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CSU Hosts 4th Annual Project 400: Our Lived Experience Conference February 24 - 25

CSU Hosts 4th Annual “Project 400: Our Lived Experience” Conference February 24 - 25Project 400: Our Lived Experience Conference 2023 at Cleveland State University, titled “Our Bodies, Our Minds, Our Communities,” examines the many impacts of racism

Cleveland, OH (February 8, 2023)— The fourth annual “Project 400: Our Lived Experience” conference at Cleveland State University, titled Our Bodies, Our Minds, Our Communities: The Physical, Emotional, and Environmental Impacts of Racism takes place at the CSU Steinbacher Atrium, Levin College of Public Affairs and Education on Friday, February 24 and Saturday, February 25, 2023 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

The cornerstone of CSU’s Black History Month calendar, Our Bodies, Our Minds, Our Communities examines the impacts of racism—doing so through engaging dialogue with local and regional leaders.

“Project 400: Our Lived Experience” began in 2019 as a year-long observation of when the first Africans were brought to the British Colonies in North America in 1619. The two-day conferences have offered a deep dive into the many contemporary challenges African Americans face—highlighting the obstacles that have been overcome while identifying those that remain.

“From the very first conference, the intent was to be commemorative and catalytic—not just drawing attention to systemic racism that persists, but finding ways to identify and eradicate it,” said Ronnie Dunn, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Diversity Institute and CSU Associate Professor of Urban Studies.

The conference, along with the First Year Cleveland and YWCA of Greater Cleveland conference that followed, culminated with the City of Cleveland declaring racism a public health crisis. Cuyahoga County and many other surrounding municipalities followed suit. The subsequent commission identified five pillars to be addressed/evaluated to help remedy persistent structural racism. Those pillars are “housing, healthcare, criminal justice, education and employment economics,” said Dr. Dunn.

The substantive efforts of the conference have led to additional communitywide initiatives and a growing collection of community partners carrying the energy of Project 400 into the 2023 Conference.

After an Opening Plenary delivered by David R. Williams, Ph.D., preeminent scholar on health disparities, Friday’s sessions will focus on the physical and mental effects of racism. Saturday’s sessions will examine the impacts of environmental racism on health and follow an Opening Plenary by Councilwoman Claire McFarland, Esq., law firm partner and member of the City of Evanston, Illinois’ Reparations Committee.

“We are very pleased to have them both. Dr. Williams is a distinguished expert in his field, and Councilwoman Claire McFarland steers the first Reparations Committee of its kind in the country to tackle segregation and redlining,” said Dr. Dunn. “There will be a lot of valuable insight to take in at the conference and we are proud to present it.”

Registrants for this hybrid conference can choose either virtual or in-person attendance. Keynotes will present via live stream; panel discussions will take place in-person. Registration is open now through Friday, February 17th. The fee for the weekend is $10 per person, paid via credit card on CSU’s ShopNet website. A full Project 400 Conference agenda can be found at the Levin College of Public Affairs and Education website.

About Cleveland State University

Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for Engaged Learning. With 17,000-plus students, ten colleges and schools and more than 175 academic programs, CSU was again chosen as one of America’s best universities by U.S. News & World Report. Find more information at