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CONTENTS Our Year: A Message from the Director


Who We Are: Mission, Vision, & History


Changes at IUPRA


The State of Black Lives in Texas Initiative


2017-2018 Highlights


Looking Forward: 2018-2019


IUPRA Staff, Advisory Council, & Contact Information


Š 2018 Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis (IUPRA) at the University of Texas at Austin // Cover Photo: Texas African American History Memorial at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas. The memorial depicts Juneteenth (June 19, 1985), when Union soldiers arrived in Texas announcing the abolition of slavery. Photo courtesy of // Graphic Design: Holly W. Collins, IUPRA

OUR YEAR “We are fighting for an unapologetic movement for economic, social, and racial justice in the United States.” - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Each year the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA) is tasked with producing policy-related research and programming that is responsive to the needs of the Black community. The above quote reflects the spirit of the work conducted by IUPRA. Our mission is to use a racial equity framework to strengthen Black communities, promote social justice, and combat anti-Black racism through interdisciplinary policy research and intersectional policy solutions. Guided by a strong social justice ethic, we seek to understand how public policy can advance or undermine racial equity and use data to inform legislative policies that affect the quality of life for Black people. Every organization experiences change as a part of the ebb and flow of organizational growth. This year, IUPRA experienced considerable change, the most significant of which was the departure of several staff, some of whom were hired shortly after the creation of IUPRA. Each staff member made an important contribution and helped establish IUPRA’s identity. This gave me the opportunity to hire new, talented staff. For the first time during my tenure as Director, I have now hired all current staff. In an attempt to bring coherence to our work, we created The State of Black Lives in Texas Initiative as a programmatic effort that consists of (1) Report Series, (2) IUPRA Poll, (3) Policy Briefs, and (4) Black Policy and Tea Event Series. Our signature product has undoubtedly been our report series. Our reports on Education and Housing are being read and disseminated broadly, with remaining reports on Criminal Justice, Health, and Income and Poverty forthcoming. The past year was marked by several significant cultural and political events, as well as changes in public policy, that threaten to undo the progress made by Black people. The confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, along with the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, will potentially impact the Supreme Court for decades on public policy related to issues such as affirmative action, racial discrimination, the death penalty, abortion, and LGBTQ rights. The #MeToo movement was started by Tarana Burke and became a rallying cry for all those individuals who have been victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. One of the highlights of our year was serving as a co-sponsor for an event that brought Tarana Burke to campus. Public discourse about the sexism and systemic barriers facing women, increased tolerance of racism, and efforts to fuel culture wars along racial and political lines, all contributed to a shift in the consciousness of the electorate. As a result, record numbers of Black women along with Black men ran for public office, resulting in several historic election upsets. This racially polarizing climate is one of the main reasons why IUPRA continues to stand out in providing thought leadership through the publication of opinion pieces in multiple venues, as well as interviews with media on a number of race-related topics. These are just some of the many activities we engaged in over the past year. To see more about the projects discussed in this report and all of IUPRA’s work, visit We continue to appreciate the support of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, College of Liberal Arts Dean Randy Diehl, and UT President Greg Fenves. Dr. Kevin Cokley Director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis Oscar and Anne Mauzy Regents Professor for Educational Research and Development UT System Distinguished Teaching Professor Professor of Educational Psychology and African and African Diaspora Studies 1

WHO WE ARE Our Mission: Utilizing a racial equity framework, we strengthen Black communities, promote social justice, and combat anti-Black racism through interdisciplinary policy research and intersectional policy solutions. Our Vision: To see societal and institutional change and the elimination of racial bias and disproportionality in Texas through policies that value, support, and advance Black communities.

Our Research: Through issues briefs, policy reports, community partner projects, research studies, and more, IUPRA diffuses cutting-edge policy research that will change the world, starting here in Texas. Our work currently addresses five distinct areas: CRIMINAL JUSTICE





Explore our research library at

Our History: The Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis was founded in 2011 through collaborative efforts of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. The vision of Rep. Helen Giddings, Rep. Sylvester Turner, and UT Austin President Bill Powers was to create a non-partisan organization that would directly respond to the lack of data and critical policy analyses of existing and proposed interventions affecting Black Texans. To date, IUPRA continues to generate diverse products designed to meet the needs of local, state, and nationwide audiences and policy stakeholders. 2

CHANGES Welcoming New Staff Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, we welcomed many new staff members to the IUPRA team. We added new roles, such as the Grants & Contracts Specialist position, to expand the type of work we are capable of doing, and brought on long-time IUPRA faculty affiliate Dr. Michele Rountree as our new Associate Director. We also brought on a new Assistant Director of Policy Research, Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Associate, Multimedia Communications Specialist, and Administrative Assistant. We are now welcoming new Research Fellows and Staff, Graduate Research Assistants, and an Undergraduate Intern for the 2018-2019 school year. Tracie Lowe, PhD, and Nino Rodriguez, MA started work as Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate, respectively, on September 4. Learn more about our staff at

Tracie A. Lowe, PhD

Nino Rodriguez, MA

Our Direction As we built our team throughout the past year, we met frequently to strengthen our team dynamics and discuss our core purpose in order to pinpoint what this purpose looks like in our everyday operations. This led to the updating of our mission and vision statements and formalizing our research initiatives (see page 2). We are proud to communicate this clarified purpose and represent ourselves in a unified and focused voice.

Future Work With our new focus and a new year ahead, we’re constantly coming up with new ideas for research projects and community events. Along with the work we already have planned for the upcoming year (see page 10), we’re always welcoming new ideas and partnerships. UT Austin groups or researchers, community organizations, Texas legislators, and other interested individuals and groups can now quickly and easily contact us and set up an appointment to discuss collaboration from the homepage of our website.




The initiative is a collective effort of IUPRA researchers, policy analysts, and statisticians that produce and disseminate applied policy research focused on the elimination of systemic racial inequities affecting Black Texans. IUPRA seeks to inspire, promote, and facilitate positive impacts on Black lives and incorporate community voice into all programmatic content. There are four main deliverables (see below) addressing health, income inequality and poverty, education, housing, and criminal justice.

report series

These reports highlight important social issues affecting the Black population in Texas. The goal of the series is to provide policy makers with critical research that leads to legislation and effective interventions benefiting Black people in Texas.

iupra poll

IUPRA conducted a public opinion poll among registered Texan voters about relevant social and political issues. The poll is unique in that it analyzes data through a racial framework, focusing on Black voters as the point of comparison.

policy briefs

Policy briefs are one-pagers or short summaries grounded in research, with an emphasis on policy solutions.

black policy and tea event series

These events provide an opportunity to discuss and share findings from our policy reports and poll findings with researchers and scholars, policy makers, and UT Austin campus and students.

Our reports on criminal justice, income and poverty, and health will be coming out in the fall of 2018. Be sure to sign up for IUPRA’s newsletter to be the first to hear when they’re relased:

Learn more about #BlackLivesTX and view reports, polls, and more online: https://ww 5

EDUCATION In Texas and throughout the United States, stark racial disparities exist in our education system. Black students consistently perform worse than their peers across all racial groups and are disproportionately disciplined and punished. If we wish to achieve racial equity and believe that education forms the foundation for successful life outcomes, it is of the utmost importance to examine how to better serve Black students in our schools. IUPRA’s first State of Black Lives in Texas report lays the groundwork to do just that by examining how current policy and realities in Texas affect Black students in four key education issues: discipline and punishment, charter schools, standardized testing, and the Top Ten Percent Law. The authors provide an analysis of the available data in these areas, followed by key policy recommendations and priorities.

Howard County Library System

“In Texas, Black students represent roughly 13% of the total student population but have the highest dropout rate, are most likely to be referred to special education programs, and have the lowest scores on standardized tests across all grades and all subjects.”

HOUSING Where we live matters. Our access to a quality education, a living wage, food security, and a healthy environment are often predetermined by our zip codes. Yet in Texas and throughout the United States, Black people face consistent discrimination and segregation in the housing market. We believe that segregation and housing instability are not conditions of poverty, but causes of poverty. IUPRA’s second State of Black Lives in Texas report uses research to demonstrate this point. This report looks at the impact of the recession, housing segregation and concentrated poverty, the affordable housing crisis, homelessness, and homeownership barriers, all in regard to Black Texans. The authors provide an analysis of the available data in these areas, followed by key policy recommendations and priorities.

“Fair housing is the antidote for the poison of segregation in America.” Wade Henderson (2018) 6


We released two State of Black Lives in Texas reports, covering education and housing. The findings of these reports have been shared at multiple events, disseminated to hundreds of Texas stakeholders and community members, and accessed online by hundreds more. You can read both reports at iupra/research. In 2017 and 2018, IUPRA shared results from the IUPRA Poll. The IUPRA Poll is unique in that it oversamples Black people to generate more reliable estimates by race, making Black voters the point of comparison on public opinion. The poll looked at what voters thought of in regard to issues of racial climate, health, education, and criminal justice before and after the 2016 election.

EVENTS Black Policy & Tea: De-Escalation Training for Law Enforcement October 2017 Opportunity Forum: Free Speech on College Campuses - Where to Draw the Line? October 2017 Time to Show Up for Black Mothers Summit March 2018 Black Policy & Tea: The State of Black Lives in Texas: Education April 2018 Black Women’s Voice in the Age of #MeToo Keynote Speaker Tarana Burke May 2018 APA Division 45 Research Conference July 2018


THOSE WHO STAYED The Impact of Gentrification on Longstanding Residents of East Austin In March 2018, we released the final report of a series on gentrification in East Austin by IUPRA Faculty Fellow Eric Tang, PhD, The report documents the voices of longstanding residents in East Austin on the impact gentrification has had on their neighborhood; 74% had an overall negative perception of the change. This research was featured in multipe local news outlets, and in May of 2018 an addendum was added exploring data about the amount of children vs. the amount of dogs in the neighorhood. IUPRA hosted an event to share this research that was well-attended and covered by local press.

PUBLICATIONS JOURNAL ARTICLES & BOOK CHAPTERS IUPRA staff were also kept busy this year with their own teaching and research. Dr. Cokley co-authored a chapter titled “The psychological impact of policing on African American students” for the book Policing Black and Brown in the 21st Century.

Lives Matter: A Call to Action for Counseling Psychology Leaders” published in The Counseling Pscyhologist received the 2018 Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship on Race and Ethnicity Award from the APA Section for Ethnic & Racial Diversity.

In addition to writing this chapter and various other journal articles, Dr. Cokley’s 2017 article “Black

In the fall of 2017, Dr. Rountree was published in the American Journal of Public Health, co-authoring the

article “Advancing Social Work Education for Health Impact.” IUPRA is proud to be a part of contributing important research that shapes not only policy, but also pscyhology, social work, and other human services.

During the 17-18 academic year, IUPRA & staff:

You can find a complete archive of IUPRA’s media presence, op-ed pieces, and published research online at: under “Staff Publications.”

Published 7 research projects


Won 1 major award

Trump isn’t urging patriotism; he’s provoking a culture war by Kevin Cokley, September 2017

Texans lose after lawmakers defund office of minority health by Lauren Lluveras, November 2017

Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy will make hurricane recovery brutal - here’s why by Lauren Lluveras, September 2017

Brown v. Board of Education anniversary - re-segregate schools voluntarily for Black students by kihana miraya ross, December 2017

Published 4 peerreviewed academic pieces (articles or book chapters) Published 12 op-eds across more than 15 media outlets Hosted 2 Black Policy & Tea events Sponsored 4 major events across the UT and Austin communities

Puerto Rico: Racializing the federal response by Lauren Lluveras, October 2017 Is racial bias driving Trump’s neglect of Puerto Rico? by Lauren Lluveras, October 2017 Why Texas doesn’t come close to having true democracy by Lauren Lluveras, October 2017

How MLK’s death changed America by Kevin Cokley, March 2018 My grandma went to jail for selling joints and now white people are profiting off weed by Lauren Lluveras, April 2018 What keeps racism alive? To start, most of us can’t see it. by Kevin Cokley, August 2018

It’s wrong for Texas to criminalize abortions by Shavonne Henderson & Richa Gupta, November 2017



LOOKING FORWARD: 2018-2019 The Texas 86th Legislative Session is taking place in the spring of 2019, and we will continue working closely with the Texas Legislative Black Caucus (TXLBC) as they prepare legislation. We plan on continuing to present our findings and policy recommendations from the State of Black Lives in Texas research initiative to legislators across Texas. We will be tracking and monitoring relevant bills and working with community organizations to make sure our expertise is used to inform policies that affect Black Texans.

UT Austin Black Studies will be hosting its second Black Studies Conference in March 2019. As the policy arm of Black Studies, IUPRA will play a key role in adding policy perspectives to the conference sessions. IUPRA staff are also participating in the planning committee for the conference. This conference will be held on UT Austin’s campus and will take a look at scholarship, art, and civic engagement across the country within a Black Studies context.

We are continuing our work under the State of Black Lives in Texas initiative. Throughout the remainder of 2018, we will be releasing three reports on criminal justice, income and poverty, and health, as well as hosting accompanying events to disseminate our findings and discuss practical policy and community-based solutions. We are working on devleoping visual and multimedia products that quickly and effectively communicate our research to a broad range of audiences.

Upcoming Events: • Black Policy & Tea: Housing • Black Policy & Tea: Criminal Justice • Black Policy & Tea: Income and Poverty • Black Policy & Tea: Health • Courageous Conversations Film Series: Police Brutality • Black Studies Conference

Follow along with us this year as we continue this important work. You can sign up for our newsletter at, or follow us on Twitter at @IUPRA_UT & Facebook at IUPRA. 10

IUPRA STAFF Kevin Cokley, PhD Director

Michele A. Rountree, PhD Associate Director

Shavonne Henderson, JD Assistant DIrector of Policy Research

Lauren Lluveras, JD Senior Postdoctoral Fellow

Tracie A. Lowe, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow

Nino Rodriguez, MA Research Associate

Richa Gupta, MPH Research Associate

Desiree Ledet, MA Grants & Contracts Specialist

Holly W. Collins, BA Multimedia Communications Specialist

Kae’lyn Thompson Administrative Assistant

Shaleiah Fox Associate Director for External Relations, Black Studies

IUPRA ADVISORY COUNCIL Kazique Prince Senior Policy Advisor & Education Coordinator, Austin Mayor’s Office Chief Executive Officer, Jelani Consulting, LLC

Mechele Dickerson University Distinguished Teaching Professor Moller Chair in Bankfuptcy Law and Practice

Sheila Craig Associate Commissioner, Health and Human Services Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities

Deone Wilhite Executive Assistant, Travis County Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion - Precinct 1

CONTACT US Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis (IUPRA) The University of Texas at Austin 210 W. 24th Street Mailcode E3600 Austin, TX 78712 Email: Phone: +1 (512) 471-3645 11

Shannon Jones Board Chair, Central Health @IUPRA_UT


IUPRA 2017-2018 Annual Report  

Learn more about the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis (IUPRA) at UT Austin here:

IUPRA 2017-2018 Annual Report  

Learn more about the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis (IUPRA) at UT Austin here: