Center for Holocaust, Genocide, & Human Rights Studies Mission Statement
The Center for HGHR Studies is dedicated to research, education, and outreach.
Understanding the causes and lasting consequences of mass violence are essential for the prevention of future atrocities. The Center is committed to innovative research and to education, recognizing the need to not only learn from the past but to confront injustice and promote human rights in our own world.
- Our faculty are engaged in cutting-edge research.
- In April 2019 we hosted our first tri-annual international conference: “Denial: The Final Stage of Genocide.”
- The Center organizes research projects and symposia with graduate and undergraduate students.
- We bring leading scholars, artists, and activists to the campus and community.
- We organize Study Abroad trips to Berlin/Krakow/Auschwitz, and beginning in 2021 to Rwanda.
- We offer a minor in HGHR Studies.
- We work with other educators to offer workshops and other teacher-training initiatives.
- We are investigating the possibility of launching a Masters program.
- We organize speaker series, film-showings, musical performances, and art exhibits.
- We work with our partners in the region to support our refugee and immigrant neighbors.
- The HGHR Center organizes and supports initiatives to advance women’s rights and LGBTQ rights and to combat poverty, racism, xenophobia, and other social ills.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
We must look at ourselves and our institutions and fight for immediate, transformative change.
June 1, 2020
Re-posted April 12, 2021, after the murder of Daunte Wright a few miles from the site of Floyd’s murder
The public lynching of George Floyd, the hunting down and lynching of Ahmaud Aubrey, the murder in her own home of Breonna Taylor, and the knowledge that countless similar atrocities are never recorded or brought to light: There are no words to convey the horrors of these crimes or to adequately tell the tale of the centuries-old genocidal history of racism and white supremacy in this land.
We are grief-stricken and enraged by these atrocities. We are also humbled and do not believe that self-aggrandizing or vague statements are needed. It is more worthwhile to challenge one's own practices and culture, to take immediate and meaningful action, and to elevate and amplify voices that need to be heard.
- On our campus and other UNC campuses, workers in housekeeping, maintenance, dining services, and other occupations who are indispensable members of our campus communities -- workers who are predominantly African-American and other peoples of color -- are exploited and demeaned, and denied a collective voice.
- Rather than serving their presumed mission to the public good, universities devise creative ways to extract more money from their students and more labor from their staff and faculty.
- The coronavirus crisis has disproportionately affected Black people yet our universities rush toward decisions for Fall 2020 without concern for, or serious consultation with, African-American faculty and students and with even less concern for our underpaid workers in housekeeping, maintenance, groundskeeping – and at many universities, including UNCC, dining services has been contracted out to corporations with poor records for wages and working conditions.
- For many decades, American universities have entered alliances with military and police forces that violate the human rights of peoples of color and other oppressed groups not only at home, but around the world.
A long list of such outrages would be easy to draft. A very very long list, which will continue to grow as long as our universities are dominated by neoliberal corporate values and interests.
African Americans suffer disproportionately from these practices and policies. UNC Charlotte and other universities must confront these issues and immediately make real changes if they presume to care about Black lives.
This is a time for action and also a time for listening, which can itself be a form of action and an impetus to deeper commitment.
Please listen to these voices:
"... We recognize that our academic institutions and research collaborations — despite big talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion — have ultimately failed Black people. Demands for justice have been met with gradualism and tokenism, as well as diversity and inclusion initiatives that — while sometimes well-intentioned — have had little meaningful impact on the lived experiences of Black students, staff, researchers, and faculty. Black representation among physics faculty is non-existent at most institutions, and it is widely known that Black students often feel unwelcome, unsupported, and even unsafe in their physics departments and predominantly white campuses.
Anti-Blackness is pervasive throughout academia, and the number of students and faculty in particle physics and other subfields make this very clear. Moreover, anti-Blackness affects all aspects of Black peoples’ lives.
.... We are not calling for more diversity and inclusion talks and seminars. We are not asking people to sit through another training about implicit bias. We are calling for every member of the community to commit to taking actions that will change the material circumstances of how Black lives are lived — to work toward ending the white supremacy that not only snuffs out Black physicist dreams but destroys whole Black lives."...
"Equity in 2020 Requires More Than a Diversity Statement"
Chronicle of Higher Education, June 7
"...For Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, and students of color, assembling in person is often the only way to voice urgent equity concerns to institutions of power. Campus-based activism is vital to those groups. Yet in-person assembly and protest in the midst of a pandemic add an infection risk to already marginalized students. If an institution fails to hear their equity concerns now, those students will be forced to physically assemble on the campus in ways that further expose them and their families to disease.
The horrifying killing of George Floyd — and so many other Black victims of police and state violence — has already forced Black people to protest in the streets under dangerous conditions. But in academe, we have a better and safer way to give space and voice to our students. At this critical juncture, senior administrators can either be part of the solution or part of the problem.
How, then, can institutions deal with the threat to assembly presented by Covid-19, and demonstrate a real commitment to equity and diversity? How can senior leaders move beyond tweeting statements of solidarity, and instead start ensuring that Black, Indigenous, and other students of color are actually protected on campuses?..."