The University of New Mexico’s Division for Equity and Inclusion (DEI), along with the Black Faculty Alliance (BFA) and University Libraries, hosts a virtual Town Hall titled Combating Anti-Blackness at UNM on Tuesday, May 12 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Zoom.
The town hall features faculty, staff and many others coming together to discuss the challenges many are facing due to incidents of racial discrimination and "criminal acts of domestic anti-Black terrorism.” The town hall can be accessed via the Zoom link Combating Anti-Blackness at UNM or https://unm.zoom.us/j/95616861944.
UNM is beginning larger conversations concerning the long history of threats and intimidation against people of color, and specifically African Americans in New Mexico. The goal, in collaboration with many partners working behind the scenes to effect institutional change, is to take proactive measures to ensure that anti-Blackness will not continue at the institution. In the wake of recent events at UNM, there have been calls for the university to “do more,” however, it is important for those in our community to become aware of the good work that is being done behind the scenes.
The purpose of the virtual town hall will be to articulate evidence of the spike in anti-Blackness at UNM since 2016 and what UNM has done to address it. The town hall will also provide a format to hear concerns and updates (that can be shared) on current investigations and processes that are followed when an alleged hate crime occurs.
Finally, the DEI, BFA, and the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) will unveil the plan to create a rapid response taskforce to coordinate a unified campus response to such crises. The BFA has called for “The creation of a taskforce to develop a survivor-focused approach for an emergency response to hate-based threats against UNM Black faculty and a truth commission to document systems and behaviors that create and sustain anti-Black racism, white supremacy, and racist assaults in any form.”
Town Hall Schedule (tentative and subject to change):
4:30 p.m. Music, Laz
4:35 - 4:45 p.m. Opening Statements
- VP Zerai – Opening statement, purpose of the townhall, opportunity to provide feedback on Rapid Response taskforce
- President Garnett S. stokes
- Moderators and Q/A: Dr. Nancy López, Africana Studies Affiliate (define anti-Blackness and antiracism) and VPEI Assata Zerai
4:45 - 4:55 p.m. Part 1 - The history of anti-Blackness at UNM: Survivors Speak
- Dr. Kathy Powers, Black Faculty Alliance, Africana Studies Affiliate—Describing responses to attacks against black faculty/staff at UNM in a human right framework
- Dr. Kirsten Buick, Professor of Art History, and Associate Dean Fine Arts - Intersectional and gendered anti-Blackness experienced by Black women faculty at UNM
4:57 - 5:12 p.m. Part 2 - Institutional Responses to anti-Blackness at UNM
- Francie Cordova, Esq, Director of OEO – Coordinating Hate Crimes Investigations at UNM
- Jeff Gassaway, UNM IT – IT responses to online threats and harassment at UNM
- Larry Bitsoih, investigative lieutenant, UNM PD – Ways that UNM PD works to protect students, faculty and staff at UNM from hate crimes
- Cinnamon Blair, Chief Communication & Marketing Officer, UCAM – Emergency communications planning
5:15 - 5:30 p.m. Part 3 - Moving beyond being reactive when events occur
- Dr. Stephanie McIver, SHAC – Mental health support to UNM when attacks happen
- Brandi Stone, Director, African American Student Services and Special Assistant to the President on African American Affairs – Students’ experiences of secondary effects from witnessing anti-Black racism and hate crimes against Black faculty and staff
- *Frankie Flores, Director, LGBTQ Resource Center – Programming to build resilience in intersectional communities
- *Lorena Blanco-Silva, Director of Diversity Programs – Vision for a holistic response to crises, leading with communication and transparency: the Rapid Response Taskforce
5:30-5:55 p.m. Q&A, Reminder to provide feedback on proposed rapid response taskforce
Closing Remarks: Provost James Holloway – Statement of support
Hosts: Scott Haskie, Lorena Blanco-Silva and Frankie Flores
Music by: *Laz Letcher and *Rodney Bowe
Poetry by: Ebony Botth