As the Luskin Center for History and Policy (LCHP) enters its fourth year, we stand at an exciting moment in our history—but at a perilous moment in our country’s history. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we go about our business at UCLA and in the world at large. The movement for racial justice following the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks has highlighted the urgency of rectifying deep structural inequities in American society. And the current political environment has never before been as toxic or combustible as in recent memory.
We do not have the luxury of observing from the sidelines. Our mission at UCLA is to serve the public. And our mission at the Luskin Center is to plumb the depths of the past to orient, guide, and warn us as we chart a forward course. Indeed, we study change in the past to make change in the future. In doing so, we are modeling a new form of research that skillfully links past and present, history and policy.
Each of us has a role to play in the repair of our society. Over the past year and into the fall, LCHP initiated research projects that leveraged textured study of the past to address key issues of the day. These projects, which counted faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students as team members, included: