Conference | The Poverty Narrative: Confronting Inequity series

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FREE virtual event on March 5, 2021

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This event is dedicated to promoting a deeper understanding of the connections between race, structural racism, and poverty in the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter movement, and election season of 2020 highlighted the urgent need to confront the policies and practices that perpetuate inequity.

Join academic researchers and journalists to learn:

  • The roles of academia and journalism in documenting systemic inequity and pointing to potential solutions that ensure just outcomes;
  • The root causes of inequity in housing, education, and public health; and
  • How to use data to identify disparities and the importance of putting that data in historical context.


The free virtual workshops are open to anyone interested in improving the narrative around poverty in the U.S. and promoting a better understanding of structural inequity. Each session will have time for panelists to respond to questions from viewers. Register for the full-day event or just the sessions about which you’re most excited.

For journalists, these sessions will offer a chance to learn about leading research on systemic inequity in housing, education, and public health as well as evidence-based solutions that could make a difference; learn strategies for identifying data sources and providing crucial historical context for data to localize stories on these types of systemic inequities; and hear from other journalists who have done impactful reporting on these topics.

For academics, these sessions will provide insights on how to effectively work with media to promote more public engagement with research findings, examples of how peers in academia are using research and race-conscious data analysis to increase the public’s understanding of systemic inequity, and the chance to network with journalists from across the country.

Register now


Telling the Whole Story: Data in Context | Livestream

Time: 9:00 a.m. ET

Data are the cornerstone of academic research and investigative journalism. But numbers by themselves don’t tell the whole story, and data analysis without historical context can miss as much as it reveals. Panelists will outline their approaches to finding good data sources, putting that data in context, gathering insights from the people behind the numbers, and effectively communicating what data can tell us about structural inequities.

The Poverty Narrative: Confronting Inequity in Housing | Livestream

Time: 10:30 a.m. ET

As temporary eviction moratoriums implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic expire, long-term solutions are needed to ensure people have viable options to maintain affordable, stable housing. Housing, past and present, has been a domain where structural racism has impacted outcomes, through redlining and predatory lending. Panelists will discuss strategies for preventing evictions, maintaining and increasing affordable housing developments, and how to document the impact of housing instability at the local, statewide, and national level.

The Poverty Narrative: Confronting Inequity in Education | Livestream

Time: Noon ET

The COVID-19 pandemic has put America’s public education system to the test. As K-12 schools adapt to online learning and reimagine classroom environments, how can they avoid replicating existing inequities in our education systems? Panelists will discuss how the pandemic exacerbated disparities in access to quality education, potential solutions that could reduce those disparities, and how to connect students’ learning experiences with systemic issues.

The Poverty Narrative: Confronting Inequity in Public Health | Live Stream

Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

COVID-19 is infecting and killing a disproportionately large number of Black and Hispanic people in America, which highlights underlying disparities in chronic health conditions and access to health care. Panelists will discuss how racism intersects with public health and strategies for holding public officials accountable to address these health disparities.

Continuing the Conversation

The Poverty Narrative: Confronting Inequity event builds on The Poverty Narrative: A Midwest Perspective virtual conference hosted by Poverty Solutions at U-M as part of the Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network in June 2020. Watch video of the sessions from that event.

Visit The Poverty Narrative’s Additional Resources page for experts advisories, research summaries, tips for talking about poverty issues, racial equity resources, and more.

Keep the conversation going on Twitter using #PovertyNarrative.

Questions? Contact Karen Kling, strategic projects manager,

Brought to you by Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan

We are focused on providing rapid response data and analysis to community stakeholders and policymakers who want to enhance economic mobility and decrease poverty.