McSilver’s Statement on Nationwide Racial Injustice Protests

Black Lives Matter art

(June 1, 2020 – New York, NY)  The NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research was established in 2007 to disrupt generational poverty in communities most affected by inequality and injustice. In that spirit, we are speaking up in support of the protest movement sparked by the brutal police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and fueled by a desire to end centuries of racial injustice against Black people.

Black lives matter, and we join people across the nation to demand policies and practices reflecting the fact that they do matter.

American racism burdens Black and Brown people with over-policing and mass incarceration. Its enduring legacy is racial disparities in wealth, education, health, housing, safety and access to technology. Racism has left Black and Brown people most vulnerable to serious disease, death, lost income and undereducation during the COVID-19 pandemic. At its worst, racism leaves unarmed Black people brutalized and dead at the hands of law enforcement and vigilantes, and communities traumatized.

We reject violence and we call for peaceful protest. However, we also reject the idea that the destructive actions of some negate the message of this broad-based protest movement or demonstrate that unequal treatment of Black and Brown people by law enforcement is somehow justified.

Finally, we extend our condolences to the family of George Floyd and other families who have lost their loved ones to slayings by police officers or vigilantes. We urge all who want change to vote for leadership that is committed to finally addressing racial inequities. We ask everyone living within our borders to fill out the 2020 Census if you have not already, so your community will receive its just share of resources and representation. We encourage White allies who are committed to ending racism to keep acting and speaking out against it.

And right now, as our entire nation reels from the effects of a pandemic, a fractured economy and social upheaval, let’s check in with each other with the goal of unity—with justice.


The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University is committed to creating new knowledge about the root causes of poverty, developing evidence-based interventions to address its consequences, and rapidly translating research findings into action through policy and best practices. Each year it holds the McSilver Awards to honor several Vanguards for Social Justice who are transforming systems to tackle structural poverty and oppression. The institute also leads the university-wide Strategies to Reduce Inequality initiative. Learn more at and sign up for updates.