The Roots of Structural Racism: Residential Segregation in the US

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Thursday, June 22, 2021

9:00 – 12:00 am PDT / 11:00 am – 2:00 pm CDT / 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT 


Join us Tuesday, June 22, 9am-12pm PDT, for a half-day forum with fair housing advocates and leading race and housing scholars from across the United States for the unveiling of “The Roots of Structural Racism,” a groundbreaking new project from the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley which details just how widespread and harmful racial residential segregation remains today, why it matters, who it impacts, and what can be done to reverse this dangerous trend and promote integration. 

More than half a century has passed since the enactment of the 1968 Fair Housing Act which officially outlawed discrimination in housing, a key victory of the Civil Rights Movement. But new research set to be released during this event shows that in far too many cities, segregation has in fact increased, with deeply consequential impacts in terms of people’s physical and mental health, access to well-performing schools, job opportunities, exposure to violent police, and overall life outcomes.


  • john a. powell, director of OBI 
  • Stephen Medendian,assistant director of OBI 
  • Samir Gambhir, director of OBI’s Equity Metrics program at OBI, and co-author of The Roots of Structural Racism project
  • Demetria McCain, Fair housing advocate and president of the Inclusive Communities Project
  • Richard Rothstein, author of the best-seller The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
  • Lisa Rice, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance
  • Margery Turner, Fellow at the Urban Institute
  • Ajmel Quereshi, NAACP Legal Defense Fund


john a. powell is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, structural racism, housing, poverty, and democracy. john is the Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, a research institute that brings together scholars, community advocates, communicators, and policymakers to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society and to create transformative change toward a more equitable world. 

Stephen Menedian is the Assistant Director and Director of Research at the Othering & Belonging Institute, and he oversees many of the Institute’s research initiatives and ongoing projects. In particular, Stephen leads the Inclusiveness Index initiative, an assessment of global inclusivity, fair housing policy and opportunity mapping projects with the state of California, and a recent investigation on the extent and harmful effects of racial residential segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Samir Gambhir works as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) researcher and manager of Opportunity Mapping program at the Othering & Belonging Institute. He has more than 9 years of experience in the field of mapping, spatial analysis, and web-GIS. He has research experience in the areas of social justice, racial equity, planning, health, and business, with a focus on human geography.

Demetria Mccain is the fair housing advocate and president of the Inclusive Communities Project, an experienced Executive Director/President with a demonstrated history of working in the fair housing and public policy space while imparting knowledge to collegiates as an Adjunct Instructor. Skilled in Nonprofit Management, Community Engagement, Community Outreach, Public Speaking, and Public Policy. 

Richard Rothstein is a Senior Fellow at the Othering & Belonging Institute, a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute where he works on policy issues regarding education and race, and a senior fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He is also the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America. Rothstein was a senior fellow at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at Berkeley’s law school until that institute closed at the end of 2015.

Lisa Rice, is the President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Lisa Rice leads efforts by NFHA and its partners to advance fair housing principles and to preserve and broaden fair housing protections, expanding equal housing opportunities for millions of Americans. 

Margery Turner is an Institute fellow at the Urban Institute, focusing on new research and policy programs. She previously served 10 years as Urban’s senior vice president for program planning and management and 11 years as director of the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center. A nationally recognized expert on urban policy and neighborhood issues, Turner has analyzed issues of residential location, racial and ethnic discrimination and its contribution to neighborhood segregation and inequality, and the role of housing policies in promoting residential mobility and location choice. Among her recent publications is the book Public Housing and the Legacy of Segregation.

Ajmel Quereshi serves as Senior Counsel at LDF. In that role, Ajmel maintains a diverse caseload spearheading LDF’s work in the areas of education and economic justice, among others. In 2019, Ajmel led LDF’s efforts in Bradford v. Maryland State Board of Education, a case on behalf of a class of school children in Baltimore who have been denied a constitutionally adequate education. In 2018, Ajmel served as lead counsel for LDF in multiple suits challenging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s suspension of housing regulations that would have made housing more accessible and affordable.


The Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley brings together researchers, organizers, stakeholders, communicators, and policymakers to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society in order to create transformative change. 


  • Race Forward
  • The Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)
  • California Housing Partnership
  • Urban Displacement Project
  • UC Berkeley’s Geography Dept
  • UC Berkeley’s African American Studies
  • Fair Housing Advocates of Northern CA
  • Inclusive Communities Project
  • National Housing Law Project
  • National Fair Housing Alliance
  • Terner Center
  • Anti-Discrimination Center