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New Mexico State University Black Programs and the NMSU Black Student Association have a wide range of activities scheduled for Black History Month.
In partnership with the NMSU Dance Department, there events include a master class presented on African dance, including multiple drummers, said NMSU Associate Provost for Student Success Patrick Turner.
Programming is also in partnership with the NMSU Athletics Department and the University of New Mexico, said Black Programs Interim Director Bobbie Green, who is also president of the Doña Ana County NAACP.
Echoing the message of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Black History Month events will focus on nonviolence, Green said.
The month also will target members of Generation Z (generally defined as born between the mid- to late 1990s and the early 2010s).
“How can we better reach them?” Turner said, recognizing that increasingly, younger people don’t identify with a specific political party but are very connected to the social justice movement.
As Black History Month reflects, connecting all generations includes poetry, music, dance and spoken word, Turner said, and the need for “galvanizing people through social media.”
Black Programs moved from Garcia Center to the second floor of Corbett Center last summer, said Green, who is Black Programs’ fourth interim director since permanent director Festus Addo-Yobo left in 2019.
Turner said NMSU interviewed two candidates for permanent director of the program in January.
NMSU said it will make an announcement soon regarding a permanent director for Black Programs.
It took four years to get the university to move Black Programs into its new space in Corbett, he said, and the program continues weekly meetings with NMSU leadership to “keep making people accountable.”
Black Programs is “not being seen as a priority,” Turner said.
Green questioned why it was acceptable that NMSU has only one tenured faculty member who is black.
“The conversation about representation matters,” Turner said. “Students of color need that familiar face.”
At the same time, Green said students who come into Black Programs’ new office, “feel safe. It feels good. This is a victory. When I walk in here, I’m excited,” she said.
“You fight every step of the way for something you deserve and reach for,” Turner said. “That’s what Black History Month is about. The fight continues.”
For more information, contact Black Programs at 575-646-4208 and email@example.com.