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Our work is now all the more important


Like so many other Americans, we here at CSEM are rising to the challenges raised by the Corona virus pandemic. For us, that means using an extended spring break to prepare virtual classes when students return March 23, as is the case across the University of North Carolina system.

Some of our research may be slowed, but it will never be stopped. We have too much momentum going, and the work is too important to lapse. In fact, this pandemic, which touches on the lack of access to health care for Americans of low resources, underscores the significance of our efforts.

We are part of a local and national movement to confront poverty. Locally, our research into the local bus system has helped drive a dialogue on ways to improve transportation. We’ve joined with The Winston-Salem Foundation, Forsyth Technical Community College and Wake Forest University in that dialogue and work.

Nationally, we have participated in the poverty dialogue through our inclusion in the documentary Rigged, soon to be released, which explores higher education initiatives that tackle problems beyond school walls. We, along with Wake Forest University’s Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, are participating in a project on property rights initiated by New America, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that promotes research nationwide policymakers can use in confronting problems. We are advising the clinic on the research, and have also done our own research into local eviction rates, finding that predominantly Hispanic Census tracts in Forsyth County experienced significantly higher evictions than predominantly white and African-American Census tracts during the peak of the Great Recession.

We are asking why that is true, just as we do in our other work. We put our findings before the public.

From the time of our inception almost three years ago, we have concentrated on local research to benefit our neighbors in East Winston, and encouraged business development here.

With our partners, we will continue to persevere in our work. It has never been more important.