Center for Critical Race Studies (CCRS) at University of Houston-Downtown creates an opportunity to build knowledge by bringing together the multiple identities and cultures that form our student body. Strong and effective race studies centers are essential components of any comprehensive university, and that is especially true for UHD, a Hispanic-Serving and Minority-Serving Institution that reflects the diverse population of the city at large. According to a 2012 report from the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University that made national headlines, “as of 2010, Houston and the metropolitan area is the most racially/ethnically diverse large metropolitan area in the nation (“Houston Region Grows More Racially/Ethnically Diverse with Small Declines in Segregation,” p. 3).” At the same time, the report finds that Houston is a city that is “substantially more segregated than other areas of the region” (3). Rooted in interdisciplinary scholarship and social practices that attend to race, difference, culture, and power, the Center expands and makes a unique contribution to foundational work begun at UCLA School of Law’s Critical Race Studies Center. Housed in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, UHD’s CCRS rounds out each student’s educational experience and prepares each to become a vital participant in Houston’s social and economic future and the global community at large.
UHD’s CCRS produces knowledge to transform lives and work towards social justice. The Center serves students, the institution, and the community through teaching, research, the facilitation of public discourse, and the cultivation of social empowerment. It focuses on the interdisciplinary, academic study of how different forms of racism contribute to, develop, and maintain cultural, social, institutional, legal, and governmental power structures and the ways in which marginalization affects members of various and often intersecting populations. Our ultimate mission is to produce scholars/citizens who are equipped to critically, actively and effectively engage the issues confronting a technologically changing, postcolonial, capitalist world.