Detroit Equity Action Lab

We are an innovative hub for community-driven research, programming, and media, working to dismantle structural racism in Detroit.


What is racial equity?


Who is doing the work?


What are our stories?

WE ARE HIRING: Apply to be our Director!

We are seeking a Director to provide strategic, operational, and financial leadership.

The Director will develop, implement, execute, and oversee programs, activities, and plans for the organization. The posting will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

Please consider applying, and share the posting within your networks!

View the posting at (search for "Detroit Equity Action Lab").

Announcing: 2020 Cohort of Racial Equity Fellows

Congratulations to our 2020 cohort of Racial Equity Fellows (a.k.a. DEAL 5)!

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.

Meet the fellows.

Detroit 2020: People, Power, & Politics

NOTICE: Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, the remainder of the Detroiters Speak series has been cancelled.

What is Detroiters Speak? It is our open community classroom featuring Detroit-based speakers and guests. This year's series explored historical and current intersections in Detroit across electoral politics, governance, and movement-building. Watch recordings of sessions from this series or from previous years.

Brought to you for the fifth consecutive year by the U-M Semester in Detroit Program, the WSU Department of African American Studies, and the Detroit Equity Action Lab, an initiative of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

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.