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Mayor Keller Announces City Team to Support Race, History, and Healing Project

Project team will assist in guiding the community dialogue regarding the Oñate sculpture

June 19, 2020

Today, Mayor Tim Keller announced the City's Cultural Services Department has formed a diverse internal engagement team to support the Race, History, and Healing Project, a public process to discuss the future of the Oñate statue as part of the La Jornada installation at the Albuquerque Museum. The statue, a piece of the City's public art collection, is temporarily being held in storage after its recent removal from the museum grounds earlier this week.

"This capable, diverse team will facilitate a process to get meaningful public input with diverse voices from across Albuquerque," said Mayor Tim Keller. "This isn't just about whether or not to take down statues, it's about finding ways to heal these historical scars with a real reconciliation process. Here in our city, our art is a public community decision. No single elected official can make permanent changes. This is an opportunity for our city to find unity and address these concerns around our cultural identity."  

  • Hakim Bellamy, Cultural Services deputy director and former Albuquerque poet  laureate, will lead the City's engagement team.
  • Dr. Josie M. Lopez, art curator at the Albuquerque Museum, brings curatorial and academic experience as well as a local perspective to art and history. 
  • Alicia Manzano, Mayor's liaison for strategic partnerships, will serve as communications lead. 
  • Terry Sloan is the intergovernmental tribal liaison for the City of Albuquerque, and will serve in that capacity on this team.
  • Diego Lucero, media resources manager/GOV TV, brings more than 15 years of experience documenting government meetings and sharing stories about the community. He will bring the technical expertise essential to bring the community together via technology and media channels.
  • Tanya Lenti, marketing manager for Cultural Services, will provide communications support.
  • Diana Delgado, public outreach coordinator for Cultural Services, will support communications, outreach and connection with community members.   
  • Marisa Leger and Huitzil Bennett-Perez will both serve as digital engagement/social media content producers.  
  • Veronica Archuleta, special events manager for the City of Albuquerque, will bring her experience in event and meeting logistics as well as a strong relationship with Albuquerque's Old Town community.
  • Michelle Melendez, director of the City's Office of Equity and Inclusion, brings experience in social justice, economic development and public health.
  • Dr. Shelle Sanchez, director of Cultural Services, brings a background in arts and culture as well as facilitation and collaborative project management. 
  • Alan Armijo, director of public affairs, brings knowledge relating to city government and community engagement.

The community engagement team will support the coordination of a months-long public process to address next steps with the Oñate statue. The Race, History, and Healing Project could become an example for future processes to address placement, names, and representation in civic spaces.

Community advisors for the project will be introduced and will participate in a roundtable discussion on Monday, June 22 at 11:30 am that will be live streamed on Mayor Keller's Facebook page and open for media participation.