Detroit Equity Action Lab

We develop leaders who work to end structural racism in Detroit.


What is racial equity?


Who is doing the work?


What are our stories?

2021 Cohort of Racial Equity Fellows

Congratulations to our 2021 cohort of Racial Equity Fellows (a.k.a. DEAL 6)!

Through our Racial Equity Fellowship program, we bring together the people and organizations working in the many dimensions of racial equity—including arts and media, community development, education, environment, food security, health care, and housing—to address issues of structural racism in Detroit and beyond. Participants build capacity for their organizations and their work in racial equity. Through training and discussions, they identify long-standing structural racism and improve awareness on racial equity issues to promote change in their communities.

Cover Story: 'All Eyes on Detroit'

“All Eyes on Detroit” tells the story of how our work at the Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL) is developing a national blueprint in Detroit designed to empower local communities to fight structural racism from the ground up.

"With a focus on lifting others to dismantle structural racism, the Detroit Equity Action Lab has discovered a new way to transform hearts and minds in Detroit — and across the country."

We're honored to have an amazing team leading and designing our Racial Equity Fellowship, all of whom are alumni of the program. Learn more in the recently released feature story on our work.

Race and Justice Reporting Initiative

Our mini-grants support media coverage on racial justice issues in Detroit.

The Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL) launched its Race and Justice Reporting Initiative to support independent journalists of color with mini-grants to cover racial justice issues and their impact on Detroit's Black, immigrant, and low-income communities. Areas of focus for this initiative include environmental justice, equitable development, and more to be determined.

This is a unique opportunity for print, radio, and video journalists to receive funding to help cover reporting expenses, mentoring and coaching, and assistance with placement of their work to news media outlets. Learn more.

National Day of Healing from Racism

To heal from and end racism, we need to tell the truth about past and current wrongs and address the consequences created by individual and systemic racism. We came together to support each other in how we are impacted by racism, move toward healing from racism, and build inclusion in our communities. #HowWeHeal

This community event was organized by: Detroit Equity Action Lab, WSU's Office of Multicultural Student Engagement, WSU's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, WSU's LatinX Student Association, WSU's Black Student Union, and WSU's Native American Student Organization.

Learn more.

Honoring Mama Lila

Mama Lila Cabbil, 1944-2019, has been a grounding moral and intellectual pillar for the Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL) since its founding.

She was courageous in her loving accountability; she held us and everyone around us accountable and taught us all to strive for the same. It is difficult to imagine the DEAL program without her. Her presence, wisdom, knowledge, kindness and humor will be with us always.

May she forever rest in power.

Learn more about her.

Detroit's Right to Literacy Case

Detroit students filed a class-action lawsuit charging that the State of Michigan denies children their right to literacy.

In 2016, Detroit students filed a class-action lawsuit against Gov. Rick Snyder and state education officials, charging that the State of Michigan denies children their right to literacy. Now in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Detroit’s right to literacy case (Gary B. v. Snyder) is the first lawsuit to argue that the right to literacy is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Check out our 101 guide on the issue.

Fiat Chrysler Plant Expansion in Detroit

Detroit's east side currently has illegal levels of ozone in the air. Despite this, Fiat Chrysler is building an assembly plant in the region and is, in part, meeting EPA standards by reducing emissions at a nearby plant in Warren. Not in Detroit.

So how does increasing pollution impact the people of Detroit? Check out our Race and Justice Reporting Initiative series, along with our infographic on environmental racism and our research dossier on asthma in Detroit.

Policing and Surveillance in Detroit

What is the role of police today and what was its role historically? We explore issues of policing, surveillance, and accountability amid the systems of structural racism in Detroit.

Project Green Light: Let's consider the cost of 24-hour surveillance in Detroit, a majority Black city. According to experts, Detroit's Project Green Light is proving to be a dangerous surveillance program through its invasion of rights and use of flawed, discriminatory practices⁠—particularly through facial recognition technology.

Watch our videos and check out our resources on policing and surveillance.