The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, one of the preeminent Black think tanks, recently announced the formation of a Civic Engagement and Governance Institute, a group which will provide information, research and analysis on civic and political participation among people of color.

“While America has made significant progress in racial equality in the four decades since the Joint Center was founded, and while African Americans have vastly increased their representation in elected and appointed positions across most levels of government, a closer look at life in communities of color still finds enduring disparities in areas such as housing, employment, health, income, criminal justice and voting rights,” the organization said in a news release announcing the new institute.

The Civic Engagement and Governance Institute will explore how people of color perceive the world around them and how they exercise their voice in our society, as well as how they can more effectively participate in the democratic institutions that are critical to their future. Of particular focus will be the use of new online technologies and the potential they offer for enabling more people of color to participate in the nation’s civic and political life.