I’ve said before that you cannot approach this work of advancing racial equity like a diet. It requires a lifestyle change. It is also true, though, that we cannot continue to speak about race, our history, and systemic racism to the same audiences. We know we must meet people where they are.

As part of our narrative change work, we have to use various forms of storytelling to move people along in their own journeys on race. Sometimes that’s toward greater acceptance. Sometimes that’s so our neighbors understand our history a little better. Sometimes it’s to provoke emotion or new thoughts.

Over the past month, we’ve turned to comedy. Yes, comedy.

You see, comedy is a superpower, and racism is a crisis.

What happens when we invite comedians to interrogate  taboos, make uncomfortable truths funny, and invite people to laugh and think at the same time? We decided to find out.

In a new out-of-the-box project called #RacismIsNoJoke, EPU teamed up with the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI)for a Comedy ThinkTank, a CMSI co-creation workshop initiative that paired professional comedians and some of our partners from across the South to create entertaining comedy to spark public engagement on social issues.

The result is a series of eight social media videos in which southern comedians–Georgia native Corey Ryan Forrester and Mississippi native Jay Jurden–explore and unpack complex issues, systemic racism, and what it means to be southern.

Check out the videos here.

We hope this new project helps move new people toward our work on racial equity. Let us know your thoughts at info@unumfund.org.

Mitch Landrieu

Founder & President, E Pluribus Unum

E Pluribus Unum Launches First Cohort of Policy Scholars to Address Systemic Racism

We believe that the solutions to our problems as a nation will come from and by the South. If we don’t utilize the intellectual capital the bright minds of today afford the South, we risk losing it and missing opportunities to create the South as we should have in the first place. That’s why we’re tapping southern scholars to address the issues we face in the South in our new Policy Scholars initiative. Through this initiative, we seek to engage with researchers across the South to advance public policy by providing independent, in-depth, and actionable policy recommendations that advance racial equity and address systemic racism in America.

Our inaugural cohort of Policy Scholars hails from several states across the South, all with backgrounds at state institutions and HBCUs.

Meet our Policy Scholars here.

E Pluribus Unum aims to help illuminate the policy challenges policymakers are facing while dealing with the compounded challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus of this cohort will be on actions at the state and local levels.

In Case You Missed It

Listening Loudly, A Conversation with Author and Journalist Brooke Baldwin

At EPU, we know there is a great need to celebrate what we have in common in our communities, exploring what makes us unique, and asking the tough questions about the racial divisions that exist just below the surface no matter where we live. When we embrace our shared beliefs, we see and respect each other differently; we act differently; and we can all thrive equitably.

That’s why we’re engaging in Instagram Live conversations in our new series, Listening Loudly. Throughout the series, our founder Mitch Landrieu participates in conversations of varying topics with guests who share their personal stories and life experiences through the lens of race. Our guests come from all walks of life: a trendsetting influencer on Instagram, an athlete, a small-town business owner, or an international celebrity with southern roots. Each guest will share their influences and challenges, and will talk about issues like race, class, privilege, and power.

In our second conversation in the Listening Loudly series, our founder Mitch Landrieu had a conversation with journalist and author Brooke Baldwin about the South, her perspective on race and racism, and the unique role women play in dismantling the systems of racism in our country today.

Watch the conversation here.

Conversations for an Equitable South – Bold Corporate Leadership

In the wake of the death of George Floyd in 2020, the country was undergoing its latest racial reckoning. Corporations posted pledges affirming that Black Lives Matter and made statements about racial justice. Some went further, adding staff focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, or taking a broader look at ways to advance racial equity from within. Since then, the public has been calling for corporations, companies, and businesses to step forward meaningfully in the fight for racial equity and justice.

That’s why we hosted an armchair discussion on Bold Corporate Leadership featuring EPU Founder and President Mitch Landrieu, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bank of America Brian Moynihan, and the President of NASCAR Steve Phelps. The conversation focused on the actions that businesses have taken on issues of race and equity.

Watch the conversation here.