Michael R. Wenger, of Mitchellville, Maryland, is an adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology, specializing in race relations, at The George Washington University, co-founder of the Within Our Lifetime network-dedicated to ending racism in our lifetime, a consultant on race relations, and the author of My Black Family, My White Privilege: A White Man's Journey Through the Nation's Racial Minefield, which is a personal memoir.
From 1998 to 2014,Mr. Wenger served in a variety of capacities at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the pre-eminent think tank focused on issues of race. At the Joint Center he was the founder and Director of NABRE (Network of Alliances Bridging Race and Ethnicity), Acting Vice President for Communications, Acting Vice President for Governance and Economic Analysis, and Senior Fellow. He came to the Joint Center after serving as Deputy Director for Outreach and Program Development for President Clinton's Initiative on Race.
From 1981 to 1997 Mr. Wenger served as the States Washington Representative for the Appalachian Regional Commission, a Congressionally-funded agency charged with promoting economic development in the 13-state Appalachian region of the United States. In this capacity he represented the Governors of the 13 Appalachian states on policy and legislative matters relating to their membership on the Commission.
Before coming to Washington, D.C., Mr. Wenger held several policy-making positions, including Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Welfare and Commissioner of the Department of Employment Security, in the administration of West Virginia Governor John D. Rockefeller IV. He began his career as a journalist and public school teacher in New York City and then held leadership positions in the West Virginia anti-poverty program and with the City of Charleston, WV. In addition to his memoir, he is the co-author of Window Pane Stories: Vignettes to Help You Look At and Beyond Your Experiences, a frequent speaker on race relations, and the author of numerous articles on race relations and on rural economic development.
Mr. Wenger was born in New York City and educated at Queens College of the City University of New York, where he was a leader in the civil rights struggles of the early 1960s. He is married and has three grown children, four grandchildren, and a great grandchild.