanti (including both the city and township) and the child care-related issues they report are the most important.

Click here to read the full brief. 

Our Research

Research Publications

We seek to explore, analyze, and understand how public policies have undermined or advanced the goal of racial equity, illuminating evidence-based solutions and supporting the changemakers who advocate for sound, just, and fair public policies day in and day out.
View research publications
Student projects

Racial Justice Student Initiative Fund

The Racial Justice Student Initiative Fund will accept applications for the 2022-2023 academic year beginning in Fall 2022. The Racial Justice Student Initiative Fund provides financial and logistical support for student-led racial justice initiatives that advance a more critical understanding of the social and political conditions that impact Black, Native and Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American and Pacific Islander peoples. We support a range of advocacy, policy engagement, and research projects. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
View student projects

Have any questions?

Adams-Santos, Headshot

Dominique Adams-Santos

Associate Director, Center for Racial Justice; Associate Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer; Special Assistant to the Associate Dean, Ford School; Anti-Racism Collaborative Postdoctoral Fellow, National Center for Institutional Diversity

Office 5318, Weill Hall