BRP Fellows

BRP Fellowship Program

The Black Reparations Project Fellowship Program welcomes graduate students in public policy, law, business, social work, economics, social welfare, and other similar fields that are studying Black reparations related topics. This fellowship program opportunity connects students to formal clients working to advance Black reparations policy. Clients may include government offices and agencies, advocacy organizations, and/or elected officials. Students are given opportunities to engage with reparations movement leaders, study and analyze reparations policy, and contribute recommendations to clients.

Program Requirements:

  1. BRP Fellows will produce a final report for their client and to be published on the BRP website and shared with reparations movement leaders.
  2. In addition to client project work, BRP Fellows will help facilitate two BRP community listening sessions that take place during Fall semester and participate in the Annual Black Reparations Conference during Spring semester. The purpose of the community listening sessions is to gain insights to shape the conference in ways that will be meaningful to attendees.

For more information on how to apply for a BRP Fellowship, please email: blackreparationsproject@northeastern.edu

BRP Fellows 2022-24

Sommer Iqbal (she/her), BRP Fellow

Master of Public Policy, 2024

UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy

Project Title: Local Reparations for a Just World: Case Studies and Recommendations for Local Governments Exploring Reparations

  • Advanced Policy Analysis Paper
  • Slide Deck

Sommer is a policy analyst, researcher, and advocate committed to building a just, sustainable, and liberated economy for all. Her work centers on racial and economic justice, systems change, solidarity economics, and labor and immigrants’ rights. Striving to build community and leave spaces better than she found them, Sommer has been deeply involved in organizing and advocating for students of color on campus. At UC Berkeley, she serves as the advocacy liaison for Students of Color in Public Policy (SCiPP) as well as a union steward for UAW Local 2856, representing graduate student workers in labor grievances. Sommer has also worked as a graduate student researcher at the Othering and Belonging Institute and as the Racial Justice Editor for the Berkeley Public Policy Journal.

Before pursuing graduate studies, Sommer worked at the City of Dallas in various capacities related to legislative advocacy, equity, and inclusion. In her last position, she served as the interim Policy Manager of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, where she helped develop Dallas’s first Racial Equity Plan. Additionally, Sommer has completed internships with The Greenlining Institute, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders under the Obama Administration. She holds a B.S. in International Political Economy from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Sommer’s project, Local Reparations for a Just World: Case Studies and Recommendations for Local Governments Exploring Black Reparations, provides case studies on recently successful local government-funded reparations policies and initiatives. Drawing from these case studies, Sommer makes recommendations for local and state governments wanting to pass reparations policies for the descendants of enslaved people. This project was developed on behalf of her client sponsors, Liberation Ventures and Osiris Professional Services, as a contribution to the Legislative Toolkit for Local Reparations.

Picture of Meklit sitting

Meklit Biliard (she/her), BRP Fellow

Master of Public Policy, 2023

UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy

Project Title: Everybody Eat$: An Engagement and Education Strategy for California Reparations Initiatives

Bio: Meklit Biliard (she, her) is a system-impacted Black womxn and a recent graduate of UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy where she received her Master’s of Public Policy. Her desire to create a more equitable, loving, and accessible world for the most vulnerable populations remains at the heart of her academic and professional pursuits. Grounded in love and blue-sky thinking, she actively engages in policymaking that uplifts and supports the livelihoods of BIPOC youth, immigrant communities, and individuals of diverse abilities, sexualities, and gender identities. Having personally experienced the difficulties faced by African immigrant communities and witnessed the over-policing of Black youth, she brings a deep understanding of these challenges to her work. As a partner, advocate, lover, and friend, she is grateful for the opportunity to engage in life-affirming labor with marginalized groups, aiming to create everlasting wholesome change. In her free time, Meklit enjoys roller skating at Lake Merritt, shopping at antiques fairs and thrifting.

Meklit’s paper, Everybody Eats: An Engagement and Education Strategy for California Reparations Initiatives, delves into the crucial role of community engagement in driving meaningful and sustainable change within reparations initiatives, emphasizing the need for active participation and inclusion of affected communities in decision-making processes. Drawing on her personal experiences and academic background in public policy, Meklit explores innovative strategies for community engagement, such as participatory forums and collaborative partnerships that empower individuals to shape the direction and implementation of reparations programs. By highlighting the importance of centering the voices and lived experiences of marginalized communities, Meklit’s paper seeks to bridge the gap between policy design and community needs, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and equitable approach to reparations that uplifts and honors the diverse narratives and aspirations of those impacted by the legacy of slavery.

Picture of David with blurred background

David Dixon (he/him), BRP Fellow

Master of Public Affairs, 2023

UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy

Project Title: Black Reparations Donor Engagement Strategies

Bio: A product of South and North Carolina, I carry the influence and prayers of my Ancestors, as well as their names. David Henry Francis Dixon, I was named after my father and both grandfathers, likely to celebrate the fact that I was not only the youngest grandchild but also the only boy in three generations. Growing up in a family filled with HBCU graduates and civil rights activists thoroughly shaped my childhood and the man I’ve grown to become today. I attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where I majored in History and Africana Studies.

My community organizing career began while in undergrad after witnessing the murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. I began using the network I built as a student leader to draw attention to the need for us as students to participate in the local political infrastructure. This increased student participation eventually led to the election of Charlotte’s first Black woman Mayor and a Black man as Sheriff. My policy focus areas have been centered around the truly equitable inclusion of marginalized populations into the participatory governance process and expansion of affordable housing options as well advocating for increased wages across all public industries and better worker protections. I’ve had the privilege of organizing across the South through a number of different organizations and campaigns. I bring with me to Berkeley, the stories and experiences of those who are truly on the frontlines feeling the daily effects of our racist, capitalist society. It is my goal to allow these new resources, ideas and experiences to flow through me and back into the communities that need them most.