Institute Will Bear Name of Former EWC Student and Iconic Civil Rights Activist A. Philip Randolph
JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Edward Waters College (EWC) announced today that it will establish the A. Philip Randolph Institute for Law, Race, Social Justice and Economic Policy in the coming months pursuant to a multi-year six figure grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund. The College plans to hire an executive director/scholar-in-residence and utilize grant funds to provide opportunities for students, scholars, practitioners and community members to examine and exchange ideas related to race, law/criminal justice, and socioeconomic policy matters through research, lectures, symposia and scholarship.
“This is a tremendous opportunity and potentially transformative development for our institution and the greater Jacksonville community,” said Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., EWC president and CEO. “It is also a timely initiative for all of us given the recent events that have occurred throughout the country over the past year heightening our collective scrutiny of matters of race, law, and the engagement of African-American citizens with law enforcement as well as the ongoing plight for social and economic equity that has come even more to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Over the coming years, the Randolph Institute will seek to accomplish positive change through the promulgation of research based policy recommendations made to state and local Jacksonville governmental, law enforcement, business, civic, and economic development agencies, or other related organizations with the intention of achieving qualitative and/or quantitative improvements related to the aforementioned intersectional matters of race, law, and social and economic justice. An additional primary long-term goal of the Randolph Institute will be to increase public confidence and trust amongst all citizens and communities related to overall law enforcement interactions and to ensure equitable uses of discretion with regard to prosecutorial charging decisions made by district/state attorneys.
“The Randolph Institute represents a unique and powerful opportunity
to advance our collective goals of making our community more open, equitable and inclusive,” said Mari Kuraishi, President of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. “We are proud to honor the legacy of A. Philip Randolph by expanding opportunities for scholarship, open dialogue, and policy recommendations at a critical time for our community.
Asa Philip Randolph was a groundbreaking leader, organizer, and social activist who championed equitable labor rights for African American communities throughout the 20th century. He attended Edward Waters College from ages 14 to 16 before transferring to Bethune Cookman where he graduated. Randolph’s abilities as an organizer and trailblazer became the driving force in ending racial discrimination in government defense factories and desegregating the armed forces, both done through presidential decrees. He was a principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. Mr. Randolph passed away at the age of 90 and his ashes were interred at the A. Philip Randolph Institute in Washington, D.C.
“I am confident that this bold decision by the Jesse Ball duPont Fund will inspire others to join us towards catalyzing additional support in achieving substantial and substantive outcomes to positively impact the lives of all our fellow citizens and particularly traditionally marginalized communities which is directly reflective of the spirit of A. Phillip Randolph and his life’s work,” Dr. Faison said.
“We are grateful to the Fund for their continued partnership and support in enabling the launch of this critical new institute and EWC looks forward to continuing our longstanding service as an essential resource, solution provider, and conduit for leading progressive and meaningful change in the greater Jacksonville community and beyond.”
Edward Waters College (EWC), accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and a member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), is a private, historically black, urban college which offers a liberal arts education with a strong emphasis on the Christian principles of high moral and spiritual values. EWC was established in 1866 and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church-related institution of learning. It is the oldest private institution of higher education in the State of Florida.