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“It’s important … to know the function, the very serious function of racism, which is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining over and over again your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”
Toni Morrison, address at Portland State University, 1975.
collage of racial equity programs
Professor Perry in conversation with Questlove

FOCUS Programs

Lecture Recap: Energy Justice and Sustainability
Feb. 11, 2024

Experts at a recent panel discussion said the environmental impact on communities, diversity in hiring and other energy justice considerations must be considered in the development of fusion energy and sustainable construction.

That was the conclusion of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Princeton University speakers participating in a Jan. 24 panel discussion titled “Energy Justice and Sustainability” at Princeton University. The panel focused on the development of fusion energy as a clean and carbon-free way to generate electricity and on ways to make the concrete industry more sustainable.

The event was part of the FOCUS speaker series, an interdisciplinary initiative highlighting anti-racism scholarship. It was sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and PPPL.

Speakers included Arturo Dominguez, head of science education at PPPL; Claire White, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment; and Andrew Zwicker, head of strategic relationships at PPPL.

Lecture Recap: Judge Zahid Quraishi in conversation with Udi Ofer
April 10, 2023

The newest installment of the FOCUS speaker series featured a conversation between Judge Zahid Nisar Quraishi and Professor Udi Ofer of the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA). The event was hosted by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) in collaboration with SPIA and took place in Arthur Lewis Auditorium, Robertson Hall, at 4:30 pm on Thursday, March 30, 2023.

Zahid Nisar Quraishi is a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and a former United States magistrate judge of the same court. Upon being nominated by President Joe Biden and receiving his judicial commission in 2021, he became the first Muslim-American to serve on a federal district court as an Article III judge. Before becoming a judge, he previously served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's office, and as a judge advocate in the US Army. Quraishi was an attorney at Riker Danzig LLP and was a partner at the firm from 2016–2019. Quraishi also taught courses on trial presentation at Rutgers Law School and Seton Hall Law School.

Lecture Recap: "How We Grow the World We Want"
March 7, 2023

On Friday, Feb 24, 2023, ODUS hosted the first FOCUS speaker event of the academic year featuring writer, professor and speaker Dr. Chris Gilliard, in conversation with Professor Ruha Benjamin of the African American Studies Department.  The program was co-sponsored by Campus Conversations on Identities. As students, faculty, and other members of the Princeton community filed into the iconic Chancellor Green Rotunda, rows of folding chairs quickly became full and the audience filled with anticipation.

Dr. Chris Gilliard is a Just Tech Fellow at the Social Science Research Council whose scholarship concentrates on digital privacy, surveillance, and the intersections of race, class, and technology. He advocates for critical and equity-focused approaches to tech in education and was recently profiled in the Washington Post. His works have been featured in  The Chronicle of Higher Ed, EDUCAUSE Review, Vice, Real Life Magazine, Wired, and The Atlantic

Professor Benjamin specializes in the interdisciplinary study of science, medicine, and technology; race-ethnicity and gender; knowledge and power. She is the founding director of the Ida B. Wells JUST Data Lab and author of three books, Winner of the Stowe Prize, Viral Justice (2022), Race After Technology (2019), and People’s Science (2013), and editor of Captivating Technology (2019).