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Friday August 19th

History, Race and a Way Forward commission discusses naming removals and land acknowledgement

Members of the Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward meet virurtally on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, for the last full public commission meeting of the year.
Buy Photos Members of the Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward meet virurtally on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, for the last full public commission meeting of the year.

The members of the Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward met Monday for the last full public commission meeting of the year. 

Members discussed topics like a new ad-hoc committee to review naming removals, progress with the University's land acknowledgment and the Unsung Founder's Memorial webinar series.

What’s new?

  • The Chancellor appointed an ad-hoc committee to review naming removal recommendations for Campus Facilities buildings.
    • The committee, chaired by Dean of the School of Government Mike Smith, has met four times and has another meeting coming up this week or the next.
    • Patricia Parker, co-chairperson of the Commission, said the ad-hoc committee is a direct result of the commission’s work. 
    • “(The committee formation) is an accomplishment of this commission in terms of working with the Chancellor,” she said.
  • Co-chairperson Jim Leloudis said that Commission members have been working on language for the land acknowledgment project, which will be formally adopted by UNC. 
    • “We want to make sure, or I would want to make sure that, professors, when beginning their classes, are reading the statement, and understand the power that such a statement can have, and the substance of it,” said Simona Goldin, a research associate professor in public policy on the Commission.
    • A draft of the acknowledgment has been shared with Greg Richardson, executive director of the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs, to review before it is formally submitted.
    • “We hope to move along with this pretty quickly so we can bring a completed draft to this body for your review and approval and get it in place sometime early in the spring semester,” Leloudis said to the Commission.
  • The commission recently signed a contract with an outside firm to work on the Barbee Cemetery project.
    • Leloudis said the firm will complete updated ground-penetrating radar mapping of the cemetery site to get a thorough understanding of its archaeology.
    • The mapping is scheduled for January 12, 2022. 
  • The commission also discussed the progress of the Unsung Founders Memorial: Past and Present webinar series that was launched on Oct. 18.
    • "The first webinar was intended to educate around the origin story of the memorial," Parker said. "We included panelists who were there at the beginning at the time of its conceptualization and dedication."
    • Approximately 200 people signed up to participate in the webinar.

What’s next?

  • Members shared ideas to help undergraduate students, specifically first-years, be more educated about the communities surrounding Chapel Hill, including historically Black neighborhoods.  
    • "Just making sure our students have a full understanding of the community that surrounds them," said Delores Bailey, executive director at EmPOWERment Inc. and Chapel Hill community member who is on the Commission. 
    • “There’s much more to Chapel Hill than what’s inside the rock walls,” Leloudis said.
  • The commission is planning a series of in-person community conversations to get perspectives on the Unsung Founders memorial.

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