Members of the Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward met Monday to discuss projects for the upcoming year-and-a-half that would facilitate racial reconciliation on campus. The members also discussed what structure would be best for the commission moving forward.
This meeting follows the commission’s announcement that it was partnering with Turn of Events to host a series of focused conversation sessions among its subcommittees.
Co-chairperson Jim Leloudis said Monday’s meeting was the last meeting of this partnership because they had successfully completed their focused conversations.
“I hope this at least began to have some of the conversations that needed to be had,” Mayme Webb-Bledsoe, leader of Turn of Events, said. “I hope this allows for you to really think about your work by having this in front of you again.”
- At the beginning of the meeting, Patricia Parker, co-chairperson, said that one of the main focuses of the meeting would be deciding the best structure for the commission moving forward.
- She said it would be important for commission members to work together to best utilize the limited members and resources they have.
- “That’s going to be one of the outcomes of our meeting is to think about how we best do our work together,” Parker said.
- Commission members referenced previous conversation sessions and highlighted certain values that they wanted to uphold in their work.
- Members of the commission hope their work will amplify diverse voices both on UNC's campus and in the Chapel Hill community.
- Each of the commission members then voiced opinions regarding plans for the upcoming year.
- The Commission mapped its ideas, and members voted on which projects they felt were most important. Members also identified projects and items that had been missing and should be prioritized moving forward. Some of these projects include:
- The Barbee Cemetery Project, which plans to research the history of those that were enslaved by the Barbee family. The commission hopes to develop a process for engaging the community in determining the next steps for the project.
- An equity initiative in local schools to conduct an inquiry regarding UNC’s history in local education.
- A land acknowledgment project, which will seek direction from Native Americans in the community while also conducting research on University lands.
- Ronald Harris, a member of the Engagement, Ethics and Reckoning committee, said it would be important to have a future outreach system with the community.
- “We generally had an understanding that one of the things that we’ve had challenges in is getting this information out to the public, whether that’s into the University or in the community,” Harris said.
- The next full commission meeting will occur on May 24 at 3 p.m. via YouTube Livestream.
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