Public dialogue will explore 'Black and Latinx Solidarity'

Emory Report | Feb. 20, 2018

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Emory’s James Weldon Johnson Institute hosts ‘Black and Latinx Solidarity’ on Feb. 22 to discuss black and Latino/Latina political relations amid a resurgence of white nationalism. Photo courtesy of JWJI.

The relationship and possibilities for solidarity between black and Latino/Latina Americans will be the focus of a public symposium hosted by Emory’s James Weldon Johnson Institute (JWJI) for the Study of Race and Difference. 

The program takes place Thursday, Feb. 22, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Administration Building (WHSCAB) Auditorium. Admission is free with an Emory ID and $2.50 for the public. Those planning to attend should sign up here.

JWJI Director Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory, will moderate the discussion, which features a panel of four speakers:

  • Alan Aja, associate professor of Puerto Rican and Latino studies at Brooklyn College and author of “Race, Racialization, and the Miami Afro-Cuban Experience”
  • Andrea Benjamin, assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri and author of “Racial Coalition Building in Local Elections” 
  • Darlene Rodriguez, assistant professor of social work and social justice activist, Kennesaw State University 
  • Angela Stuesse, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and author of “Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South.” 

Black and Latino/Latino people are often portrayed in academic and popular discussions as comrades in inequality and discrimination. By implication, these groups are perceived to be natural allies, Gillespie says. 

While there are many examples of cross-group collaboration, there are also distinctions in their experiences, which can sometimes lead both groups to different and sometimes competing policy preferences, she continues. 

The public dialogue will examine under what conditions both groups forge collaborations and what conditions exacerbate tensions, Gillespie says, noting that each of the featured panelists will bring unique insights and perspectives.

Stuesse will address the urgency of these questions, including how scholarship on solidarity efforts can inform contemporary organizing strategies. Rodriguez will speak about how understanding and promoting positive relations between the groups are vital to the nation’s future — especially given the shifting demography of the U.S. population.

Aja will lend historical context to the racial and economic injustices shared by the two groups. Benjamin will offer insights that address the challenges each group faces in cities, from gentrification and affordable housing to community/police relations and school re-segregation.

For more information, visit here.