Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Public Well being Professor Sara Bleich Chosen to Lead Legacy of Slavery Initiatives | Information

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Harvard Faculty of Public Well being professor Sara N. Bleich has been tapped to supervise the implementation of Harvard’s Legacy of Slavery initiative because the inaugural vice provost for particular initiatives, the College introduced on Nov. 14.

Bleich, who at the moment serves because the director of diet safety and well being fairness for the Meals and Diet Service on the U.S. Division of Agriculture, has labored on points resembling diet-related illnesses, well being fairness, and racial injustice. She is going to step into her new put up on Jan. 23.

Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 stated in an e-mail asserting the appointment that Bleich’s background in social justice and work throughout disciplines equip her to spearhead the College’s initiative.

“Sara’s work on the intersection of public well being and social justice, along with her experience in serving to construct a collaborative tradition of mental trade throughout educational disciplines and sectors, makes her uniquely fitted to this work,” he wrote.

Bleich’s appointment marks the most recent step within the College’s ongoing work to meet the suggestions of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery, which College President Lawrence S. Bacow fashioned in 2019. In Could, the committee launched a long-awaited report detailing how slavery “powerfully formed Harvard.”

The report discovered that College associates enslaved greater than 70 Black and Indigenous folks throughout nearly 150 years and had “in depth monetary ties” to slavery. Harvard pledged to allocate $100 million to implement the suggestions outlined within the report.

Suggested by members of the implementation committee, Bleich will work with Harvard associates, descendants of enslaved people, and the broader public to interact with the historical past and legacy of slavery on campus. She may even act as a spokesperson for the College’s “reparative efforts.”

Garber stated Bleich will play an essential function within the College’s efforts to reckon with its historical past.

“The creation of the function of vice provost for particular initiatives is a essential subsequent step in making certain the College and Colleges make wanted progress in addressing Harvard’s ties to slavery and remedying the numerous elements of its persistent aftermath,” Garber stated.

—Workers author Caroline E. Curran may be reached at

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