Sherrilyn Ifill and Michele Norris on the American Diversity Project

What is the role of the arts and humanities —and of individuals—in combating structural racism and promoting diversity as a value unto itself?

The Census Bureau projects that by 2045 more than half of the United States population will be people of color. Concurrent with these rapidly shifting demographics is a heightened ambivalence —and backlash—to diversity, and an alarming increase in disparities across societal registers, from a widening education attainment gap between Latinx and non-Latinx white Americans, to tragically high rates of COVID-19 mortality among African Americans.   

In this conversation from the Mellon Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Symposium, Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Michele Norris, journalist and founder of The Race Card Project, provide a historical and legal context for resistance to structural racism, and take stock of ongoing efforts to realize a more engaged society in which diversity and racial justice are celebrated as core to our national identity. 

Click here to watch a video of the full conversation.

"We're at a moment where we have to decide who we're going to be." Sherrilyn Ifill explains why demography does not necessarily define our nation's destiny. 

Sherrilyn Ifill responds to the question: What is the role of the arts and humanities in this precarious moment?

Michele Norris and Sherrilyn Ifill reflect on the small decisions we make in our everyday lives that will, with enough patience, push us forward in our nation’s journey toward racial justice.

Filmed at the New-York Historical Society on November 18, 2019 as part of the Mellon Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Symposium.