- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Wayne State University has received a $1.3 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support a new effort to study structural racism in Detroit and make recommendations for change.

The funding announced this week will help the Detroit school launch the Detroit Equity Action Lab. Under the program, 60 leaders of nonprofits that work in the areas of racial equity, health care, education, food security, safety and housing plan to participate.

“There is great need for a resource of this nature in our city,” Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said in a statement.

Detroit is more than 80 percent black. The city and its mostly white suburbs have had a long history of racial strife. Structural racism, or institutional racism, can refer to ways that minorities may be treated differently by government and other institutions.

The project will begin this summer and is funded for three years. It’s at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at the Wayne State University Law School. Detroit Equity Action Lab will be led by Peter Hammer, director of the Damon J. Keith Center.

Those involved will work to identify and change long-standing problems as well as create policy recommendations and improve awareness. It’s part of the work of the center, founded in 2011, to promote education about civil rights and provide resources for research and community outreach.

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