Statement from the Division for Equity and Inclusion regarding George Floyd and Police Brutality

(MAY 30, 2020) - DEI finds the actions of the officers who killed Mr. George Floyd unconscionable and we denounce police brutality against communities of color. Further we are aware of and condemn white nationalist groups that are taking cover behind legitimate national protests concerning George Floyd & police brutality, to incite violence against black businesses and civil society.

We call on chiefs of police nationally to condemn the actions of the officers who killed Mr. George Floyd and to renounce practices of police brutality against Black communities and other marginalized folk. As well, we call on police departments at universities and in communities to require diversity education and to require a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion as essential criteria for hiring and promotion.

Below we provide the transcript of an interview with Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina who has called on statements of condemnation against the actions of those responsible for killing Mr. George Floyd, as Chief Colina said, “not [just] from community leaders, not [just] from mayors or governors, no, from law enforcement …leadership,… so officers can hear that message and understand…”.

 Interview by Joy Reid, AM Joy 30 May 2020 MSNBC, 9am MT

Joy Reid from MSNBC says, “it is not surprising that the demonstrations have been extremely angry. … How do police police people who are angry because of that cruelty?” She asks how can police departments expect the Black community to comply with curfews and to work with them to quell violence incited by white nationalists who are using peaceful Black protestors as cover.

 Response from Miami Chief of Police Jorge Colina: It is not impossible, we have to keep working at it. The first thing that happens is that there needs to be is an united voice from law enforcement, not [just] from community leaders not [just] the mayors or governors. No, from Law enforcement coming out and saying this is horrific. Open your eyes and look at what happened here. There is no excusing it. There is no, “well what happened beforehand. What’s his criminal history. What prompted this action” Nothing justifies that. And that needs to be said. And it needs to be said outloud. So the officers from the leadership on down the officers can hear that message and understand it is your job to say, “don’t do that! It is unacceptable. Please stop it.” And when the community sees that this voice is being heard and you’re being proactive on the law enforcement side, then we can start that process of starting to regain some trust. but if we don’t do that, and historically we are terrible at communicating. If we don’t do that, this is going to continue. It’s got to start from police leadership and push down to every officer on the street. You can’t be afraid to speak up.”

Assata Zerai, Ph.D.
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion 
University of New Mexico 

Links to Press and Campus and Community Statements 

Statement from UNM
President Stokes and & 
UNM Police Chief Kevin McCabe 

Statement from UNM African American Student Services


Statement from
UNM Athletics 

Statement from UNM Chicana/Chicano Studies


Statement from
UNM Department of Sociology


Statement from 
UNM Health Sciences Center Core Leadership 

Statement from 
UNM History Department

Statement from UNM Office of Equal Opportunity


UNM Staff Support Statement


Mayor Keller and City Officials Denounce Racism and Address Incident at an Albuquerque Protest

Article: Mural of George Floyd 


Statement from VP for Equity and Inclusion Dr. Assata Zerai regarding threats against Dr. Charles Becknell, Jr., Director of Africana Studies

(MAY 4, 2020) - At UNM, as Lobos each of us defines all of us. So when statements of hate and threats of physical harm are made against one in our pack, we stand resolute to communicate our inclusive values and that we will not tolerate such assaults against one of our own.

As VPEI, I was greatly distressed to learn that Dr. Charles Becknell, Jr, Director of Africana Studies was recently sent threats against his person. There is a long history of threats and intimidation against people of color, and specifically African Americans in the United States. At UNM, we declare that anti-blackness will not gain a foothold.

We urge anyone who has received any offensive communications via e-mail or in person to reach out to the UNM PD and OEO and fill out a hate bias incident report at

Reports can be made anonymously and are investigated fully. 

UNM has confidential reporting sites for students, staff, and faculty who may not be sure if they wish to proceed with an OEO report or if their concern warrants an OEO report. Confidential advocates can be reached at:, or

During this unprecedented time, many are facing challenges due to incidents of micro aggressions and racial bias and we urge individuals report to the agencies noted above and to visit the newly developed to access resources and support.

For those in the community who wish to understand more about the heightened climate concerns during COVID-19, we encourage you to tune into our DEI webinar series. DEI has also worked with constituency groups to develop a list of guidelines for establishing policy during COVID-19. These are displayed on the University COVID-19 website.

In the meantime, we want the UNM community to know that we greatly value Dr. Becknell and that we stand with him, and the Africana Studies community.

Best wishes.

Assata Zerai, Ph.D.
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion 
University of New Mexico 


Links to Press and Campus and Community Statements in Support of Africana Studies

President Stokes 

Provost's Academic Dispatch

UNM Black Faculty Alliance Statement on the Criminal Act of antiBlack Racist Terrorism against Dr. Charles Becknell, Jr., and the Program of Africana Studies


College of Arts and Sciences

Chicana/Chicano Studies and supporters


UNM College of the University Libraries and Learning Sciences on the Criminal act of anti-Black Racis Terrorism against 
Dr. Charles Becknell, the Africana Studies Program, and the University Libraries

UNM School of Law Faculty Letter of Support


UNM Staff Council

College of Education

College of Population Health

First Congregational United Church of Christ


Black Lawyers Association

FBI asked to investigate racist threats against UNM program director, ABQ Journal