Race Forward 40th Anniversary Timeline

Forty years is a lot of history and there are so many events we could have included. In order to keep this initial timeline manageable, a few themes were selected to highlight: Environmental Racism, Racial Equity, Immigration, and Mass Incarceration. Look for these threads below.

Additional events—past and present—that highlight the important work Race Forward is doing to build a multiracial democracy will continue to be added, so check back often.


  • Historical
    Ronald Reagan talking. Clint Eastwood in the background.
    Jan 20, 1981 to Jan 20, 1989

    During this administration, “Reaganomics” and the war on drugs was introduced. In addition to cutting budgets for renewable energy research and development, the solar-thermal panels put up on the White House by the previous administration were removed.

    Racial Justice Struggles | Environmental Record 

  • Race Forward
    Curled up lizard drawing in black and white with ARC in white on black block.

    Old Applied Research Center logo.

    Mar 31, 1981
    Applied Research Center (ARC) Founded

    Articles of Incorporation were filed March 31, 1981. ARC was founded by Gary Delgado as an analytic resource for community organizations of color in the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO) network.



  • Historical
    Portrit of George H Bush with a stern look on his face.
    Jan 20, 1989 to Jan 20, 1993
    George H. W. Bush Presidency

    Winning the election after his supporter’s infamous (and racist) Willie Horton campaign, the Bush administration went on to war under false pretenses.

    George H. W. Bush’s Legacy


  • Historical
    Mar 27, 1992
    L.A. Rebellion

    The L.A. Rebellion follows the acquittal of officers in the Rodney King trial.

    More Colorlines Coverage



  • Colorlines
    Colorlines issue Summer 1998 with illustration of iconic photo of Black athletes at Olympics doing Black Power fist. Title “What happened to the revolt of the Black athlete?” Behind are issues of Third Force and two issues of RaceFile.
    May 1, 1998
    First issue of ColorLines magazine published

    The first issue (v1.1 Summer 1998) was completed in May 1998. ColorLines magazine emerged from the merging of RaceFile and ThirdForce. Founded by Bob Wing and Jeff Chang, ColorLines worked to bring attention to race, especially stories from the perspective of communities of color. ColorLines the magazine ran for over 11 years.

  • Race Forward
    Grass Roots Innovative Policy Program First Year report cover (yellow with arrow in background) on background of Applied Research Center logo with gecko background.

    G.R.I.P.P report cover with late 90s ARC website background.

    Sep 1, 1998
    Grass Roots Innovative Policy Program

    The GRIPP program engaged 70 local organizations and 22 national organizations that worked together on a total of eight local and state policy initiatives. Out of eight initiative campaigns, six resulted in the enactment of successful policies.

    Contrary to the conventional wisdom, GRIPP demonstrated unequivocally that community-based organizations can indeed win progressive policy changes (including concrete health insurance access and anti-discrimination policies, and school discipline policy changes) when they use strategies that lead with race.

    GRIPP 1999 First Annual Report



  • Race Forward
    Sep 8, 2002
    Racial Justice Leadership Institute Launches

    Applied Research Center launches Racial Justice Leadership Initiative (RJLI), offering training and consultation to help thousands of activists and organizations advance racial equity. It was the predecessor to current Building Racial Equity training series.

  • Center for Social Inclusion
    Logo: Stylized “CSI.” Center for Social Inclusion. A Project of the Tides Center.
    Sep 23, 2002
    Center for Social Inclusion Founded

    In 2002, the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) began in the living room of Civil Rights Attorney Maya Wiley, with a $75,000 seed grant from the Open Society Institute as a project of the Tides Center. The brain-child of Maya and Jocelyn Sargent, a political scientist, they started CSI in the wake of September 11th to support racially equitable policy solutions to a devastated city.

    The federal government made $20 billion available to support rebuilding from the attacks, but the bulk of this money targeted two wealthy neighborhoods in Manhattan. CSI's early efforts lifted up the need of other communities, particularly communities of color, devastated by the attacks and the reactionary policing of immigrants and Muslims.


  • Center for Social Inclusion
    Aug 7, 2003

    Intended to provide a better understanding of the potential impact of the Mississippi Adequate Education Plan (MAEP), as well as to help identify inadequacies in the education reform system and implications for further education reform efforts.



  • Historical
    Aug 29, 2005

    Over 1,800 deaths. 80% of New Orleans was submerged after flood walls broke. Climate change may have played a role in increasing the damage from the storm. The impact on communities of color were greater and lasted longer. Racism played a large part in this impact, from neglect, to a decrease in available public housing, to profiling by police.

    The tragic outcomes and lack of federal response point to systemic racial inequity.

    Former Race Forward staffer, Tara Conley created this short film about the experience.



  • Center for Social Inclusion
    Stop Dog Whistle Racism: Tracking race in this year’s elections.

    Banner image from website.

    Aug 21, 2008
    CSI Launches Stop Dog Whistle Racism

    CSI launches the website Stop Dog Whistle Racism to track the ways in which race was used as a "dog whistle" during the 2008 presidential election cycle. The website is helmed by Ludovic Blain.


  • Historical
    Jan 20, 2009 to Jan 20, 2017
    Obama Presidency

    The election of President Obama—the first Black president—led to a rise in racism and white supremacy amongst assumptions of a post racial society.

    ARC Celebrates historic moment | On the racist reaction


  • Center for Social Inclusion
    New CSI logo with Building Opportunity through Broadband and Broadband in Mississippi reports.

    CSI got a new look with their 10th anniversary.

    Jan 29, 2010
    CSI begins advocating for broadband infrastructure and access in communities of color

    Congressman Bennie Thompson and the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP, CSI co-convened a public hearing on “Building Opportunity through Broadband” where telecommunications professionals, advocates, and experts in public health, economic development and education testified about the state of broadband in Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District and its disproportionate negative impact on communities of color. Learnings are submitted to the FCC. CSI also publishes “Broadband in the Mississippi Delta.”

    On December 7, 2010, CSI continued this discussion by co-hosting a symposium with the Center for Technology, Innovation and Community Engagement.

    Building Opportunity Through Broadband | Broadband in the Mississippi DeltaPaper: Broadband Equity Today | National Symposium on Community-Scale Broadband

  • Colorlines
    Colorlines website screenshot from 2015.
    Jun 23, 2010

    The new ColorLines will cover events as they unfold–bringing you not only the most urgent news but the context in which to understand it. The last issue of ColorLines magazine was the November/December 2009 issue.

  • Center for Social Inclusion
    Cover for "Recovery, Interrupted: Gulf Coast Communities of Color Five Years After Hurricane Katrina"
    Aug 30, 2010

    This report covers long term recovery failures as well as advocates for policy changes.

  • Race Forward
    Better Together report cover.
    Sep 15, 2010

    A study on the relationship between racial justice organizations and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. ARC takes an intersectional approach to racial justice.

    In 2012, ARC with Southerners on New Ground (SONG) began a cohort to consider the challenges and opportunities in tying the racial justice movement to LGBT liberation in the U.S. South.

    Report: Better Together Report | Report: Better Together in the South

  • Race Forward
    Sep 28, 2010
    Drop the I-Word Campaign Starts

    The Applied Research Center and ColorLines launch pledge campaign to drop usage of the word “illegal” in reference to human beings. On November 15, 2011, Drop the I-Word Calls on Associated Press to Remove “Illegal Immigrant” from Stylebook.


  • Race Forward
    Nov 2, 2011
    Shattered Families report published

    “Detaining and deporting parents shatter families and endanger children left behind.” — Rinku Sen

    On May 2, 2012, Seth Freed received an award for reporting via Colorlines after a yearlong investigation on kids these kids lost in the U.S. Deportation system.

    Report: Shattered Families | Colorlines article | Hillman prize winners


  • Apr 2, 2013

    The Associated Press announced the change via a Blog post. On April 10, USA Announced they would stop using the term. The New York Times also announced they’d been considering a gradual shift. As did the L.A. Times follow suite on May 1, 2013.

    Associated Press | L.A. Times | New York Times | USA Today

  • Historical
    Jul 13, 2013
    #BlackLivesMatter movement starts

    After the acquittal in the trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi start the hashtag and greater Black Lives Matter movement.


  • Race Forward
    Nov 6, 2013

    The new name highlights the centrality of addressing race and the urgency of paving the way forward to racial justice.


  • GARE
    logo: Local and Regional Government Alliance on Race & Equity
    GARE started as a program of then Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society

    Continuing work started in Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, GARE was created to expand it nationally.

  • Center for Social Inclusion
    Report covers: Growing Together and Energy Democracy with Energy Democracy for All logo with tagline "Participate, Innovate, Transform."
    Apr 18, 2014
    Energy Democracy for All Program Launch

    Energy Democracy program started with work in rural South Carolina in 2004 with rural communities in the region to support Black landowners dealing with incorporation and saving their farmland. 2010, CSI released the white paper Energy Democracy: Community Scale Green Energy Solutions. With this paper, we initiated a broad dialogue among academics,community advocates and environmental justice experts linking a clean economy to the conditions communities of color face today.

    The Energy Democracy report permits CSI to identify ways that renewable energy – an area of boundless opportunity – can bridge local communities of color to the national policy debate.

    Report: Energy Democracy | Report: Growing Together

  • Colorlines
    Jul 11, 2014

    Colorlines’ Aura Bogado interviews a Central American migrant child about her experience with the hieleras, the immigration holding facilities in the United States.

  • Historical
    Jul 29, 2014

    Children such as one interviewed by Colorlines, testifies to congress about their experience while in custody with DHS.

  • GARE
    Aug 5, 2014 to Aug 6, 2014

    GARE organized and led a convening of government and community leaders from throughout the country in Minneapolis.


  • Race Forward
    Jun 20, 2015

    Providing critical support for the use of responsible language and story framing that reflects ethical and rigorous journalistic standards and affirms the dignity and human rights of people of all races.

  • Center for Social Inclusion
    CSI and GARE logos
    Nov 9, 2015

    Government Alliance on Race & Equity becomes a joint project of Center for Social Inclusion and Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society.


  • Center for Social Inclusion
    Mar 29, 2016
    CSI Convenes First Food Cohort

    CSI begins convening the National First Food Racial Equity Cohort, a group of 16 breastfeeding advocates, supporters, academics, and other practitioners from across the country.

  • Historical
    Apr 1, 2016

    LaDonna Brave Bull Allard co-founds the camp in response to the pipeline being built near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The pipeline would transport crude oil which could contaminate soil or water during leaks.

  • GARE
    Racial Equity Here logo
    May 25, 2016

    Racial Equity Here is a movement of community organizations, local governments, foundations, schools and businesses across the country making a commitment to advance racial equity. Starting with five mayors meeting in New York.


  • United States Flag
    Jan 17, 2017 to Jan 20, 2021
    Trump Presidency

    From the Muslim Ban to children in cages, the environmental protection rollbacks to the response to the coronavirus, President Donald Trump’s administration presented a challenge to racial justice and equity.

    Colorlines Coverage

  • Race Forward
    Race Forward logo (stylized arrow with fringe of different colors).
    Jun 28, 2017

    Borne out of opportunity, abundance, urgency, and a mutual desire for greater alignment and multiplied efforts to deliver on both organizations’ core principles of advancing racial equity and supporting communities most impacted by structural racism.

  • Race Forward
    Sep 13, 2017

    Mass Freedom will focus on elevating the voices of those who have been most impacted by mass criminalization via talks, Colorlines reporting, and resources.



  • Historical
    vibrant blue graphic, with a beautiful, interconnecting background pattern symbolizing networking, and connecting from across time and space, together. All the way around the edges of the graphic are the proud, smiling, multiracial faces of Black, Brown,
    Mar 11, 2020
    WHO declares COVID-19 could be a pandemic

    COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus was addressed with a global shutdown with social distancing resulting in a mass shift to virtual gatherings and meetings, providing more accessibility to folks not able to gather at public venues.

    WHO timeline

  • Historical
    May 25, 2020

    George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer when he was pinned down after repeated attempts to communicate that he couldn’t breathe. This follows incidents of other police killings such as Eric Garner, Elijah McClain.

    Protests occur around the world against police violence and racism.

    Timeline and lists of protests

  • Historical
    Sep 4, 2020
    Attacks on Critical Race Theory are renewed

    President Trump sends a memo to federal agencies prohibiting racial equity trainings. President Trump denounced critical race theory and announced the formation of the 1776 Commission to promote "patriotic education" in a speech on September 17, 2020. On September 22, 2020, the president issues an Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. Many bills since were introduced to ban education utilizing critical race theory.

  • Race Forward
    Silhouette of person with curly hair in black on sea green background. A ripped strip of paper with hashtag #bannedwords followed by words in expressive writing: Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, Systemic Racism, White Privilege, Unconscious Bias.
    Nov 7, 2020

    In response to increased attacks on Critical Race Theory, Race Forward releases a set of tools to counter attacks on critical race theory.