Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) is a left-of-center social justice advocacy group that advocates for centering racial identity politics in policy activism. In 2017, the group merged with the left-of-center group Race Forward, which has a similar mission focused on race and identity, though both groups still submit separate tax filings.
Founding and History
The Center for Social Inclusion was founded in 2002 by attorney Maya Wiley and political scientist Jocelyn Sargent. Seed money was provided by George Soros’s Open Society Institute through the Tides Center. The organization’s goal is to promote racial identity as the main lens of social analysis and it trains both foundations and communities on how to engage in “structural race analysis.” 1
In 2017, CSI merged its operations with the racial-policy advocacy organization Race Forward. While both organizations share office space and the CSI website forwards to the Race Forward website, CSI exists as subsidiary of Race Forward and still submits its own tax filings. 2
In fiscal year 2019, the Center for Social inclusion generated $294,656 in revenue, of which $3,696 was derived from contributions and grants, and $272,439 was derived from program service revenue. The organization had $905,994 in expenses and ended the year with a deficit of $811,338. CSI ended the year with $375,753 in net assets. 3
When it existed as a stand-alone organization, the Center for Social Inclusion had four main activity areas.
Policy and Research
CSI’s policy research applied “structural racism” analysis to existing policy models. The organization worked in areas such as energy policy, access to food, broadband, and transportation. CSI also opposed voter identification laws. 4 5
Talking About Race
CSI advocated for activists to explicitly talk about race to advance their agendas and promote left-of-center fiscal issues. The organization also provided a “talking about race” toolkit for activists. 6 7
CSI would host workshops, trainings, and host fellowship programs geared towards training left-progressive activists to be more effective and networked. 8
CSI’s Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) worked with local governments and nonprofit organizations to encourage government officials to factor in identity politics and race into decision making. 9
GARE was continued by Race Forward following the groups’ merger. The current advisory board for the project is made up of activists and officials from left-of-center and liberal organizations, labor unions, and American universities. Notably, members of the GARE advisory board work for the Service Employees International Union, one of the largest labor unions in the United States; PolicyLink, a radical-left organization pushing racial identity politics; and Center for Community Change, which advocates for an array of left-of-center causes. 10
Leadership and Staff
Maya Wiley is the founder and former president of the Center for Social Inclusion. As a civil rights attorney she had previously worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP, was a professor at the New School, and a legal analyst on MSNBC and NBC News. 11 Wiley was launched into national prominence when she ran to be the mayor of New York City in the 2021 Democratic primary. Wiley was considered a left-wing candidate in the race and received the endorsement of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). She came in third place in the ranked-choice voting system, and eventually lost to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (D), a former police officer who opposed defunding the police. Wiley had explicitly stated that she desired to cut $1 billion from the New York City Police Department were she to become mayor. 12 13
Glenn Harris is the current executive director of both the Center for Social Inclusion and Race Forward. He was the executive director of CSI since 2014. He has a long history of working in identity-politics activism and is the publisher of Race Forward’s publication Colorlines. 14
- “Our History” Centerforsocialinclusion.org. Archived from the original July 3, 2017. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20170703045044/http://www.centerforsocialinclusion.org/about/our-history/.
- Race Forward. “Race Forward and Center for Social Inclusion Uniting As One Organization,” June 28, 2017. https://www.raceforward.org/press/releases/race-forward-and-center-social-inclusion-uniting-one-organization.
- Center for Social inclusion, IRS (Form 990), 2019, Part I
- “Policy & Research | Center for Social Inclusion.” Centerforsocialinclusion.org. Archived from the original July 4, 2017. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20170704125131/http://www.centerforsocialinclusion.org/our-work/our-four-strategies/policy-and-research/.
- “CITIZENS DENIED.” Center for Social Inclusion. October 5, 2012. Archived from the original August 8, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20200805184940/https://www.centerforsocialinclusion.org/publication/citizens-denied/.
- “Talking About Race | Center for Social Inclusion.” Archived from the original July 4, 2017. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20170704125235/http://www.centerforsocialinclusion.org/our-work/our-four-strategies/talking-about-race/.
- “Communications Testing.” Center for Social Inclusion. Archived from the original July 5, 2017. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20170705174217/http://www.centerforsocialinclusion.org/our-work/our-programs/communications-testing/.
- “Capacity Building.” Center for Social Inclusion. Archived from the Orioginal July 3 2017. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20170703050827/http://www.centerforsocialinclusion.org/our-work/our-four-strategies/capacity-building/.
- “Institutional Change.” Center for Social Inclusion. Archived from the Original July 5 2017. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20170705030948/http://www.centerforsocialinclusion.org/our-work/our-four-strategies/institutional-change/.
- “Advisory Group.” GARE. Accessed June 16, 2020. https://www.racialequityalliance.org/about/who-we-are/advisory-group/.
- “Maya Wiley – Higher Heights for America PAC.” Higher Heights For America PAC. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.higherheightsforamericapac.org/candidate/maya-wiley/.
- Zaveri, Mihir. “Candidates Divided on ‘Defund the Police’ Issue as Shooting and Homicides Rise in New York City.” New York Times. May 13, 2021. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/13/nyregion/defund-police-nypd-maya-wiley-dianne-morales.html.
- “New York Primary Election Results.” New York Times. July 13, 2021. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/06/22/us/elections/results-nyc-mayor-primary.html.
- Race Forward. “Glenn Harris.” Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.raceforward.org/about/staff/glenn-harris.