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City Advocates and Experts Stand Up Against Racist Threats of Violence Directed at APS Student

Urged APS board to address acts of hatred, offer support and coordination.

Dec. 15, 2021

Today, City of Albuquerque advocates and experts are joining community members in standing up against racist threats of violence towards students, including most recently those targeting a Black student at La Cueva High School. City specialists on education, restorative justice and equity attended APS’ board meeting to urge APS to take acts of hatred seriously. The City offered support to APS, including through the Kids’ Cabinet Public Safety Committee, Metro Crime Initiative and Violence Intervention Program.

“Creating a culture where young people can be free from violence and racism takes all of us - from our homes, to our schools, to our government institutions. It is unacceptable to treat these acts as commonplace; no kid should ever have to worry about gun violence and discrimination in their places of learning,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “It’s a fact that gun violence decreases when kids can trust adults enough to come to them with concerns. Adults, especially those in positions of authority, have an obligation to address these hateful acts just as we would if it was our own kids being threatened and intimidated. We appreciate APS’ affirmative statements and commitment going forward.”

Community members and representatives of community organizations spoke at the APS meeting. Specialists from the City of Albuquerque spoke at the meeting urging leaders to take these incidents seriously and offering support.

“We call on APS to conduct a thorough investigation of the entire incident – both the gun violence threat and the racist image sent to the student- and not to separate the two as both are forms of violence,” said Nichole Rogers, African American Community and Business Leader Liaison. “We stand with the students who received the messages and with their family. To ignore the racist elements of this incident is a form of erasure. We would like to offer resources to the student unions and help improve the culture at APS that has made students feel afraid to speak out about racism, afraid of retaliation and with no recourse.”

“I am saddened tonight, we are listening to community dissent about racism, threats to student safety, and protocols that have let our youth down. Something my grandmothers experienced and is not new to our community,” said Sasha Pellerin, Senior Policy Advisor for Education. “I urge my colleagues, many of whom I deeply respect and have had the privilege to work with and others with whom I have not, to not just listen to our community, but to take actionable steps towards accountability, healing, and justice.”

“We’re asking that these incidents and the stress they place on our students be taken very seriously,” said Tonya Covington, Rapid Accountability Diversion Program Manager. “As part of the City of Albuquerque, we’re aiming to be part of the solution by offering resources for restorative justice and mediation efforts.”