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Community Healing and Resistance Through Storytelling (C-HeARTS) Collaborative

C-HeARTS is a group of interdisciplinary scholars and community members exploring community healing among African Americans living in Urbana-Champaign. (

Policing in a Multiracial Society Project (PMSP)

Policing in a Multiracial Society Project (PMSP) was created in 2012 by interdisciplinary scholars who united around indignation toward racially motivated police misconduct and a commitment to creating a police force that explicitly honors the values of social justice, equity, and fairness. Our interdisciplinary focus (history, psychology, criminal justice) assembled voices from the

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Departments of Educational Psychology and African American Studies, The Police Training Institute located in Champaign, Illinois, and community members from Champaign-Urbana. PMSP offers several initiatives that target the need for improved police community relations. Our longest standing initiative is the cultural awareness education training for police recruits. Our hope is to promote cultural understanding and, in turn, for police to gain the trust of all citizens. Evaluation of the project is an ongoing process, in which police and civilian community members provide us feedback. The goal is to identify and implement evidence-based practices in developing cultural awareness, knowledge and skills among police recruits and veteran officers.


Youth Research Collaboration is a community-university partnership between the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club and faculty and students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The youth-focused participatory action project is designed to help adolescents (ages 13 – 19 years old) develop civic and community engagement skills. By civic and community engagement we mean taking an interest in social, political, and education issues in the communities in which youth live and finding ways to contribute to the health and development of those communities. Our current work focuses on gun violence in the community.

REC Belonging

Understanding Belongingness: A Mixed-Methods, Holistic Approach to Racial, Ethnic and Cultural Identity

As key components of social identity, race, ethnicity, and culture yield infinite combinations of unique experiences across every individual. Driving these experiences is an individual’s sense of belonging – a multi-dimensional construct that links the individual to the collective and the collective to the broader social environment. Though a universal need, belonging has yet to be studied within a racial-ethnic-cultural (REC) context. Prior racial, ethnic, and cultural identity studies have separately acknowledged the impact of belonging on identity development and psychosocial adjustment, but scholars are split as to how it should be measured and defined. In this project, we utilize a holistic approach of measurement, combining the overlapping aspects of race, culture, and ethnicity as a broader construct to best capture and understand an individual’s affinity for their community. Through targeted focus groups and online sampling, this study will implement a mixed-methods approach to assess and create the first scale to measure REC belonging. 

 Malkia wa Nguvu

Malkia wa Nguvu (strong women) is a cross-cultural collaboration between scholars at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Dar es Salaam. The aims of the project are to (a) educate people about the varied experiences of college women survivors of gender-based violence; (b) support survivors' voices; (c) promote change in terms of decreasing gender-based violence. In the  first phase of the project, we developed five digital stories highlighting women survivors' experiences. We are now investigating survivors' healing process and the role of activism in that process.