We sit on unceded lands of the Pocumtuc Nation and the Norrwutuck community, among many nations, where again, deplorable racist email attacks have been perpetrated against Black members and organizations of our campus community and among our CLACLS membership. CLACLS continues to stand in solidarity with Black and Afro-Latinx colleagues and students in the face of acts of hate. We understand the intersectionality that ties our Black and Indigenous Latinx communities to Black Americans in our struggles for love and liberation within racial capitalism.
CLACLS also acknowledges how White supremacy has put elements of our communities and peoples in opposition to each other to serve divisive colonial interests. We recognize that our histories, past and present, are and always have been inextricably connected by centuries of continued resistance against the forces of systemic racism, imperialism, and extractive economies.
As former CLACLS Director Laura Valdiviezo previously stated, “We have witnessed for too long how those who dedicate their lives to demand a just and better life for their communities in profoundly unequal societies are criminalized and murdered; and how even the aftermath of natural disasters, and now COVID-19, serve to further push the knee on the neck of Black, Brown and Indigenous bodies, our brothers and sisters.”
We continue to confront violence across the Americas targeting Afro-Latin American youth and Black and Indigenous women and LGBTQ individuals as we acknowledge the need and urgency to address anti-Blackness within our own Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx communities here at UMass, in our families, and within ourselves.
In order to deepen our solidarity and address anti-Blackness within our community, we are developing an agenda to promote AfroLatinx, Afro Latin American, and Caribbean scholarship and activism on our campus. Current CLACLS initiatives include plans to host Fulbright Afro Latin American, Afro Caribbean, and Indigenous Latin American scholars and activists, and to inaugurate a Taino Studies Abroad program. These initiatives will be impactful but will take some time to launch. We must also act now. We commit to organize a CLACLS-wide Me and White Supremacy study group (Saad, 2020) this summer to understand anti-Black attitudes and behaviors as well as intragroup racism. We recognize that doing this work is a critical part of our own healing.
CLACLS understands these issues in their local, national, and their hemispheric scope, and commits to self-examination and change, and to support and stand in solidarity with UMass Black and Afro-Latinx students, faculty, staff, and beyond.
We are Community and welcome coming together to process these harms and fortify our alliances with love.
The CLACLS Team
Stephanie Fetta, Director
Mildred Reyes, Undergraduate Student Leader
Aitor Gavín, Graduate Student Leader
Renier Estevez, Graduate Student Leader