By Jessica Wolf
Michael Stoll, professor of public policy and urban planning, is the new director of the Black Policy Project, which is housed at the UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.
Stoll’s goals for the project include commissioning a report to examine the demographic changes of Black California; generating research on wealth inequity in the state; and supporting California’s new task force on reparations, the first of its kind in the country.
Each of those efforts, he said, will involve UCLA students, and each will produce materials meant to be useful to policymakers and the public at large.
“We want to be a good public ally and create accessible research for the layperson — information that engages in affairs that are of interest to and about Black California,” he said.
Stoll also plans to build on a study he launched nearly 20 years ago: a broad analysis of the state of Black California. He intends to incorporate a new “equality index” that will help illustrate Black residents’ socioeconomic progress, considering several different measures, over the past two decades.
And he foresees events and panel discussions that would bring members of the campus and Los Angeles communities together with elected officials and other California decision-makers.
The Black Policy Project is one of several Bunche Center initiatives that will benefit from $5 million in funding from the 2021-22 California state budget.
It’s the largest amount of support the center has received in a single year from the state, said Kelly Lytle Hernandez, the center’s director and a UCLA professor of history, African American studies and urban planning.
In addition to the Black Policy Project, the funds will support initiatives including Million Dollar Hoods, an ongoing study of incarceration in Los Angeles, and the Bunche Fellows Program, which provides stipends for students to work with leading faculty whose research has a vested interest in improving Black lives.