College of Liberal Arts departmental resolutions and statements on the killing of Mr. George Floyd
The African American Studies Program at the University of Texas at El Paso
Statement Condemning Racial Violence and Police Brutality
The African American Studies Program in the most stringent of terms, condemns the brutal treatment and murder of Black men and women happening across this nation. We condemn systemic and institutional racism and the havoc they wreak upon the lives of Black men and women, who are subjected daily to racial violence and inhumane treatment. We are sickened by this nation’s continuous cavalier approaches to, and denial of, human rights and the sanctity of life; this was vividly displayed by the killing of Mr. George Floyd. The image of police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee pressed tightly against the neck of Mr. Floyd while he screamed “I can’t breathe” and pleaded for his life, is an image that we must never forget! We must sear that memory into our collective consciousness so as to understand that no one is untouched by tyranny; by violation of rights, by a denial of dignity, freedom, respect and life.
What happened to Mr. Floyd, to Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, to Ms. Atatiana Jefferson, to Mr. Philando Castile, to Ms. Breonna Taylor, happened to us all. There is no escape, no safe space from which to observe, to comment. The violent attacks upon Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples, the denial of basic human rights in this country, the disregard for the welfare of communities of color, must be brought to an immediate end. We are all responsible for challenging racism, for naming inequality, for standing against tyranny wherever we see it and in whatever form it takes. The reality is that most of us are just one wayward traffic stop, one legislative amendment passed, or one executive order signed, from individual or collective tragedy. We must be concerned and bothered by each and every single miscarriage of justice. “For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night” is what James Baldwin wrote in 1970. We all have a responsibility to work for collective change at every level for those who are here and for the generations to come. We cannot allow the wanton killing of Mr. Floyd to escape our consciousness when news cycles turn to the new story of the day.
We must decide now what our legacy will be in response to these horrid times. How shall we transform our anger, hurt and disgust into sustained points of resistance against unjust systems and institutionalized racism? Fannie Lou Hamer rightfully questioned America in 1964: “Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off of the hook because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings in America?” The question is still relevant today and we must continue to work just as hard to transform America now as they did then.
The African American Studies program proudly aligns with those standing for justice and demanding an end to systemic racism and oppression, to police brutality, to governmental lawlessness and the denial of people’s humanity. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are rightfully angry and calling for a transformation of this nation’s racialized policies and practices against Black men and women. We stand in indignation with the families of Mr. George Floyd, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, Ms. Atatiana Jefferson, Mr. Philando Castile and the many men and women throughout history, both known and unknown, whose lives have been taken by police violence, white supremacist ideations and institutional racist policies and practices. Today is the day for change, so that we can claim tomorrow as evidence of it.
The African American Studies Program, University of Texas at El Paso
UTEP DoArt Statement of Solidarity
The Department of Art at The University of Texas at El Paso stands in solidarity with those who are leading the fight for justice and accountability and against systemic racism in our country. While we recognize that words alone are not a sufficient response, we are doing what artists and scholars do best—taking time to observe, listen and to learn. We know we can and must do better. We express our genuine commitment to foster and sustain anti-racist efforts in our teaching, art making, research, and community engagement.
We are committed to producing future art professionals for whom Black lives, Black viewpoints, and thus Black art matters. American museums and galleries still have a long way to go in diversifying their collections, as they remain overwhelmingly white. The 2019 AIGA Design Census reports that only 3% of designers, across disciplines, are Black. As artists and scholars keenly aware of the power of art both to perpetuate and to challenge racist ideologies, we will work against racial injustice and anti-Blackness by promoting racial equity by examining the impact of our work on our students and the larger community. We will seek out opportunities to educate future Black artists, as we have future Latinx artists, to create partnerships, and encourage Black students to take art courses and guide them to become artists, designers, art historians and art educators. We recognize that it is only when those charged with shaping the future reflect the diversity of the nation that we can truly hope for an anti-racist society.
We encourage and challenge DoArt students to be agents of change in their anti-racist lives and art.
The UTEP Chicano Studies Program Statement of Solidarity
The recent murders of George Floyd, Amaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others represent the ongoing systemic issues of white supremacy and police brutality in this country. Current national events related to continued police brutality against Black Lives Matter protests have further demonstrated that we must unite in support of our Black brothers and sisters.
Chicano Studies unconditionally supports our hermanos y hermanas in the Black community and their chosen quest for social justice as they strive to achieve equity and equality in every facet of American life. Our choice to back and work with our neighbors is one with storied historical connections; however, and most importantly, standing in solidarity with our hermanas y hermanos is simply the right thing to do.
As program faculty and staff of the UTEP Chicano Studies program, we recognize the importance of addressing anti-Black sentiment in our communities and commit to addressing these matters across our curriculum with our students. Change begins through protest, education, and above all, through love. bell hooks teaches us that “one of the most vital ways we sustain ourselves is by building communities of resistance, places where we know we are not alone1,” so in solidarity with the UTEP Black Student Union and the African American Studies Program we commit to stand beside you in the fight against injustice. We commit to your struggle for a more just campus, community, and world because any other alternative is not acceptable.
The El Paso community cannot ignore that while we are a majority Latinx community, it is made up of African-American individuals, inclusive of transgender Black individuals, Afro-Latinx, and undocumented Black immigrants, who are our friends, family, and colleagues. Working towards creating a safe and welcoming space at UTEP - aquí, ellos tienen su casa también / here, they have their home too. While structural racism and a plethora of disparities can and do run amok in the world, Chicano Studies will stand firm with our hermanas and hermanos on and off campus.
Right now, there is a deafening silence when there should be a resounding call to action for support, empathy, and above all - a summon to listen to the Black community. It is imperative to listen to what Black folks are saying - not an interpretation, not an analysis of from a point of privilege, or a perception and perspective emanating from a colonizing view. However, we will challenge ourselves to seek out avenues of communication and information to learn more about and listen to our Black brothers and sisters. Rest assured, the point is neither to essentialize or marginalize one history over another. We endeavor to become a space where different voices are respected and acknowledged with an understanding that histories and experiences do not happen in a vacuum.
The UTEP Chicano Studies Program faculty and staff fully support the Black Lives Matter movement and will continue to stand next to our Black brothers and sisters and loudly say their names:
Eric Carner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Michelle Cusseaux, Laquan McDonald, Tanisha Anderson, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Harem Reid, George Mann, Matthew Ajibade, Frank Smart, Natasha McKenna, Tony Robinson, Anthony Hill, Mya Hall, Phillip White, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, William Chapman II, Alexia Christian, Brendon Glenn, Victor Manel Larosa, Jonathan Sanders, Freddie Blue, Joseph Mann, Salvado Ellswood, Sandra Bland, Albert Joseph Davis, Darrius Stewart, Billy Ray Davis, Samuel Dubose, Michael Sabbie, Brian Ketih Day, Christian Taylor, Tory Robinson, Asshams Pharoah Manley, Felix Kumi, Keith Harrison McLeod, Junior Prosper, Lamontez Jones, Patterson Brown, Dominc Hutchinson, Anthony Ashford, Alonzo Smith, Tyree Crawford, India Kager, LaVatne Biggs, Michael Lee Marshall, Jamar Clark, Richard Perkins, Nathaniel Harris Pickett, Benni Lee Tignor, Miguel Espinal, Michael Noel, Kevin Matthews, Bettie Jones, Quintonio Legrier, Keith Childress, Jr., Janet Wilson, Randy Nelson, Antronie Scott, Wendell Celstine, David Joseph, Calin Roquemore, Dyzhawn Perkins, Christopher Davis, Marco Loud, Peter Gaines, Torrey Robinson, Darius Robinson, Kevin Hicks, Mary Truxillo, Demarcus Semer, Willie Tillman, Terrill Thomas, Sylville Smith, Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Terence Curtcher, Paul O’Neil, Alteria Woods, Jordan Edwards, Aaron Baily, Ronell Folster, Stephon Clark, Antwon Rose II, Botham Jean, Pamela Turner, Dominque Clayton, Atatiana Jefferson, Christopher Whitfield, Christopher MCorvey, Eric Reason, Michael Lorenzo Dean, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Italia Kelly, Travon Benjamin Martin
Chicano Studies at The University of Texas at El Paso
Faculty and Staff
1hooks, b. (1992). Yearning: Race, gender, and cultural politics.
The Department of Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and issues the following statement:
In April 1963, during the eleven days of solitary confinement for protesting for civil rights in Alabama, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, 34, began writing in the margins of a newspaper what would later be known as his "Letter from Birmingham Jail." He continued on paper towels, scraps of yellow paper, and, eventually, a writing pad his lawyers were allowed to leave with him.
"Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, 'Wait.'' Dr. King Jr. wrote, "[b]ut when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television . . . and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: 'Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?'; . . .when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of 'nobodiness' — then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait."
Released just days ago, through the fisheye lens of a shaky body camera worn by the police officer who chased him, we see in Oklahoma on May 20, 2019, Mr. Derrick Scott, 42, imploring the limbs choking him, "I can't breathe, I can't breathe, please!" Give me your hand, a voice says, as multiple knees pin him to the grass, don't resist, you're fine, before he dies in their custody.
On May 25, 2020 in Minnesota, Mr. George Floyd, 46, is asking for his own breath on East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. "Please, please, please, I can't breathe. Please, man," he asks. He is being murdered by a police officer whose knee is on Floyd’s neck for five minutes while a bystander begs him and the other three officers there, "No, bro, look at him, he's not responsive right now." The word bro, brother, is an invocation of kinship, that one man on a street can be tied to another man on that street, but the murderer keeps pressing his knee against Mr. Floyd, who is restrained, unarmed and unconscious, for another three minutes and 46 seconds.
In Kentucky on March 13, 2020, Ms. Breonna Taylor, 26, is sleeping in her own apartment between shifts as an EMT when police batter her front-door with a no-knock warrant after midnight, searching for two people who were already in their custody. Ms. Taylor, in her bed, unarmed, is shot eight times. They never find the drugs for which their warrant was signed, though they charge Ms. Taylor's boyfriend, Mr. Kenneth Walker, who, woken from his sleep, thinking the plainclothes officers were criminals, tried to defend himself from his bed with his licensed firearm. The officers charge him with first-degree assault and the attempted murder of a police officer. They fire over 20 shots. Ms. Taylor was studying to be a nurse while a pandemic surged across the globe, everywhere people's lungs filling with fluid, swelling for air. She was hoping to help them breathe.
On February 23, 2020, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, 25, is jogging in a t-shirt and shorts, unarmed. He is exercising in his own neighborhood when the angle of the camera closes in on the long, grey curve of the road, then another truck and Mr. Arbery. The camera whizzes and shakes, but we can see a father and son raise their shotgun, handgun, and voices while Mr. Arbery struggles against his murderers, fighting not to be felled.
In our own Juárez-El Paso, on August 4, 2019, one summer ago, a man drives across the whole of Texas with a semi-automatic rifle. He leaves a manifesto saying he is shooting us by the rhetoric and command of the U.S. nation-state. Mr. Leonardo Campos Jr, 41; Mrs. Maribel Campos, 56; Mr. David Alvah Johnson, 63; Mr. Ivan Filiberto Manzano, newly 41; Mrs. Jordan Anchondo, 25; Mr. Andre Pablo Anchondo, 23; Mr. Arturo Benavidez, 59; Mr. Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15; Ms. Sara Esther Regalado Moriel, 66; Mr. Adolfo Cerros Hernández, 68; Ms. Gloria Irma Márquez, 61; Mrs. María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe, 60; Mrs. Elsa Mendoza de la Mora Márquez, 57; Mr. Juan de Dios Velázquez Chairez, 77; Mrs. Maria Flores, 77; Mr. Raul Flores, 83; Ms. Margie Reckard, 63; Mr. Alexander Gerhard Hoffman, 66; Ms. Teresa Sanchez, 82; Ms. Angelina Silva Englisbee, 86; Mr. Jorge Calvillo Garcia, 61; and Mr. Luis Alfonzo Juarez, 90 die shopping for a wheelchair, composition books, loose-leaf paper, highlighters, bread, beans, soap. On April 25, 2020, Mr. Guillermo Garcia, 36, who had been at Walmart to raise money for his daughter's soccer team, dies after fighting to breathe in the hospital for nine months. On May 25, 2020, Paul Gilbert Anchondo, whose parents Jordan and Andre had shielded him, turns one year old.
The Department of Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso sees the loss of these lives—as well as those lives lost who are not yet known—as extrajudicial killings of systemic racial violence. These are deaths caused enforcing a border, shooting a gun, pressing a knee, executing a policy, uttering language, by someone who feels entitled to it, whether it be an official, officer, or a citizen. We condemn these murders; we name them among the tyrannies of the caging of our own from across the Americas who seek and have sought refuge here; of the disproportional deaths, for lack of healthcare or economic access, of communities of color across the Americas from COVID-19; of the documented femicides of hundreds of our daughters; of the ICE raids across our streets, our high schools, and our university campus; and of the theft of the unceded territory of our indigenous Tigua and Mescalero peoples; among other acts, visible and hidden, wrought from the racism of our countries, rended and founded in genocide, slavery and imperialism.
We stand in solidarity with the African American Studies Program and our Black own in this profound Black Lives Matter movement, who dignify those who have fought and died, who are still fighting; and with the Chicano Studies Program and the Institute of Oral History, who surface the lived experiences of, and in so doing, call dignity to, our indigenous and Latinx own. We are aware of the very many for whom the cause of equality has already been their lives' work, and we pledge to see it, attend to it, and to continue the cause ourselves in our own teaching, community service, and in the poems, stories, essays, memoirs and novels we will write.
We will scrutinize the ways that racial, ethnic and LGBTQIA+ discrimination persists in our department, from our students and our faculty to our programmatic goals, and each of our projects, and we commit and recommit to dismantling the inequities of Black, AfroLatinx, Indigenous and LGBTQIA+ representation in our department.
We will continue to teach our students a writing that is informed by a rich multeity of literatures driven by, and not just tokenly inclusive of, the stories and verses of traditionally underrepresented communities. We will examine where we lack that, and we will correct it. We refuse to perpetuate a white, heteronormative, monolingual or patriarchal literary canon. We are a bilingual department and a multilingual community; our students and faculty are from Juárez-El Paso and from across the globe. So we acknowledge the veracity of each of our students’ cultural knowledge, and that ours is a collectively-constructed and living literature: one which knows and speaks of rivers, can reimagine dreams from what dreams have been deferred.
We renew our perspective that the term "America" is the Americas for our students, staff and faculty, that our identities and our missions cross borders and oceans. We commit to cry out, again and again in language, the power of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's words, 57 years ago, when he beckons us to be "cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states." We still grasp for, through our communal sorrow, his wisdom that "[i]njustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny."
We stand in solidarity for true civil rights, and we ask you too, to name now through the power of language our terrors and our loves swirling around us, what is our history flooding our present. We ask you to help us to uncover, with clarity: a promise—on newspapers, paper towels, all your scraps of paper—of our collective ache for a social change that can succor and sustain.
En abril de 1963, durante los once días de confinamiento por protestar por los derechos civiles en Alabama, el reverendo Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, entonces de 34 años, comenzó a escribir al margen de un periódico lo que luego se conocería como su "Carta de la cárcel de Birmingham ". Continuó escribiendo en toallas de papel, hojas amarillas y, finalmente, en el bloc de notas que sus abogados pudieron dejarle.
"Tal vez sea fácil para aquellos que nunca han sentido los punzantes dardos de la segregación decir: " Esperen ". El Dr. King Jr. escribió:" [b] pero cuando has visto a turbas salvajes linchar a tus madres y padres por voluntad propia y ahogar a tus hermanas y hermanos a su antojo; cuando has visto a policías llenos de odio maldecir, patear e incluso matar a tus hermanos y hermanas negros; cuando ves a la gran mayoría de tus veinte millones de hermanos negros asfixiados en la hermética jaula de la pobreza en medio de una sociedad acomodada; cuando de repente tu lengua titubea y tartamudea al intentar explicarle a tu hija de seis años por qué no puede ir al parque de diversiones público que acaba de anunciarse en la televisión. . . y observas las ominosas nubes de inferioridad que comienzan a formarse en su pequeño cielo mental, y observas que comienza a distorsionarse su personalidad y a desarrollar una amargura inconsciente hacia los blancos; cuando tienes que inventar una respuesta para tu hijo de cinco años que pregunta: "Papi, ¿por qué las personas blancas tratan a las personas de color tan mal?"; . . .cuando te acosan de día y te atormentan de noche por el hecho de ser negro, cuando vives constantemente de puntillas, sin saber exactamente qué esperar a continuación, y plagado de miedos internos y resentimientos externos; cuando siempre luchas contra una sensación de degeneración de 'no-cuerpo', entonces entenderás por qué nos resulta difícil esperar ".
Compartido hace poco, vemos a través del lente de la inestable cámara que llevaba en su cuerpo el oficial de policía que lo persigue, cómo en Oklahoma el 20 de mayo de 2019, el Sr. Derrick Scott, de 42 años, implora a las piernas que lo ahogan, "No puedo respirar, no puedo respirar, por favor!" Dame tu mano, dice una voz, mientras varias rodillas lo sujetan al pasto, no te resistas, estás bien, le dicen antes de que muera bajo su custodia.
El 25 de mayo de 2020 en Minnesota, George Floyd, de 46 años, está pidiendo su propio aliento en la calle 38th y la avenida Chicago. "Por favor, por favor, por favor, no puedo respirar. Por favor, hombre", ruega. Está siendo asesinado por un oficial de policía cuya rodilla se mantiene en el cuello de Floyd durante cinco minutos, mientras que un espectador le ruega a él y a los otros tres oficiales allí: "No, mano, míralo, ya no responde ". La palabra mano, hermano, es una invocación de parentesco, una palabra que nos dice que cualquier hombre puede estar ligado a otro hombre en esa calle, pero el asesino sigue presionando su rodilla contra el Sr. Floyd, quien está inmóvil, desarmado e inconsciente, por otros tres minutos y 46 segundos.
En Kentucky, el 13 de marzo de 2020, la Sra. Breonna Taylor, de 26 años, está durmiendo en su propio apartamento entre sus turnos de EMT cuando la policía golpea su puerta con una orden de no tocar después de la medianoche, en busca de dos personas que ya estaban en su custodia. La Sra. Taylor, en su cama, desarmada, recibe ocho disparos. Nunca encuentran las drogas por las cuales se firmó su orden judicial, aunque acusan al novio de la Sra. Taylor, el Sr. Kenneth Walker, quien, arrancado de su sueño, pensó que los oficiales vestidos de civiles eran criminales, trató de defenderse de su cama con su arma de fuego autorizada. Los oficiales lo acusan por asalto en primer grado y por el intento de asesinato a un oficial de policía. Disparan más de 20 veces. La Sra. Taylor estaba estudiando para ser enfermera mientras una pandemia se extendía por todo el mundo, mientras los pulmones de las personas se llenaban de líquido y se hinchaban por aire, ella anhelaba poderlos ayudar a respirar.
El 23 de febrero de 2020, el Sr. Ahmaud Arbery, de 25 años, corre vestido con una camiseta y pantalones cortos, desarmado. Está haciendo ejercicio en su propio vecindario cuando el ángulo de la cámara se acerca a la curva larga y gris de la carretera, luego se ve otro camión y al Sr. Arbery. La cámara zumba y tiembla, pero podemos ver a un padre y a su hijo levantar escopeta, pistola y sus voces mientras que el Sr. Arbery lucha contra sus asesinos, luchando por no ser derribado.
En nuestro propia frontera Juárez-El Paso, el 4 de agosto de 2019, hace apenas un verano, un hombre maneja por todo Texas con un rifle semiautomático. Él comparte un manifiesto en el que plantea que nos dispara por la retórica y el comando del estado-nación de EE. UU. Mueren así: Leonardo Campos Jr, de 41 años. Maribel Campos, de 56; David Alvah Johnson, de 63; Ivan Filiberto Manzano, quien recién cumplía 41; Jordan Anchondo, de 25 años; Andre Pablo Anchondo, de 23; Arturo Benavidez, de 59; Javier Amir Rodríguez, de 15 años; Sara Esther Regalado Moriel, de 66; Adolfo Cerros Hernández, de 68; Gloria Irma Márquez, de 61; María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe, de 60; dElsa Mendoza de la Mora Márquez, de 57; Juan de Dios Velázquez Chairez, de 77; María Flores, de 77; Raúl Flores, de 83; Margie Reckard, de 63; Alexander Gerhard Hoffman, de 66; Teresa Sánchez, de 82; Angelina Silva Englisbee, de 86; Jorge Calvillo García, de 61; y Luis Alfonzo Juárez, de 90. Todos ellos murieron comprando una silla de ruedas, cuadernos, papel de hojas sueltas, marcadores, pan, frijoles, jabón. El 25 de abril de 2020, Guillermo García, de 36 años, quien había estado en Walmart recaudando dinero para el equipo de fútbol de su hija, muere en el hospital después de pasar nueve meses tratando de volver a respirar. El 25 de mayo de 2020, Paul Gilbert Anchondo, cuyos padres Jordan y Andre murieron protegiéndolo, cumple un año.
El Departamento de Escritura Creativa de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso reconoce estas vidas como nuestras, como parte de esos reconocidos—dentro de los cuales hay quienes han muerto y aún lo ignoramos—asesinatos y asaltos extrajudiciales de violencia racial sistémica. Estas son muertes ejercidas por fronteras, armas, rodillas, hisopos, políticas, idiomas, por funcionarios, oficiales o ciudadanos. Nosotros condenamos estos asesinatos; los nombramos entre las tiranías de enjaular a los nuestros que vienen de todo el continente americano y que buscan y han buscado refugio aquí; condenamos el número desproporcionado de muertes que por falta de atención médica o de recursos económicos han enfrentado las comunidades de color en todo el continente americano por COVID-19; condenamos los feminicidios documentados de cientos de nuestras hijas; de las redadas de ICE en nuestras calles, en nuestras escuelas secundarias y en nuestro campus universitario; y condenamos el robo de Tigua y Mescalero territorio de nuestros pueblos indígenas; entre otros actos que, visibles y ocultos, son el resultado del racismo de países concebidos y fundados desde el genocidio, la esclavitud y el imperialismo.
Nos solidarizamos con el Programa de Estudios Afroamericanos y con la profundidad del movimiento Black Lives Matter, que dignifica a quienes han luchado y muerto, y que todavía están luchando; también con el Programa de Estudios Chicanos y el Instituto de Historia Oral, que muestran las experiencias vividas y, al hacerlo, dignifican a nuestros indígenas y latinos. Somos conscientes de todos aquellos que han hecho de la igualdad su causa y el trabajo de sus vidas, y nos comprometemos a verla, atenderla y alimentar esta causa nosotros mismos en nuestra práctica docente, servicio comunitario y en los poemas, cuentos, ensayos, memorias y novelas que escribiremos.
Examinaremos las formas en que la discriminación racial, étnica y LGBTQIA + persiste en nuestro departamento, desde nuestros estudiantes y nuestra facultad hasta nuestros objetivos programáticos y cada uno de nuestros proyectos, y nos comprometemos y volveremos a comprometer en desmantelar las desigualdades de representación de negros, afrolatinos, indígenas y de la comunidad LGBTQIA + en nuestro departamento.
Continuaremos enseñando a nuestros estudiantes a construir una escritura informada desde la rica diversidad de literatura impulsada por, y no solo simbólicamente inclusiva, las historias y versos de comunidades tradicionalmente subrepresentadas. Examinaremos qué es lo que nos ha faltado y lo corregiremos. Nos negamos a perpetuar un canon literario blanco, heteronormativo, monolingüe o patriarcal. Somos un departamento bilingüe y una comunidad multilingüe; Nuestros estudiantes y profesores son de Juárez-El Paso y de todo el mundo. Por lo tanto, reconocemos la veracidad del conocimiento cultural de cada uno de nuestros estudiantes y que la nuestra es una literatura viva y construida colectivamente: una literatura que sabe y habla de ríos, que puede reimaginar esos sueños desde los sueños que se han aplazado.
Renovamos nuestra perspectiva de que el término "América" es Las Américas en honor a nuestros estudiantes, personal y facultad, porque nuestras identidades y nuestras misiones cruzan fronteras y océanos. Nos comprometemos a gritar y a demandar, a través del lenguaje, el poder de las palabras del reverendo Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, hace 57 años, cuando nos llamaba a ser "conscientes de la interrelación de todas las comunidades y estados". Aún entendemos, a través de nuestra tristeza colectiva, su sabiduría de que "[la] injusticia en cualquier lugar es una amenaza para la justicia en todas partes. Estamos atrapados en una inevitable red de mutualidad, atados en una sola prenda de destino".
Nos solidarizamos con los verdaderos derechos civiles y te pedimos también que señales a través del poder del lenguaje esos terrores y pasiones que nos rodean, lo que llamamos nuestra historia y que inunda nuestro presente. Te pedimos que nos ayudes a descubrir, con claridad: una promesa, en periódicos, toallas de papel, en todo trozo de papel, nuestro llamado colectivo por un cambio social que nos socorra y sostenga.
We, the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at El Paso, stand in solidarity with all who seek justice and equal treatment under the law, especially with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and countless other persons of color killed and victimized by excessive use of force by law enforcement throughout the U.S. and here at the border.
We recognize that policing is inherently difficult and dangerous, but we also demand that all persons be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and not be singled out because of their race or any other extra-legal characteristic. Criminal justice research has long shown that young men of color are more likely to be profiled by police, to be stopped and searched, arrested, and subjected to use of force, including deadly violence, than members of other groups--when holding constant, legally relevant variables such as criminal behavior. This unconstitutional and illegal treatment is among the most dire social problem in our country today, tearing at the social fabric that holds us together. While it is the duty of every law enforcement agency to acknowledge and address such discrimination, dignity and respect of each individual extends into every phase of criminal justice to include treatment of defendants in court, while incarcerated, and the way that people are treated when they reenter our communities.
To that end, we are revisiting the six pillars put forth by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (2015) to propose some preliminary ideas that are just the beginning of what we can do in policing, but this does not include the many reforms that should be done to bring about lasting change across the CJ system.
Pillar 1: Building Trust and Legitimacy
- Police officers should generate legitimacy with the people whom they serve, particularly in neighborhoods where such levels of trust are lowest and where the illegal and unnecessary use of force by police is most problematic.
- Police officers should be concerned about the welfare of citizens under their control and custody. Fellow officers have a duty to intervene in potential excessive force and unethical situations. When police do not obey the law, they too must be prosecuted and punished.
Pillar 2: Policy and Oversight
- Increase faculty research with local and regional police departments in the area of racial profiling--documenting its incidence, studying its causes, and creating, implementing and testing programs to reduce its occurrence. Research partnerships aimed at identifying and addressing racial and ethnic disparities will extend to other areas of criminal justice as well (e.g., courts, corrections).
- Policies should reflect community values, such as having an Independent Review Board examine citizen complaints against Police Officers and body-worn camera footage in use of force incidents.
- Police departments should have policies on how they will respond to citizen complaints that were founded or likely to have occurred. The International Association of Chiefs of Police has a resource center/model policies, vetted by practitioners and academics available to all police administrators nationwide.
Pillar 3: Technology and Social Media
- Police departments should require greater accountability for use and archiving of body worn cameras (BWC) and footage. For example, failure to turn BWCs on, turning them off during an incident, and/or tampering with footage should be enforced with consequences.
Pillar 4: Community Policing and Crime Reduction
- Decades of criminal justice research show that community policing methods and involving the community increases police legitimacy, public cooperation (calling 911), and crime goes down.
- To be legitimate, the police must be held to a higher standard than ordinary citizens in the laws and rules that govern their behavior.
Pillar 5: Training and Education
- Police departments should have updated use of force policies that emphasize de-escalation.
- Police departments should provide continuous training throughout an officer’s career, and must re-train officers who are unable or unwilling to abide by policy.
- Police are often tasked with handling social problems such as citizens who are homeless, experiencing mental health issues, and youth misbehavior in schools. Inserting police into these situations oftentimes unnecessarily redefines a social issue into a “criminal” one, and may lead to sensory over-responsivity, or using excessive force.
Pillar 6: Officer Wellness
- Overhaul the policing subculture to ensure officers that they will be respected and treated fairly by their immediate supervisors and department administration.
- Encourage officers to seek help for mental and emotional trauma experienced on the job. Institute mental and emotional fitness tests for continued duty.
At UTEP, the Department of Criminal Justice currently offers an elective undergraduate class called: Multiculturalism and Crime, and an elective graduate class called: Race, Ethnicity and Criminal Justice. We encourage students to educate themselves about these issues, get involved in the local community, and be part of the solution.
Citation: President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. 2015. Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Statement of Solidarity
The Department of English at the University of Texas at El Paso stands in solidarity with those fighting against systemic racism and anti-Blackness in America. We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McCade, and the countless other victims of violent racism, white supremacy, and police brutality. We believe that Black lives matter.
While we recognize that a statement of solidarity is not in itself a sufficient response, we express our genuine commitment to foster and sustain anti-racist efforts in our teaching, research, and community engagement. As scholars keenly aware of the power of language and literature both to perpetuate and to challenge racist ideologies, we will work against racial injustice and anti-Blackness by promoting racial equity in our own research and teaching and by examining the impact of our work on our students and the larger community.
We stand with those members of our community who are most directly affected by systemic racism in our country, and we are committed to ensuring that their voices are heard and valued.
Statement on Racial Violence, History, and the Potential of the Future
In the days after Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, the United States saw waves of pain and protest over the death of yet another African American at the hands of a white police officer. Unfortunately, we have seen incidents like this unfold before. Our nation’s history is haunted by this familiar pattern: white violence against people of color, the harassment of communities of color by police officers and other law enforcement agents (especially the Border Patrol), mobilization against that violence, and an extreme and vitriolic reaction to those demands for justice, equity, and inclusion. In some ways the murder of Floyd mirrored its antecedents, but in other ways it was singular. This death happened days after the nation learned that Auhmad Aubrey, a young African American man jogging in a white neighborhood, had been gunned down by white men; and a white woman played on racist tropes by calling 911 to “save” her from Christian Cooper, a Black man watching birds in Central Park who had simply ask her to leash her dog. It happened less than a year after a white nationalist killed 23 people and injured dozens of other shoppers in an El Paso Walmart, seeking to terrorize the city’s predominantly ethnic Mexican community. Moreover, Floyd’s death happened in the midst of a global pandemic that is disproportionally killing people of color, under an administration that has stoked the flames of racial animosity and has caged men, women, and children who were deemed security threats, when white supremacist organizations are growing in power, and as our nation’s leaders have turned their backs to the world.
Indeed, the George Floyd killing illuminates an indisputable fact: the United States has yet to truly confront its unbroken legacy of racism, xenophobia, and nativism that is ultimately rooted in white supremacy and informs our present moment.
As scholars, teachers, and students of history, we know that injustice has been met with demands for justice. We know that inequality has been met with demands of equality. We try to teach our students about the pain and suffering of marginalized communities while we simultaneously foreground movements for freedom, democracy, anti-racism, and representation. We can analyze the roots of the violence and racism that caused the death of George Floyd, and we can trace the activism of groups such as Black Lives Matter as they cultivate a new society that values the humanity of all people of color. And yet, that knowledge is sometimes overshadowed by public debates that largely unfold online, where discussion can be superficial; or via the dominant news networks, where pundits offer soundbites rather than thoughtful historical analysis.
As scholars, educators, and students of history, we have a role to play in the events unfolding today. We can write statements of solidarity and we can express our alliance with the victims of racial violence, but we can do better. The discipline of history has for too long crafted narratives that uphold white supremacy, nationalism, and imperialism. We must work to dismantle those myopic visions of the past. We can start by acknowledging the United States’ imperial roots that led to violence against Native/ Indigenous peoples, African Americans, and Mexicans. We can obviously start with the courses we teach. Our classes can trace the origins of the present pain caused by imperialism, inequality, violence, and injustice; and we can foreground struggles for justice and equity. We can reframe historical narratives to excavate white supremacy as well as multi-dimensional alliances between and across communities of color, as well as (im)migrant communities, and the LGTBQ+ community. We can model anti-racist behavior every day and advocate for inclusion and diversity in our faculty and student body. We can recognize how our scholarship and pedagogy sometimes sustains white supremacy. We can create safe spaces in our classes and across campus, where students will feel comfortable to speak freely not only about histories of trauma, but of the ways in which that past informs the present. We can contest white privilege and the real and discursive ways in which it manifests itself in classroom discussion on campus. We can provide institutional, financial, and moral support for student groups representing marginalized and victimized communities. We can promote the elevation of African American Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies Programs to department status – with commensurate faculty and budgets – to provide a more robust analysis of the experiences of all people. We can establish community partnerships via our Public History program that foreground historical struggles for equality, we can offer internships oriented towards social justice, and we can recruit and retain all students of color to create a campus that accurately represents the diversity of the Paso del Norte borderlands.
We stand with the family of George Floyd, the African American Studies Program, the Black Student Union, and the UTEP students who have articulated a poignant sense of outrage at the recent killings. But we can do more than stand with them: we can walk with them to cooperatively build a future that brings change and transformation for all people of color, the marginalized, the under-represented, and the oppressed. We can build UTEP into an institution that facilitates a positive and productive future for everyone, that protects people from all walks of life, all nationalities, and identities. To do anything less would be to turn a blind eye to injustices of the past, to close our hearts to the inequities of the present, and to ignore the potential of a more just and egalitarian future.
We deeply regret the death of George Floyd and condemn police brutality and all forms of racism and discrimination. We repudiate the economic policies that today, as in the time of slavery, continue to generate death, poverty and mass incarceration by putting the economy above the care of life. As teachers of languages, literature and culture committed to the development of critical thinking, we must contest the legacy of slavery throughout the world that considered human life a commodity. We must critically reevaluate history for the purpose of exposing and confronting racism and state violence in the present. As educators, we must also devote ourselves to building a better future for our communities. The Department of Languages and Linguistics thus strives to provide an actively anti-racist education in which anti-blackness and any other form of racism will always meet our strongest opposition.
Translation Services Office:
The Translation Services Office is proud of serving and working directly with the diversity that characterizes the UTEP community, which is a reflection of many of us. We oppose any kind of expression of racial hatred and stand in solidarity to fight racism and inequality.
The UTEP Department of Music stands against racism and discrimination. We share in the efforts to protest against the anti-Black violence and police brutality that plagues our society. We mourn all those lives lost to violence motivated by discrimination of any type. Black lives matter.
Music, as a universal language, has been at the forefront of racial protest and reform in the past. As musicians, educators, and scholars, we are aware of the transformative power that music holds, and we will commit to creative activities and teaching that promote racial equality and create discourses of racial justice.
We pledge to use the tools of music and education to teach antiracism, to acknowledge the ways that racism has shaped our institutional practices, and to work to dismantle such racist structures. We stand with our campus and community as we work against anti-Blackness and for an environment that is truly more inclusive and equitable for all and that affirms the dignity of each individual.
We, the UTEP Department of Political Science, stand with our brothers, sisters, and nonbinary companions in the face of oppression, systemic racism, violence, and brutality.
If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Below are resources you may find valuable.
Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/
Unlearning Racism and Anti-Racism Reading List: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SKnipRtRC7FOAztqqVXfWDZNZ48keC1CGjPzMLzB0hM/edit
How to Take Anti-Racist Action: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/beyond-the-hashtag-how-to-take-anti-racist-action
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: https://naacp.org/campaigns/we-are-done-dying/
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/American Civil Liberties Union - https://www.aclu.org/
UTEP Counseling and Psychological Services: (915)747-5302
After Hours Crisis Line: (915) 747-5302
Dear Family of the UTEP Psychology Department:
The members of the UTEP Psychology Department are disturbed and saddened by recent hostilities targeting the Black community. We value a diverse and inclusive environment, safe to all people of color. I affirm to all that our Department is a safe place for Black people. We stand in solidarity in the fight against systemic racism and injustice.
After reflecting upon what we as a department can do in the face of multiple regional, national, and global social justice and health challenges, I want to share my appreciation that our department has been, is, and will be a department of inclusivity. As a faculty, a staff, among many talented, motivated, graduate and undergraduate students, while we interact in a vibrant higher education community in which we value a diversity of opinions, perspectives, and indeed diversity itself, we value the principles of doing so with integrity and mutual respect.
I appreciate many of the suggestions I have received for ways the department can nurture the dialogues that many of us are initiating among our own family and friends. First, I am sending a request to the administration to suggest the release of a statement, consistent with other universities, that reflects support for inclusivity. Second, we can keep each other apprised of events within UTEP and the region that may be of interest to our departmental community. Finally, when we resume in the fall, soliciting empirically based speakers to discuss these many critical topics at the forefront --from social justice to the pandemic-- and the many legal, social, health, and mental health antecedents and consequences that we are well positioned to assess and address must be a priority to include amid more traditional presentations from our talented students and faculty.
Finally, I want to note that in the midst of these historic, challenging, times, if you find yourself feeling stressed, isolated, or marginalized, please reach out to a friend, family member, or within the department, a colleague, your mentor, and me as needed. None of us is alone. Please also note that the University Counseling Center is an outstanding resource (https://www.utep.edu/student-affairs/counsel/resources/services-students.html).
We must hold our selves accountable in support Black People and hold each other accountable especially given UTEP was the first college in Texas to desegregate in 1955 when 12 Black students were admitted. (http://news.utep.edu/utep-and-naacp-celebrate-historic-milestones/) We must continue to be at the forefront.
Below is an upcoming resource for individuals in how to begin to dismantle racism and colorism in Latinx communities.
Below are links (petition and go fund me page) on how you can support (in case you have not already) to support George Floyd and his family.
These are additional action items you can take:
Call County Attorney Mike Freeman at 612-348-5550 to demand justice, accountability and/or policing changes. Call Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison at 651-296-3353. Call Gov. Walz at 651-201-3400.
Please be safe, strong and healthy!
Statement of Solidarity from the Women’s and Gender Studies Program Faculty
As feminist scholars and people of conscience, the faculty of UTEP Women’s and Gender Studies condemns the murder of George Floyd, white supremacy, and the extrajudicial killing of people of color. Law enforcement officers, police and border patrol agents, have killed most recently, George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Sergio Hernández Guereca in Ciudad JuarezEl Paso, Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth, Michael Ramos in Austin, José Rodríguez in Nogales and others. We recognize and bemoan the long history of intersectional oppression that informs the militarization of law enforcement and the over policing of Black and brown communities, including our own. We will continue our teaching, research, and other forms of feminist praxis, and will use these mediums to call for and work towards justice for the families and communities of the murdered as well as the radical liberation from systemic racism. We acknowledge that Black Lives Matter and stand in solidarity with those working to end anti-blackness.
As members of a binational community on the U.S.-Mexico border, we have experienced the ongoing presence of law and border enforcement in our communities. We share the outrage and collective grief experienced by our African American brothers, sisters and non-binary siblings and denounce the excessive use of force and brutality committed by law enforcement officers. We express our interracial solidarity in efforts that seek justice, transparency, and resolution in our communities.
Participation in daily experiences such as walking, running, driving, and existing in our skins should not be the reason for losing our lives. As faculty of Women’s and Gender Studies, we commit to confronting multiple expressions of fear, openly listening and talking about race and racism, creating safe spaces to discuss and confront institutional racism, and inviting people of color to represent themselves in their own voice and agency. We offer our continuous support to our students, faculty, staff, and community members in efforts to inform, educate, engage, and create the spaces and opportunities for our communities to be seen, heard, and respected in peace, justice, and human dignity.
Faculty from the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at UTEP.
Abbreviated List of Recommended resources:
Still Processing episode on Kaepernick
White Lies (NPR)
Whistling Vivaldi (NPR)
Walking While Black by Garnette Cadogan
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Why Seeing Yourself Represented on Screen Is So Important by Kimberley Lawson
75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
Resources for White People to Learn and Talk About Race and Racism
How to be An Antiracist by Ibram Kendi
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibfam X. Kendi
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntonsh
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Tatum
I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
Whistling Vivaldi by Claude Steel
White Awake by Daniel Hill
5 Tips for Being an Ally
Interview about I’m Still Here
Interview about White Awake
The New Negro
Daughters of the Dust