On February 15, 2011, Black Programs hosted comedian Tony Baker at NMSU’s Las Cruces campus. Born Anthony C. Baker in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Tony and his family quickly moved back to Chicago where he was raised on the south side. His passion for film started at a very early age and stayed with him throughout his life. While attending NMSU, his creative ideas were brought to the forefront while writing and directing films with his colleagues just for the love of it. His comedic skills developed while hosting pageants, talent shows, and fund-raising events on the NMSU campus. His love for theater developed when he made his stage debut in the University production of “Of Mice & Men” in which he received his first-acting award. After bringing his acting talents to the stage he knew that it was time to make the dream a reality and uprooted his family to California to pursue a career in acting and stand up comedy.
On March 14, 2011, Black Programs hosted Donna Brazile as part of Black History Month. Brazile is one of the best known, most influential African American women in modern American political life. She is Chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute (VRI), an organization established 2001 to help protect and promote the rights of all Americans to participate in the political process. Brazile, a well -versed Democratic political strategist, made history as the first African American woman to lead a major presidential campaign when she served as Campaign Manager for Gore-Lieberman 2000.
Prior to joining the Gore campaign, Brazile was Chief of Staff and Press Secretary to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia where she helped guide the District’s budget and local legislation on Capitol Hill. A veteran of numerous national and statewide campaigns, Brazile worked on several presidential campaigns for Democratic candidates. In addition to working at VRI, Brazile serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She has served as a senior lecturer at the University of Maryland, resident fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics and as the Senator Wyona Lipman Chair at Rutgers University Center for American Women in Politics. Brazile is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including Washingtonian Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, DC; Essence Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in America and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Award for Political Achievement.
On April 19, 2011, founder and CEO of Catapult Design, Heather Fleming, presented to the NMSU community. Fleming is a member of the Navajo Nation. Her hometown is Vanderwagon, NM and she is a graduate of Gallup High School. She attended Stanford University earning a degree in product design. Catapult Design is a Bay Area engineering firm that designs tools and technologies for disadvantaged communities worldwide. Her presentation was entitled: “Innovation for a Developing World: Technology, Products and Human Ingenuity Capable of Igniting Social Change.”
Catapult Design is unique in that it is a non-profit firm with a goal to engineer inexpensive devices using materials readily available to struggling communities in order to solve common problems. Catapult’s clients are organizations and end-users living and working in impoverished communities. Their products address needs such as: rural electrification, water purification and transport, food security, and improved health. Joe Graham, director of Indian Resource Development at NMSU, said he was excited when he heard about Fleming and learned she was a Navajo woman from New Mexico on the cutting edge of engineering and sustainability. “I believe she can help show local students that their education can be used to evoke real change,” Graham said.
The IRD partnered with the College of Engineering to allow Fleming to be a guest lecturer for NMSU Engineering students on April 20. Ms. Fleming, a lecturer at Stanford University, spoke to students about her work with Catapult Design, Engineers Without Borders and social entrepreneurship opportunities in impoverished communities and abroad. Dr. Kenny Stevens, faculty sponsor for NMSU’s chapter of EWB, organized the guest lecture. Heather Fleming was named a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for her work with EWB and Catapult Design. Graham said, “Heather is a rising star in an area I would call ‘Activist Engineering.’”
Photo is available at http://wwweb.nmsu.edu/photo/scripts/viewImage, CUTLINE: Heather Fleming, CEO of Catapult Design.
On March 10, 2011, Fiestas Latinas 2011 was kicked off by the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) at Guthrie Hall. Frances Garcia, the Inspector General of the Government Accountability Office, spoke about her life and career. She shared advice for students on how to succeed, no matter what the profession. Ms. Garcia comes from a family of farm workers and became a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Government Financial Manager. She is a founding member of ALPFA and a past-national president of the organization. Ms. Garcia served as Chair of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Tribunal, where she pioneered legislation establishing the royalty rates for the cable industry, the recording industry, noncommercial broadcasting, and the jukebox industry. Ms. Garcia also spoke about her role in the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as well as her thoughts on the qualities and skills that make great leaders in society today. Ms. Garcia joined the GAO in 1986 and was appointed as the Inspector General in 1996.
On March 30, 2011, NMSU College of Business Doctoral Candidate Joe Gladstone, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana and a descendant of the Nez Perce people, presented to the NMSU community. His presentation was entitled, “Old Man and Coyote Barter: Discovering the Native Trading Spirit.”
According to Gladstone’s research, most of the current literature regarding American Indian economic development is focused on two areas: challenges that Native American business professionals face from their own communities; and tribal economic policies and socio-cultural challenges that discourage private tribal business development. Gladstone’s research addressed what is missing in the current research: an understanding of how tribal business people draw upon their distinct cultures and values to organize and form business strategies. The positive role of Native American culture and values in designing organizational strategy was explored in this forum.
“Gladstone’s research demonstrates how a lack of understanding of tribal people is an obstacle for externally driven business interests,” said Joe Graham, director of Indian Resource Development at NMSU. As a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, Gladstone has an internal perspective regarding the development of tribal business and believes the inclusion of traditional community values is critical when organizing businesses that will operate on or interact with tribal areas. “Gladstone’s approach could aid in the development of new business initiatives on Indian reservations,” Graham said. “The recognition of a tribe’s culture and value system is the first step to successful business practices on tribal lands.”
Photo is available at http://wwweb.nmsu.edu/photo/scripts/viewImage
CUTLINE: New Mexico State University Ph.D. candidate Joseph (Joe) Gladstone (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)
On April 12, 2001, the Sexual and Gender Diversity Resource Center hosted Sylvia Guerrero as the first speaker during Spring 2011 GLBTQ Week. A native Bay Area resident, Sylvia Guerrero is the mother of four children and comes from a family of 14. In 1999, one of Sylvia’s children confided to her that despite being born a boy, she had never felt comfortable being male. Instead, this child, who was always very feminine, felt she was and should become a woman. This child would soon become known to the world as Gwen Amber Rose Araujo. By 2002, Gwen was living full-time as a woman. Tragically, in October of that year, Gwen was brutally murdered in Newark, California by at least four people with whom she was recently acquainted. She was just 17. Several of these assailants have been sentenced and are serving jail time for their part in Gwen’s senseless death.
In the following months, Sylvia and her family and friends were thrust into the forefront of transgender activism. Learning as she went along, Sylvia began to speak out about the pain and injustice that her daughter and her family suffered – and suffer still – due to societal ignorance and transphobia. A 2006 Lifetime movie, A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story, captured Gwen’s journey to self-acceptance and her mother’s determination to educate others about transgender people. As the quest to bring Gwen’s murderers to full justice continues, Sylvia is committed to protecting other families from experiencing such pain. Sylvia speaks at middle and high schools about transgender awareness and understanding. She also speaks to people who recognize her on the street, youth in her town, community groups, LGBT groups, and other organized events about Gwen’s experiences in school and the workplace. and about the need for societal change and education regarding transgender equality. Sylvia’s dedication to speaking out about familial acceptance and educating others about transgender people sends a powerful message that change is not only possible, but that one day transgender people like Gwen will be honored and protected for living openly as their true selves.
On April 16, 2011 LaDonna Harris spoke at the American Indian Program Graduation Ceremony held at Hotel Encanto. Harris, President of Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), is a remarkable statesman and national leader who has enriched the lives of thousands. She has devoted her life to building coalitions that create change. She has been a consistent and ardent advocate on behalf of Tribal America. In addition, she continues her activism in the areas of civil rights, environmental protection, the women’s movement and world peace. Raised in Indian country on a farm near the small town of Walters, Oklahoma during the Great Depression by her maternal grandparents (an Eagle Medicine Man and a devout Christian woman), Harris modeled a life and career of mutual respect and personal choice and has an abiding belief that there is room for all traditions. Because she spoke only Comanche when she entered grade school and because of her unique upbringing, Harris views all things with the wisdom and values of two cultures.
Harris has raised three children: Kathryn Harris Tijerina, the New Mexico Director for External Affairs for the University of Phoenix; Byron is a technician in television production in Los Angeles; and Laura works with her mother as Executive Director at Americans for Indian Opportunity. Harris is especially proud of her grandson, Sam Fred Goodhope who calls her by the Comanche word for grandmother, Kaqu. Her compassion, vision, and sense of justice has lent us a deeper and richer understanding of the true meaning of public service. As she expands her work with Indigenous peoples internationally, LaDonna Harris draws upon the rich and wise values of her Comanche tribal culture to serve her tribe, Indian people and all peoples.
On February 9, 2011, Black Programs hosted Victor Lewis, an internationally recognized leader in the field of anti-oppression diversity work and alliance building, during Black History Month. As an educator, trainer and activist, he has conducted keynote speeches, seminars, workshops and “train the trainer” programs throughout the U.S. as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Germany. Lewis is currently Co-Director of the Center for Diversity Leadership, a human relations training and consulting firm
A veteran diversity worker with national recognition, he specializes in teaching, guiding and in-spiring individuals and organizations in the creation of communities learning and action to heal and dismantle racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and the other “isms” that undermine people’s ability to live, love and work well together.
GOVERNOR RICHARD LUARKIE
On May 3, 2011, Governor Richard Luarkie from the Pueblo of Laguna visited the NMSU Las Cruces campus. His visit was coordinated and facilitated by NMSU’s Indian Resource Development (IRD) program. The Governor met with various NMSU administrators including President Couture and the Deans of the colleges. He also met with key administrators in several units including SAEM, HRTM and the Arrowhead Center.
The visit coincided with spring semester final exams. Even with the added stress of finals week, Laguna Pueblo students turned out en masse to greet their Governor in a meeting held in the American Indian Student Center. Luarkie stated that he knows students are under great pressure during finals week and the end of the semester and wanted to visit NMSU to help give them an extra bit of inspiration. “We want students to know that their families and community are conscious of the fact that they are here in school and that we’re proud of their academic achievements,” said Joe Graham, director of Indian Resource Development at NMSU and member of the Laguna Pueblo.
DR. MANNING MARABLE
On February 24, 2011, Dr. Manning Marable visited NMSU’s campus. A national leader in the fields of African American studies and ethnic studies, Dr. Marable is currently Columbia University’s Professor of Public Affairs, Political Science, and History, in addition to being the founder and director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University. Widely respected for his insight on the politics of race in America, Dr. Marable also champions the struggles of racial minorities, women, lesbian, gay, labor and social justice groups. His richly detailed yet powerful presentations generate interest and greater understanding about black history and America’s racial dilemma. Dr. Marable’s soon-to-be-published comprehensive biography of Malcolm X presents surprising new details about this charismatic black leader’s life and assassination. Marable presents a dynamic visionary who remains relevant and vital for understanding race in America today.