Howard C. Stevenson named 2020 Gittler Prize winner

January 17, 2020

Nationally recognized clinical psychologist and researcher of racial stress, Howard C. Stevenson, is the winner of the 2020 Gittler Prize, according to a BrandeisNOW article

“Not only has Howard Stevenson brought a better understanding to the detrimental effects caused by racial stress and trauma through his scholarship, he actively leads the way in improving the lives of people affected by these issues,” said President Ron Liebowitz in the press release. “I look forward to welcoming him to campus to engage with our community, and presenting him with the Gittler Prize.” 

“I am extremely honored to receive the Gittler Prize that is committed to addressing the challenges of racial, ethnic and religious conflict,” Stevenson wrote to The Brandeis Hoot in an email. “While ending racism may not happen in our lifetime or our children’s, I believe we can prevent the harmful effects of racial hostility from poisoning our minds, hearts, and bodies, and change how we live, talk, and breathe together.” 

Stevenson is currently the Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and serves as the executive director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC), according to a BrandeisNOW article. REC is “a research, program development, and training center that brings together community leaders, researchers, authority figures, families, and youth to study and promote racial literacy and health in schools and neighborhoods,” according to its website.

The Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize was started in 2007 by the late Professor Joseph B. Gittler to “recognize outstanding and lasting scholarly contributions to racial, ethnic and/or religious relations,” according to its website. The Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Endowed Fund supports this award. Recipients of the award receive a $25,000 prize and a medal.     

Stevenson is also the leader of Forward Promise. Forward Promise is a national program that is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) “to support culturally-responsive practices that buffer the effects of historical and systemic trauma on boys and young men of color,” according to its website

Stevenson has also led two mental health research projects that have been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to examine the benefits of racial literacy, according to a BrandeisNOW article. 

The first project, Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth (PLAAY), “uses basketball and racial socialization to help youth and parents cope with stress from violence and social rejection,” according to a BrandeisNOW article. The other program, SHAPE-UP: Barbers Building Better Brothers, helps train black barbers to teach young black men different ways to reduce their risk for HIV/STDs and retaliation violence. 

He also authored the bestselling book, “Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences That Make a Difference,” which helps give solutions to reduce the reactions of racial threats in various face-to-face encounters.

Stevenson will be presented the award in a public ceremony during his visit to Brandeis from Nov. 10 to 12, 2020. He will also be lecturing on his research. 

Menu Title