Four cultural centers on campus are working together to examine critical issues of equity and justice through a new partnership called the UNC Alliance.

The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, the Asian American Center, the Carolina Latinx Center, and the American Indian Center came together to launch the collaborative group and call for scholarship proposals in January.

Krupal Amin, Associate Director of AAC, said the UNC Alliance is a new way to connect cultural centers with each other.

“The Alliance Group is primarily an umbrella organization to help these four centers engage more effectively,” Amin said.

She said that some of the main priorities of the Alliance are cross-cultural unity and education with regard to race and ethnicity and their relationship to categories and social movements.

“When we talk about race or ethnicity or the experiences of marginalized groups, we do them in silos,” Amin said. “And I think it’s really important to recognize that some of these stories are really parallel to each other. Some of the impacts are very similar for different groups.”

Intersectional student projects

The Alliance’s first project, Intersectional Student Projects, is supported by a grant from an anonymous donor and aims to build deeper relationships between cultural centers.

PSI’s goals are to build relationships and generate projects that build solidarity among cultural organizations on campus and explore the meanings of community and belonging. The project also aims to help students consider UNC’s role in local and global communities.

Proposals must be in the interest of the entire campus, according to the Alliance’s website, and address the challenges faced by marginalized communities.

Examples of projects include events, screenings, publications and service partnerships. However, students can come up with anything they see the need for, Amin said. She said it could look like anything from art installations to miniature lectures, or other collaborative and innovative proposals.

Andrew Garbisch, a fifth-year graduate student and former member of the AAC Student Advisory Council, said bringing different cultures into one space is imperative to addressing racial and social injustices.

“We are much more intertwined and historically intertwined in these issues than we sometimes see,” Garbisch said.

Students have until February 15 to submit grant proposals to be considered as recipients of up to $5,000 in funding for their project. Funds must be spent in the Spring or Fall 2022 semesters.

The Alliance is hosting two upcoming Zoom workshops on February 8 and 9 for students to bring in questions or draft proposals. Applying students are encouraged to discuss their proposal with representatives of at least two of the individual cultural centers.

Josmell Perez, director of the Carolina Latinx Center, pointed out that center representatives are there as a resource for students who want to apply.

“If they reach out to us, we can help facilitate those bridges,” Perez said.

The partners involved in the Alliance will meet to evaluate the submitted proposals, analyzing factors such as budget, feasibility, research design and potential significance.

The Alliance does not have the exact number of proposals that will be chosen to receive funds, Perez said.

Looking forward

Currently, ISP is the only initiative announced by the Alliance, but Amin said there will be another grant for faculty and staff.

The goal of creating separate projects was to minimize competition, Amin said, so students would feel empowered to submit proposals.

“We want students to feel like they have the agency to be able to really manifest what they’ve been dreaming of in terms of these collaborations, so we’ll have an upcoming faculty-focused grant,” she said. declared.

For future projects, Perez said Alliance is working on new projects, but students are also encouraged to reach out and contribute their ideas.

“We have some interesting ideas, what we think, but we’re open to student feedback,” Perez said.

The Alliance provides a way for these cultural centers to collaborate and communicate, both with each other and with the student body — something that has been a long time coming, Amin said.

“We have a very big vision,” she said.

@natvarma

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