Pitt's Commitment to Social Justice

The University of Pittsburgh remains committed to providing ongoing opportunities for dialogue that promote unity, equality, and justice. Please take advantage of these various programs to continue the important work of building an inclusive, caring Pitt community that rejects ignorance, racist violence, intolerance, hatred, and oppression.

"Our mission of education and research offers a way forward through these deeply challenging  times. As educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune once wrote, 'Knowledge is the prime need of the hour.' When protests wane, it will be important to continue to intensify our critical understanding of the roots of racism, violence, and oppression." —Provost Ann E. Cudd

New events will be added to this page as they are announced. Links to recordings and other materials are provided after the event when available. Please check back for updates.

Upcoming Events

The Allies' Anti-Racist Toolkit
Through August 4, 2020

This is a space for White and non-Black students of color to discuss active, tangible ways they can support the black community. The workshop is held Tuesdays from 4-5 p.m through August 4, 2020.

Managing Racial Stress and Trauma
The workshop takes place Fridays from 9-10 a.m.

When discussing the impact of racism, it is easy to overlook the psychological harm it can do to its victims. In this group, students of color can will learn to identify the symptoms of race-related stress and racial trauma and how it impacts them. Likewise, students will be able to identify ways of managing their racialized distress to improve self-care.

  • July 17
  • July 24
  • July 31
  • August 7


PittEd Justice Collective
The PittEd Justice Collective is a three-year working group at the School of Education that is engaged in anti-racist, justice-directed initiatives with students, staff, faculty, alumni, families, youth, and district and community partners.

White Co-Conspirators Groups
The PittEd Justice Collective will situate equity and justice within our School's internal operations, culture, climate, and academic engagements. As part of this effort, we will have several white Co-conspirators Groups led by white colleagues in our School (e.g. staff, students, and faculty). Groups will serve as forums for white people to further their learning about, and collaborations on, equity, justice, and antiracism, with the expectation that this work will lead to meaningful co-conspiring and activism. Complete a brief form and to indicate your interest »


Black Study Intensive

University Community Encouraged to Join Black Study Intensive This Fall

During the week of Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, faculty from across Pitt are invited to symbolically “cancel” classes for a Black Study Intensive—a week in which the Center of African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP) will hold virtual performances and creative sessions open to any discipline and the general public.

“We want to do something for faculty to help them anchor their thinking around what it might mean to ‘do’ Black study. It’s not just sitting around reading a book,” said Dawn Lundy Martin, director and co-founder of the CAAPP. “This gives us an opportunity to be in conversation about this particular moment through the arts. And it gives us a way to come together in some way that we wouldn’t have been able to do before.”

To Martin, a poet and longtime activist, today’s racial justice movement feels different from years’ past.

“There’s a lot of energy behind today’s movement from a diverse group of people. It’s not only Black people, or people who have been affected by systemic racism in a negative way. There are a lot of allies,” she said. “It matters that there are allies on the front lines who are willing to risk arrest—around the country and around the world. That’s a big difference.”

Read the full Pittwire article »

Schedule for Black Study Intensive

Monday, Sept. 28

  • 1 p.m.: Opening talk by Yale scholar Emily Greenwood titled, "Overthrowing Deadly Metaphors"
  • 6 p.m.: Public reading and conversation: Dionne Brand and Harryette Mullen, moderated by Emily Greenwood

Tuesday, Sept. 29

  • 6 p.m.: Performance, readings and conversation with Saidiya Hartman, Jerome Ellis and Erica Hunt (participant moderator)

Wednesday, Sept. 30

  • 6 p.m.: Poetry reading, photography and conversation with Aracelis Girmay and Zun Lee

Thursday, Oct. 1

  • Thinking in creative practice: a day of Ccreativity and reflection (prompts from all invited guests will be posted on the CAAPP website)
  • 1 p.m.: Masterclass with Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

Friday, Oct. 2

  • 2 p.m.: "Love is the Great Rebellion" with filmmakers Charles Burnett and Julie Dash (who were part of the L.A. Rebellion film movement) and participant moderator Daniel Alexander Jones.

Recent Events

Facing White Fragility
The workshop takes place on Mondays from 1-2 p.m.

This is a White therapist-led space for White-identified students to explore what it means to be white. Students will be supported as they examine ways they have benefitted from white privilege, and discuss common concerns (e.g., "What if I say the wrong thing? I'm afraid of looking stupid”) that come along with becoming an anti-racist ally.

  • July 20
  • July 27
  • August 3

Diversity Forum 2020
July 28-30, 2020

Learn how we can make Pittsburgh a more inclusive region at the Diversity Forum 2020. The forum, Advancing Social Justice: A Call to Action, is a first-of-its kind virtual event at Pitt and will feature speakers including Ibram X. Kendi, historian, New York Times best-selling author and founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center. Secure your spot for the multi-day event by visiting the forum’s website. Registration is free and open to the public.


CUESEF 2020 - Crisis Pedagogies: Communities, Education, and the Public Good
All events take place from 2-4 p.m.

With this year’s theme, we hope to foster deep thinking about (in)justice and (un)learning in the U.S. and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, more specifically. A related aim is sharing ideas and strategies for intervention and change that insist on life, equity, and liberatory education as essential to the public good.

  • July 2, 2020 — Teach the Teachers – Youth Panel
  • July 9, 2020—Care-Giving and Circles of Support
  • July 16, 2020—Community Perspectives: Health, Faith, and Action
  • July 23, 2020—Toward Critical Pedagogy: Teachers and Teaching
  • July 30, 2020—Planning for Black Futures: Leadership and Policy Perspectives


Racialized Police Violence in Global Perspective: 5 Key Concepts
All events take place from 4-5:30 p.m.

This discussion series provides students with an opportunity to think about the most recent wave of brutal police violence in the United States in a global perspective.

  • July 1: Race
  • July 8: Settler Colonialism
  • July 15: Racial Capitalism
  • July 22: Transnationalism
  • July 29: Policing in the USA


PittEd Justice Collective

Virtual Series on Justice – Summer 2020
The PittEd Justice Collective has teamed up with Transform for Tomorrow to offer a three-part virtual series for superintendents and school leaders in K-16 education. The virtual series is presented in collaboration with the Grable Foundation, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, and Remake Learning. View the program flyer for more information (PDF) » or Register for one or more of the webinars »

  • Part 1: Justice Learning and Leading
    July 14, 2020 | 10:30-11:30 a.m.
    Focused on anti-racist approaches to leading and learning; explores equity and justice strategies education leaders can use to support teachers, students, and families.
  • Part 2: Justice Teaching in STEM
    July 16, 2020 | 1-2 p.m.
    Focused on anti-racist approaches to teaching and will share perspectives of Social Justice Math and Science and STEM teacher activism.
  • Part 3: Justice Listening and Strategizing
    July 21, 2020 | 10:30-11:30 a.m.
    A conversation with high school and college students who will share stories about racism and educational inequities.

Read about the PittEd Justice Collective webinar series in the University Times »


Race, Injustice, and Seeking Change with W. Kamau Bell
July 16
8-9:30 p.m.

The Pitt Program Council and the Black Action Society are excited to announce Race, Injustice, and Seeking Change with W. Kamau Bell! Together, the Pitt Program Council and the Black Action Society will lead a discussion with the sociopolitical comedian and United Shades of America host W. Kamau Bell, with a focus on the Black Lives Matter Movement, racism in America, and the impact all college students can have on the movements in our communities and in our country.


The Art of Diversity Showcase and Competition
Through July 6, 2020

The Office of Diversity & Inclustion is looking to share your creative projects in its Art of Diversity Showcase and Competition, held in partnership with the Center for Creativity. All members of the Pitt community and the Pittsburgh region are invited to submit creative works of any kind and are relevant to aspects of their cultural identity, sociocultural topics or social justice issues. Submissions will be accepted until July 6, and are open to all creative mediums, including visual art, music, dance and writing. The winners of the contest will be announced at the Diversity Forum 2020 on July 29.


Toxic Recipe: The Historical Ingredients for American Inequity
July 8, 2020
Noon-1:30 p.m.

All are welcome to join us for this installment of our town hall series – This Is Not "Normal": Allyship and Advocacy in the Age of COVID-19 – that focus on the diverse facets of our lives and communities impacted by institutional and systemic inequities and injustices, and further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch a recording of "Toxic Recipe: The Historical Ingredients for American Inequity" »

Read "The Toxic Recipe of American Inequity" in Pittwire »

Race, Police, and Unarmed Civilian Deaths: What Can Be Done?
June 10, 2020
Noon-1 p.m.

A conversation with David Harris, Sally Ann Semenko Endowed Chair and Professor, School of Law; Host of the Criminal Injustice podcast.


Codes of Belief & COVID-19, and Racism: Faith in an Age of Pandemics
June 10, 2020
12-1:30 p.m.

Watch a recording of the Codes of Belief & COVID-19 Town Hall »

Read "Faith Leaders Discuss New Social Justice Movement" in Pittwire»


Continue the dialogue
June 16, 2020

Join Mario Brown, director of  the Office of Health Sciences Diversity and Inclusion, in a space where the dialogue from the town halls can continue. If interested, contact mcb77@pitt.edu.


I Can’t Breathe: From Agony to Activism Town Hall
Wednesday, June 3
Noon-1:30 p.m.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Health Sciences Diversity are facilitating an emergency installment of their town hall series This Is Not “Normal”: Allyship and Advocacy in the Age of COVID-19. The “I Can’t Breathe: From Agony to Activism” town hall will address the troubled history between race and justice, with a focus on the recent tragedy in Minnesota, and outline tangible actions the community can take to achieve justice and equity.  The program will feature a panel of community activists, educators and public servants.

Watch the full town hall video »

Read "Highlights from “I Can’t Breathe” Town Hall" in PIttwire »