William Winter Institute planning move to Jackson

The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation will soon become a separate nonprofit organization headquartered in Jackson after being located on the University of Mississippi’s campus for nearly two decades.

The Institute will take on an increased advocacy role, and the move to the state capital will allow it to work with the new Mississippi Civil Rights and Mississippi History museums. The decision was made by the Winter Institute’s Board of Directors.

Following the Winter Institute’s move, UM will connect and coordinate its activities in research, education and engagement around the issues of civility and race relations under the leadership of vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement Katrina Caldwell.

The Institute facilitates several programs including The Welcome Table, Summer Youth Institute and the Mississippi Truth Project. The Institute also promotes scholarly research and teaching on race and the impacts of racism.

UM chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said the university supports the Institute’s move and is committed to continuing its work in modeling civil discourse and enhancing race relations.

“We are also excited the Winter Institute is ready to take this next step in its development and become a nonprofit organization,” Vitter said. “The maturation of the institute is an example of the highest calling of our university: to take a bold concept, cultivate it and empower it to achieve greater good in society.”

The Winter Institute began on the university’s campus in 1999, two years after President Bill Clinton’s One America: The President’s Initiative on Race prompted the university to foster more engagement with the topic of racial reconciliation. Former Governor William Winter, for whom the Institute is named, was on Clinton’s One America advisory board and arranged for one of the initiative’s public forums to be held at UM.

Winter, who still serves as the Winter Institute board of directors chairman emeritus, said the Institute’s move to Jackson is a step into the future, but it will always maintain a connection to its roots.

“I am proud that leaders at my alma mater, the University of Mississippi, had the vision to establish and incubate the Institute for Racial Reconciliation on its campus,” Winter said. “As the Winter Institute positions itself for the future, we shall remain dedicated members of the university community.”

Original article published by the Daily Journal.

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