The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday September 25th

Elevate: Amplifying voices in our community

Elevate is here to do exactly what it says — to give a platform to those whose voices are often silenced. This is a page to celebrate and uplift the underrepresented communities that make up Chapel Hill, who contribute to our culture and daily lives in ways that are often not reported. Elevate adds depth to stories across campus, the town and Orange County.


The page is in part put together and reported by members of the Sharif Durhams Leadership Program, a talent and leadership development course for DTH students from underrepresented groups. Elevate accepts pitches throughout the year for op-eds and letters from members of different groups in our community. Please send submissions to elevate@dailytarheel.com.



Jaci Fields was recently named the new Chair of the Carolina Black Caucus. She is pictured on Sept. 14, 2021.

Jaci Field wants to bring communities together as Carolina Black Caucus chairperson

UNC alumna Jaci Field is the director of the Eddie Smith Field House and a member of the Athletic Facilities and Planning staff. She was recently named chairperson of the Carolina Black Caucus, of which she has been a member for over 20 years. “I just realized how great it felt to not be an ‘other’ in a room, and was really stricken by the wonderful feeling of community and family in the room,” Field said of the CBC.

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Ramona Denby-Brinson, dean of the UNC School of Social Work, poses for a portrait at the SSW on Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2021. Denby-Brinson's appointment was approved on Aug. 5, making her the first Black woman to lead the school.

New dean of School of Social Work hopes to increase innovation and diversity

Ramona Denby-Brinson is the first Black woman to serve as dean of the UNC School of Social Work. She came to UNC from a position as a professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the Ohio State University College of Social Work. Denby-Brinson said she sees this opportunity as a way to use the UNC's strengths to tackle current social problems, specifically COVID-19, racism, social injustice and inequalities.

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Yalitza Ramos, the newly appointed director of the Campus Y, poses for a portrait at the building on Sept. 14, 2021.

UNC Campus Y names new director

On Aug. 26, Yalitza Ramos was announced as the new director of the Campus Y after having served as interim director for 18 months. Ramos is a double Tar Heel with a background in social work. While serving as interim director, Ramos was also director of the Bonner Leaders Program. She has worked with multiple local nonprofits and organizations throughout her time at UNC, including Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, the Orange County Literacy Council, the Compass Center for Women and Families and Girls on the Run.

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Saba Taj is a Durham based visual artist. Photo courtesy of Guido Villalba Portel.

Visual artist Saba Taj returns to UNC as a visiting lecturer

Taj, a queer Muslim artist with South Asian background, graduated from UNC with a Masters of Fine Arts in 2016 and is now serving as a visiting professor. Taj's artwork pulls from the intersection of their identities and takes influence from stories from the Quran and Islam. “My parents are immigrants from Pakistan,” Taj said. “I am a Southerner. I'm born and raised in North Carolina. I've been socialized as a woman, as well. And all of those things intersect and create a particular perspective I've added that's layered and that's hybrid.”

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DTH Screenshot.

IAAR-SLATE holds first research symposium for undergraduates

The event hosted ten undergraduate students who have conducted research on race, racism and racial equity. “I hope it opens up new questions that audience members might ask, new resources that they have to answer those questions," Faculty Director for Research for IAAR-SLATE Reneé Alexander Craft said. "I'm hoping that it deepens and enriches the dialogue that we have about race, racism and racial equity on UNC campus and beyond.”

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(From left to right) Political committee member Daniel Kang, President Anna Hattle and Senior Advisor Jessie Huang of the Asian American Student Association prepare to address the members of the organization in Bingham Hall on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019.

Looking back at 30 years of the Asian American Students Association

Amid the challenges of a virtual school year and COVID-19 last year, one of UNC’s first Asian-interest organizations — now called the Asian American Students Association (AASA) — remained strong. “The idea of having an Asian American community – it was something that I hadn’t grown up with before,” AASA president Katrina Jagadeesan said. “After meeting a couple of the members and getting to know them and participating, that was something I was missing in my life.”

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Senior Lissie Rivera is UNC's First-Generation Student Association (FGSA) President. FGSA works to "establish a sense of community on campus; there’s so many different identities that first-generation students have in addition to being first-gens” according to Rivera.

'Something to be celebrated': First-Generation Student Association creates community and support

The First-Generation Student Association at UNC aims to create a community that celebrates the difficulties and successes associated with being a first-generation student.  To help first-generation students transition to college life, FGSA hosts a variety of social and professional development events.  On Sept. 15, FGSA will be hosting an event called “Advocating for Yourself as a First-Gen,” where they will discuss email etiquette, how to be heard outside of the classroom and how to ask for recommendation letters.

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"It's been that way since the very beginning," says Geeta Kapur of the systemic racism at UNC. Kapur poses for a portrait at the Old Well with her new book, “To Drink from the Well: The Struggle for Racial Equality at the Nation’s Oldest University," on Tuesday, Sep 7., 2021.

To Drink from the Well: UNC alumna writes book on University history and systemic racism

Written by civil rights lawyer and UNC alumna Geeta N. Kapur, "To Drink from the Well: The Struggle for Racial Equality at the Nation’s Oldest Public University" is scheduled to release for Sept. 21. The book is a product of 11 years of research and is the first to provide a comprehensive look at the University's history of systemic racism from 1776.  Kapur discussed the book at an event at Flyleaf Books on Sept. 2. 

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Stan Vickers was the first Black student to attend a previously all-white school in Orange County. Vickers was honored by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education on August 12 60 years after the court case that desegregated local schools.

CHCCS honors Stan Vickers after 60th anniversary of desegregation efforts

The CHCCS Board of Education honored Stan Vickers at a recent school board meeting for his contributions to the original desegregation movements in Orange County 60 years ago.  When Vickers was 10 years old, Vickers’ family filed a lawsuit against the Chapel Hill City Board of Education to gain entry into Carrboro Elementary School where, at the time, only white students were allowed to attend.  "Every child should have a right to a good education," Vickers said at a board meeting last week. "We have come a way, but there’s a long way to go."

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