The founding of The PuLSE Institute (Institute for Public Leadership and Social Equity) was inspired by the writings of prominent journalist and author Bankole Thompson. An op-ed columnist at The Detroit News, Thompson, has been a powerful voice on the question of economic inequality through his insightful, impactful and impassioned columns about extreme poverty. His writings continue to bring clarity to the dialogue on economic inequality and represent an urgent call to action against these inequities.
The Detroit-based Institute is “committed to deep analysis and examination of the broad spectrum of issues affecting majority of people,” who are often left out of solution-based conversations about social inequality.
“We can no longer deny the reality and the cruelty of poverty in Detroit and across the nation. It is time to have a constructive dialogue through focused research on the kinds of policies that impact ordinary people living on the margins and stimulate compassionate interventions,” said Tina M. Patterson, the Institute’s President. “It should not be lost on any of us that poverty is this era’s most egregious form of inequality. It is unconscionable for 57 percent of Detroit’s kids to go to bed hungry or for 35.7 percent of the city’s population to wallow in poverty.”
Patterson, is a former federal government attorney with the Social Security Administration, who believes in the investment in human capacity and in tangible tools that will help lift many Detroiters out of socioeconomic morass into a level of self-reliance that would lead to meaningful engagement and productivity.
“Poverty is by nature a steady focus seeker never known to respond well to silent treatment or passing glances. This well-conceived Institute is poised to give it the solution-geared attention it deserves, which is why I am pleased and proud to serve as its founding board chair,” said C. Paschal Eze, a Harvard-trained humanitarian disaster expert.
The National Advisory Panel, the Institute’s brain trust is made up of some of the foremost thinkers and leaders in civil rights and policy in America today. They are:
Herb Boyd, Best-selling author of books on Malcolm X, James Baldwin and the black experience.
Janis Kearney, Served under former President Bill Clinton as the first diarist in presidential history.
Robert S. Weiner, former White House Spokesman, who also served as top Congressional aide to retired Congressman John Conyers Jr. and late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy.
Dr. Bernard Lafayette, National Coordinator, 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, former top assistant to Martin Luther King Jr., and one of the original Freedom Riders.
Rev Lawrence Foster, Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church in Detroit, who is a Harvard University-trained theologian and mentee of Martin Luther King Sr.
The Institute’s Academy of Fellows, its prestigious leadership program, is made up of individuals of remarkable accomplishments from a across section of professional endeavors who have a strong interest in inequality and inclusion issues. They include:
Mike Smith, principal archivist at the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library, Luba Lukova, Internationally renowned visual artist for social justice, Sgt. Stephanie Shannon, U.S. Army veteran and founder of the Michigan Women Veterans Empowerment group, and Chris White, a longtime Detroit advocate and director of operations for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality.
Tina M. Patterson