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  • IRPE Our Team Hero
  • In speaking about the mission of the Institute, Darrick Hamilton, the Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, and the founding director of The Institute on Race and Political Economy at The New School noted, "Throughout human history, and in plain sight, racism, sexism, and 'other isms' are strategically used to consolidate economic and political power for some at the expense of others. As a scholar, I have a moral responsibility to contest empirically unsubstantiated rhetoric that situates inequality in ignorance, so-called grit, and personal responsibility of insinuated 'defective people' and instead to craft innovative, informed, and bold scholarly work that empowers people with necessary resources and structures for economic security, dignity, and 'authentic' agency."

    To learn more about the Institute, contact: IRPE@NewSchool.edu

  • Internships

    Ebonee Ayala

    Operations Manager

    Ebonee Ayala

    Ebonee Ayala is the operations manager at the Institute on Race and Political Economy. She is an experienced problem solver with operations experience in healthcare, nonprofits, city government, and education. 

    Internships

    Suparna Bhaskaran

    Co-Principal Investigator and Project Manager, The Color of Wealth in Chicago; Non-resident Fellow

    Suparna Bhaskaran

    Suparna Bhaskaran is a non-resident fellow at the Institute on Race and Political Economy at The New School, the project manager and a co-principal Investigator of the Color of Wealth in Chicago Study, and an ethnographer working on intersectional and transdisciplinary approaches to wealth.

    Suparna has taught gender and sexuality studies at Antioch College and Agnes Scott College and she is currently teaching at the Ohio State University. She was a policy researcher with projects related to the Detroit water crisis in the aftermath of municipal bankruptcy and in the Just Public Finance Program at the Othering and Belonging Institute (University of California, Berkeley). She also served as a health policy researcher in Ohio Governor Strickland’s administration. Suparna organizes with community groups in the Midwest that work on immigrant and refugee rights, popular education, and transnational and multi-issue politics. 

    Suparna's publications include “Flattening the Curve or Flattening Life?  Everyday Life is a Constant Struggle; COVID-19 Just Makes It Worse,” Economic and Political Weekly (2021); “Remembering Latina Feminist Philosopher Maria Lugones,” Sinister Wisdom (forthcoming, 2021); Public Health & Wealth in Post-Bankruptcy Detroit (2017); Pinklining: How Wall Street’s Predatory Products Pillage Women’s Wealth, Opportunities, and Futures (2016); and Made in India: Decolonization, Queer Sexualities, Transnational Projects (2004). Suparna has a BA in Sociology and a PhD in Anthropology.

    Internships

    Ofronama Biu

    Research Assistant

    Ofronama Biu

    Ofronama Biu is a research assistant at the Institute on Race and Political Economy. She recently received a PhD in Public and Urban Policy from the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment at The New School. Ofronama’s research focuses on racial and gender stratification and labor market outcomes. She is also a research manager for worker education and workforce development at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies.

    Internships

    Grieve Chelwa

    Inaugural Post-Doctoral Fellow, Inclusive Economic Rights

    Dr. Grieve Chelwa

    Grieve Chelwa is the Inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute on Race and Political Economy at The New School, where he leads the institute's work on inclusive economic rights. Before joining the New School, Grieve was a senior lecturer (assistant professor) in economics at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business and before that was the Inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for African Studies at Harvard University. He was previously a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand. Grieve holds a BA in Economics from the University of Zambia and advanced degrees in economics, including a PhD, from the University of Cape Town. Before taking up a career in academia, Grieve was a banker with Citi and completed postings in Congo (DR), Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

    Internships

    Avi Green

    Director of Strategy

    Avi Green

    For 25 years, Avi Green has worked to build organizations, support rising leaders, strengthen democracy, and advance justice. He joined the Institute on Race and Political Economy at The New School as the director of Strategy in early 2021.

    Before joining the institute’s team, Avi served the Scholars Strategy Network as executive director. He helped build a small program dedicated to increasing the use of research to improve public policy and strengthen democracy into a national organization of more than 1,500 member researchers and 36 chapters with a staff of 12 and a budget of more than $3 million. As an editor, press strategist, and podcaster, he helped professors communicate in venues ranging from the New York Times to The Daily Show. As an advisor and trainer, Avi helped researchers build collaborations with policymakers, advocates, and community leaders in dozens of states.

    As executive director of MassVOTE, a Massachusetts organization that works to reduce racial disparities in voting and civic engagement, Avi helped reduce the racial turnout gap. He also helped build new programs, including the Initiative for Diversity in Civic Leadership. Avi helped support rising leaders, including Ayanna Pressley, now a member of Congress; Sonia Chang-Diaz, now a state senator; and Kim Janey, who recently became the first female and first Black mayor of Boston. In 2011’s redistricting process, Avi helped lead a nonpartisan coalition that resulted in a bipartisan vote for new district maps that doubled the number of majority-minority districts in Massachusetts. He also partnered with Common Cause Massachusetts to help lead the drive behind the Massachusetts Elections Modernization Act of 2014. In addition, he conducted the first election audit in Massachusetts history. For his work Avi was awarded the Kivie Kaplan Humanitarian Award by the Boston Branch of the NAACP.  He also served as the chair of Boston’s Elections Advisory Committee and rewrote the city’s poll worker training manual.

    Avi has served on the Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission and the Massachusetts Local Elections District Review Commission. He volunteers on many nonprofit advisory and governance boards, including Next Generation Politics. Avi also observed elections in Northern Ireland and played a small role in the presidential recount in Florida in 2000.

    Internships

    Darrick Hamilton

    Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, and founding Director

    Darrick Hamilton

    Darrick Hamilton is a university professor, Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, and founding director of the Institute on Race and Political Economy at The New School. Darrick examines social stratification and political economy in order to move policy and practice in fundamentally new directions that promote economic inclusion, social equity, and civic engagement. 

    Considered one of the nation’s foremost public intellectuals, Darrick has been profiled in the New York Times, Mother Jones, and the Wall Street Journal. In 2017, he was featured in Politico's50 Ideas Shaping American Politics and the People Behind Them issue. In 2020, Darrick was named a Freedom Scholar by the Marguerite Casey Foundation and the Group Health Foundation. 

    Darrick has been involved in crafting policy proposals that have garnered media attention and inspired legislative proposals at the federal, state, and local levels, including baby bonds, guaranteed income, and a federal job guarantee. In 2020, Darrick served as a member of the economic committee of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force. He has testified before several Senate and House committees, including the Joint Economic Committee and the Senate Banking Committee.  

    Darrick was born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and received a PhD in Economics from the University of North Carolina.

    Internships

    Melanie Hart

    JD, Senior Legal and Policy Advisor; Senior Vice President for Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice and Chief Diversity Officer

    Melanie Hart

     

    As senior vice president for Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice and chief diversity officer, Melanie Hart focuses on promoting the strategies, values, and practices of equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice across The New School. Melanie brings to this work a strong connection to the university and extensive experience in social justice-based institutional management and change. Melanie is an alum of the university’s MA program in Public and Urban Policy at the Milano School, where she is presently completing her PhD. She received her JD from the University of Virginia School of Law and practiced law as a corporate and securities attorney before returning to public service in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors and with city agencies. Most recently, she served as the deputy commissioner for Workforce Development at the New York City Department of Small Business Services. Before that, she was the executive vice president of Community Programs and Development at the New York City Housing Authority.

    Internships

    Michelle Materre

    Director of Creative Strategies

    Michelle Materre

    Michelle Materre has served as an associate professor of media studies at The New School for 20 years and is also currently the director of the Media Management graduate program. Her professional background includes decades as a film producer, writer, arts administrator, distribution and marketing specialist, an award-winning programmer, consultant to filmmakers and organizations, and scholar of Caribbean films. In 1992, Michelle co-founded KJM3 Entertainment Group, which directly managed the distribution of films by filmmakers of African descent, including Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash and L’Homme Sur Les Quais by Raoul Peck. She curates the critically acclaimed film series Creatively Speaking, now in its 25th year. 

    Internships

    Bre Pressey

    Program Manager

    Bre Pressey

    Bre Pressey is the program manager for the Institute on Race and Political Economy at The New School. She has nearly two decades of experience in nonprofit, education, and social impact work. Before joining The New School, Bre founded and served as the executive director of The Dr. Doretha Pressey Southern Scholars Initiative, Inc., a scholarship and college completion program developed to honor the legacy of her late mother by promoting access, equity, and success for students of color from low-income communities in the rural South. Bre began her career at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where she first served as a public programs coordinator and was quickly promoted to manager of Special Events. She also served as a cultural events programming lead for Adelphi University’s Center for African Black & Caribbean Studies. 

    Bre received her BA in Psychology from Columbia University and her MA in Africana Studies from NYU. She also holds a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate from Northwestern University.

    Internships

    Henry A J Ramos

    Senior Fellow

    Henry A J Ramos

    Henry A.J. Ramos is the Senior Fellow at The Institute on Race and Political Economy at The New School. Ramos served as the former chief executive officer of the Oakland, CA-based Insight Center for Community Economic Development, a leading research, technical assistance, and policy advocacy group focused on expanding economic opportunity for disadvantaged populations across the U.S. He is also a past author, senior editor and project consultant at Arte Público Press, based at the University of Houston. His published works there include, Democracy & The Next American Economy: Where Prosperity Meets Justice (with a Foreword by ACLU National Director Anthony D. Romero)(2019);The History of Barrios Unidos: Healing Community Violence (a volume including contributions from Harry Belafonte, Dolores Huerta, and the late Tom Hayden)(2007); and Nuevos Senderos: Reflections on Hispanics and Philanthropy(1999). Over the years, he has worked on the program staffs of the Ford Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Levi Strauss Foundation; and he has served as a leading member of various governing and advisory boards, including those of the Nonprofit Finance Fund (of which he is currently the Board Chair), the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy (of which he is the Founding Editor), the Women’s Foundation of California, PartnersGlobal, the Romare Bearden Foundation, Hispanics in Philanthropy, and Advancing Justice for Asian Americans. Ramos received a BA in Political Economy from the University of California at Berkeley, an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a JD from UC Berkeley Law School.

  • ADDITIONAL IRPE TEAM MEMBERS: 

    Christopher Famighetti, Research Assistant

    Ana Patricia Muñoz, Senior Advisor; Co-Principal Investigator, The Color of Wealth in Chicago; Executive Director of Grupo FARO, Ecuador



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