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Racial Justice

  • A hand holds a sign that says racism is a virus

This initiative aims to improve policies and engage in conversations about race to increase understanding and create a more racially just society.

“The time for racial discrimination is over.” – Jimmy Carter, 1971 inaugural address as governor of Georgia


The Human Rights Program established the Racial Justice Initiative to achieve President and Mrs. Carter’s vision and to confront setbacks in the advancement of equal rights in the United States. The initiative advances truth-telling programs aimed at engaging and repairing the unhealed trauma caused by white supremacy and consequent racial violence. The program also catalyzes fundamental policy shifts, bringing together committed people and institutions that share the goal of advancing equal justice for all.

Our Goals

To advance knowledge and understanding of the effects of racism on our society, the Racial Justice Initiative has three objectives:

  • To engage community leaders and policymakers on systemic racism.
  • To contribute knowledge and understanding on research and programming that addresses persistent racial inequality.
  • To incubate ideas that support local Black, indigenous, and people of color civil society activities.  


  • Established regular consultations with leading organizations, including The King Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
  • Hosted a Black History Month event in Atlanta in partnership with Sweet Auburn Stories.
  • Co-designed and implemented a pilgrimage for representatives of U.S. Evangelical Christian institutions to Montgomery, Alabama, in collaboration with Freedom Road and Equal Justice Initiative. The second pilgrimage visited Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Hosted an Equitable Dinners event commemorating the 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre; the dinner was attended by the presidents of the NAACP, ACLU, and National Association of Chinese Americans (NACA).
  • Partnered with The King Center on its Global Beloved Community Summit.


  • Freedom Road
  • The King Center
  • National Center for Civil and Human Rights
  • Sweet Auburn Stories
  • Welcome Table Collaborative
  • African Diaspora Art Museum of Atlanta
  • Dutch Embassy


The Carter Center's co-founder, former President Jimmy Carter, wrote about his experience with racism growing up in South Georgia in his memoir "An Hour Before Daylight." The effects of racial discrimination in the South made a profound impression on him, and once elected governor, he aligned himself with Black leaders on policy matters.

As president, he and Mrs. Carter worked diligently to end racial discrimination by centering foreign policy founded on human rights. They led numerous efforts to advocate for all citizens' rights internationally.

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