Explore some of the many Harvard Kennedy School initiatives that make our campus more welcoming, promote faculty insights on systemic inequities, and enhance diversity and inclusion. Learn more about Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism at HKS.  

Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School: A Brief Overview 

Curious about what Harvard Kennedy School is doing on race and public policy? Read an overview of our research and outreach; teaching and learning, in the classroom and in the field; support for emerging leaders through financial aid; and internal efforts to create a culture of anti-racism. Highlights include hiring new faculty members who study aspects of race and policy, increasing the number of courses we offer on these topics, providing fellowships for students to serve in under-resourced communities of color, building a more welcoming internal community, and more. Many of these activities are also described on our Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism webpages

Khalil Muhammad teaching in a classroom.
Khalil Muhammad, Ford Foundation Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy, teaching in a classroom.

HKS Diversity Committee DivCo Spring 2023 Storytelling Slam 

In February, the HKS Diversity Committee (DivCo) hosted its second “Humans of HKS” Storytelling Slam for the HKS community. Moderated by Korde Inniss MPA 2023 and Elisha Gechter, senior program manager for the Wexner Israel Fellowship and Wexner Israel Executive Leadership Program, the event brought together staff, students, and faculty to share and connect with one another around the topic of identity. If you were unable to attend, look out for DivCo’s next storytelling slam event in the coming semesters. Visit KNet for more information on DivCo and their work around diversity, inclusion, and antiracism at HKS. 

A collage of HKS community members at the Storytelling Slam.

The Disability Justice Caucus  

Learn about the student-run Disability Justice Caucus. 

DJC Mission statement: 

“The DJC centers students with visible and invisible disabilities by advocating for an inclusive HKS, free of ableism. The DJC subscribes to the principles of disability activists before us, namely 'nothing about us without us' and therefore places the agency of its members at the core of its organizing. The DJC is anti-ableist and accepts intersectional, non-hierarchical practice as core to the furtherance of anti-ableist objectives.”  

This past year the DJC organized a number of events, including:  

  • April 13, 2022: Disability Open House, co-hosted with HKS faculty member Zoe Marks  
  • December 2, 2022: Launch of Disability@HKS Report   
  • January 26, 2023: Disability Accessibility Essentials, co-hosted with the Harvard Graduate Student Union and Digital Accessibility Services  
  • March 2, 2023: Meeting with the Kennedy School’s administrative leaders  
  • March 8, 2023: Coffee break and Q&A with students  
  • March 23, 2023: Disclosing Disability in the Workplace, co-hosted with Lime Connect  
  • March 29, 2023: Disability: The Critical but Absent Part of Public Policy, a JFK Jr. Forum event , co-organized with the Institute of Politics and the HKS Alumni Board
A two photo collage. Left image: Priscilla Mensah MPP 2023, chair of the Disability Justice Caucus, and Harvard College student Melissa Shang, president of the Harvard Undergraduate Disability Justice Club, introduce an IOP Forum titled “Disability: The Critical but Absent Part of Public Policy” on March 29, 2023. Right image: Eleni Neyland MPP 2023 and steward for the Harvard Graduate Student Union; Emma Stone MPP 2024 and member of the Disability Justice Caucus; Kyle Shachmut, director of Harvard Digital Accessibility Services (DAS); and John Williams, digital accessibility consultant for DAS, introduce the Digital Accessibility Essentials training on January 26, 2023. The workshop was attended by approximately fifty course assistants and disability justice allies.

New this year is the first affinity celebration honoring graduates with disabilities during Commencement Week.  

In Spring 2022, the DJC surveyed the Kennedy School community on issues related to disability and accessibility at the Kennedy School. A total of 379 people responded, including 53 who identified as disabled. Drawing on the survey findings, the DJC identified several recommendations for the School, including: level-setting faculty training, hiring and retaining disabled faculty, orientation leader and CA training, and addressing built environment concerns. The full report can be found here with an accessible version here.  

Hear from DCJ members in their own words:  

“A highlight of my time at HKS has been working with the Disability Justice Caucus to raise awareness about how the institution can better serve students with disabilities and better prepare future policymakers to engage with the disability community. My friends in the DJC are passionate and brilliant advocates, who inspire me to keep fighting for an equitable world for all people with disabilities.”

Rebecca Bobrow
MPP Candidate 2023  

“The Disability Justice Caucus has taught me so much about advocacy and organizing, the visible and invisible ways that disability impacts students, and what it means to create a safe and supportive space. My hope is that the institution continues to work with this community, and that students like me leave HKS with the knowledge and tools to practice inclusion in our personal and professional lives.”

Jessica Tang
MPP Candidate 2023  

“Finding DJC at HKS was like discovering a hidden treasure trove, where I no longer felt alone in my struggles as a deaf person or a person with disabilities. Together, we form a community of like-minded individuals, sharing our experiences and working towards a common goal of creating a more inclusive and equitable world. At DJC, I have found a place where I belong, where I am valued, and where I am empowered to keep fighting for change. Through our collective efforts, we are making Harvard a better place for members with disabilities, and paving the way for change in the world beyond.

Sheila Xu
MPP Candidate 2024  

“Most disabilities and most ableist structures are invisible. Meanwhile, the DJC has made three things quite visible for me during my short time at HKS: the persistence of barriers, the solace of community, and the importance of incremental progress against those barriers, with our community.”

Emma Stone
MPP Candidate 2024  


HKS and Harvard disability and accessibility resources:  

Digital accessibility resources:  

Banner art: Voice, 2018–2019 by Favianna Rodriguez, part of the Art at HKS program