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UNC Alliance hosts first event on Tuesday

Carolina Latinx Center
Josmell Pérez, director of the Carolina Latinx Center, poses for a portrait with members of the Latinx Center's Student Leadership Alliance on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.

The Alliance — a collaborative entity among the four academic and community engagement centers on campus— held its first event on  Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Stone Center Theater: the Alliance Directors’ Conversation.

At the event, directors from each of the centers discussed the formation of the Alliance, as well as the priorities of the Alliance and the individual centers. 

Founded in 2020, the Alliance brings together the Asian American Center, the Carolina Latinx Center, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History and the American Indian Center. 

Heidi Kim, director of the AAC, said the centers wanted to find a way to work together to create more critical conversations on campus that speak to issues of racial and ethnic relations. 

“We want to really talk about what it means to do work on race, ethnicity and indigeneity,” Kim said. “Why that's meaningful, why it's needed on our campus and in our states and also what it means to be doing it right now."

Several students told Kim they wanted to see more dialogue and allyship on campus, which she said was an essential part of the motivation for the event. 

She said the Alliance is looking forward to being able to fund grant proposals for new intersectional student or staff and faculty-led projects.

The Alliance is offering up to $5,000 to promote collaborative projects that address challenges for BIPOC communities. The deadline for applications is Friday, Sept. 23.

“I'm also hoping that we're going to hear from the audience and also really encourage the audience to get involved and get behind us,” Kim said. “And hopefully, that'll help us figure out the direction to go because this is a brand new group, so I feel like we have infinite possibilities for events.” 

Danielle Hiraldo, director of the AIC and member of the Lumbee Tribe said that the Alliance — and the centers that make it up — actively work both in their individual communities and around UNC's campus. 

"When the centers come together, we build a critical mass of underrepresented and often marginalized voices working alongside each other, and, in times, our work intersects to advance our individual communities’ priorities," she said in an email.

Hiraldo also mentioned that the director's conversation allows centers to talk about their work in local communities, acting as academic and community engagement centers instead of solely acting as cultural centers.  

Josmell Pérez, director of the CLC, said the Alliance's purpose is for the centers to come together to exchange ideas, build opportunities, collaborate and have a sense of community.

“So this is our first event, our first coming together,” Pérez said. “The conversation in itself is going to be just that — a conversation. We're gonna discuss just that question of what did we all think about the Alliance and how it was formed and what we hope to get out of it. And so, it'll be an opportunity for us to just have frank and honest conversations with one another and invite the participants there to be part of that.”

He said that each of the directors all bring different ideas, perspectives and energy to the table at the Alliance. 

“I can't wait to see what it looks like two years from now, four years from now, 10 years from now,” Pérez said.

Joseph Jordan, director of the Stone Center, said one of the catalysts for organizing the Alliance was to give the centers an opportunity to examine both statewide and societal events in a comparative way when it comes to different communities. 

“To try to understand some of the current social and political currents that influence how we are understood here on campus and other places, and also to ask questions that we felt weren't being asked about how we exist and work in this world today,” Jordan said. 

He said the event is meant for anyone who would like to attend, including students, faculty, staff, administrators and the community. He also noted the importance of the event because it is the first time that campus will see the Alliance all together in one place. 

The event offered students a Campus Life Experience Credit, a new addition to the IDEAs in Action Curriculum


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