Inflammatory notes. Hateful symbols and flyers. A racially motivated potential threat to campus safety. In recent years, UNLV has grappled with them all.
Across the nation, matters of race and racism have dominated headlines with white nationalism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and political extremism on the rise. Then 2020 happened, replete with its cascading crises – from the coronavirus pandemic and health disparities to protests, riots, and cries for social justice and policing reform following the police-involved deaths of George Floyd and other unarmed Black Americans.
UNLV will confront these and other pressing issues in a four-part series of community conversations designed to unpack hate and its manifestations in various contexts.
“Hate Uncycled: What’s on your mind?” will feature campus and community experts and tackle a range of topics, including the effects of racism on public health; indigenous and land justice; and the First Amendment and policing. The programs will also highlight ways UNLV students, faculty, staff and alumni have worked to mitigate these issues in the community. The conversations, beginning at 1 p.m. Feb. 3, will stream live on YouTube and be recorded for viewing later.
Positive change may be slow to materialize, but it’s still possible through education and decisive action, said Roberta Sabbath, lead organizer of the series.
“Cynicism is the enemy of social change,” said Sabbath, religious studies coordinator for campus and community partnerships, and visiting assistant professor of English.
“We can make a change if we work together. Through these sessions, we plan to listen, build allies and network, and recognize opportunities to help, serve, and continue to develop the good work being done.”
Sabbath and program partners initiated the series in spring 2020 with a small “Hate/Uncycled” program centered on deconstructing hate, its origins, and how it manifests in different forms, especially on college campuses.
“Hate/Uncycled” is the Anti-Defamation League’s model for responding to hate and bias incidents by introducing a new cycle of education and prevention. The program helps prepare campus stakeholders to become leaders in challenging bias, working toward inclusion, and instilling policies and practices for equity.
'Hate Uncycled' schedule
The series kicks off with a Feb. 3 town hall addressing health, coronavirus, community engagement and social justice. Panelists will discuss persistent health disparities that are heightened during the pandemic and ways to amplify the voices of vulnerable populations. Panelists are:
- Brian Labus, assistant professor, School of Public Health
- Erika Marquez, assistant professor, School of Public Health, and vice chair of the Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition
- Jose Melendrez, executive director, School of Public Health Office of Community Partnerships, and chair of the Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition
- André C. Wade, state director, Silver State Equality and Silver State Equality Institute
- April Cruda, training officer for the UNLV Contact Tracing Team, UNLV School of Public Health, in partnership with the Southern Nevada Health District
- Myranda Moreno, 2020 public health graduate
- Bliss Requa-Trautz, executive director of Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center
The second session, Feb. 17, will focus on understanding anti-racism in a pandemic. Panelists will examine ways in which structural racism has further marginalized and disadvantaged people from a myriad of identity groups. Panelists are:
- Keith E. Whitfield, UNLV president and professor of psychology
- Joshua Padilla, president, Consolidated Students of UNLV
- Margaret I. Campe, director, Jean Nidetch CARE Center
- Mark Padoongpatt, associate professor, department of interdisciplinary, gender & ethnic studies
- Romeo Jackson, assistant director for social justice, Student Diversity and Social Justice
A March 3 town hall will focus on indigenous and land justice, and highlight the importance of land rights and environmental justice for communities of color. A final panel discussion March 10, highlighting public voice and security, will explore relationships between police and minority citizens and examine best practices.
All town halls will be live streamed at 1 p.m. on event days on YouTube. For more information and a complete lineup, visit the Hate Uncycled website.
Organizers hosted only one program of a planned three-part series before UNLV transitioned to remote teaching and learning due to coronavirus restrictions last year. Offerings have been revamped and expanded, and organizers say the programming is even more urgent in light of recent events, including the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6.
Understanding hate is more relevant than ever, said Chris Heavey, executive vice president and provost.
“Our work as educators is building a better world by promoting understanding, knowledge, and civil society. Hate, as we see all around us, is a corrosive force that drives people apart and undermines the ability of people to work together constructively,” he said. “These discussions will help us look at the origins and impacts of hate and help us begin to unwind it so we can create a more just and inclusive world.”
The series also underscores other university efforts to address structural inequities and better serve students and faculty of color at UNLV such as the Anti-Black Racism and Minority Serving Institutions task forces, said Heavey, whose office is a co-sponsor of the series.
Other co-sponsors are: the College of Liberal Arts and the offices of diversity initiatives and student diversity and social justice in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League and the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada.