Black Veterans Project advances data-driven research and digital scholarship to further public education on inequities facing Black veterans across generations of service.
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Our nation's military has a shameful legacy of racial discrimination and inequality. Decades of racial bias in recruitment and career advancement alongside entrenched racism within the military justice system has impeded generations of Black veterans from reaping the full advantages of military service. Since World War II, long-standing racial disparities in the distribution of veterans' healthcare, housing and education benefits have exacerbated economic inequality and the Black racial wealth gap.
While Black Americans continue to serve at disproportionately higher rates, discrimination and bias has a demonstrable effect on nearly every facet of military life. Black troops remain over-represented in service-oriented roles, have a diminutive presence in the officer corps and remain overwhelmingly absent from elite training schools. Moreover, stark racial disparities relating to veterans' homelessness, joblessness and public health abound.
Since 2020, BVP has partnered with Yale Law School's Veterans Legal Services Clinic to compel the Department of Veterans Affairs to release two-decades of data revealing systemic and significant disparities in the allocation of disability benefits. This work informed congressional action supporting the passage of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on the allocation of veterans benefits. Publication is expected in 2023.
In 2022, Black Veterans Project began collaboration with the African American Redress Network, a reparations research consortium between Columbia University's School of International & Public Affairs and the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University School of Law. This work is aimed at bolstering a framework to advance reparations for Black veterans.
To date, BVP's research has informed a host of federal policies such as the Military Justice Improvement Act, the Honoring our Pact Act, the Deborah Sampson Act and has been critical to advancing support for the advancement of the Sgt. Isaac Woodard, Jr. and Sgt. Joseph H. Maddox GI Bill Restoration Act.