Letter to La Jicarita by AMY L. BRANDZEL, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of New Mexico
I am writing as a colleague of Dr. David Correia, the UNM Professor who is being unnecessarily threatened to lose his job at UNM due to his involvement in peaceful activisms. Of course, like Dr. Correia, I do not speak on behalf of the University of New Mexico. However, I do want to state that I am in full support of my colleague’s coalitional activities with numerous organizations that are working tirelessly to create real and important changes to the Albuquerque Police Department. With a death toll of over 25 Albuquerque community members killed by APD since 2010 (and, somehow, still counting), these activists, including Dr. Correia, are working to highlight what the U.S. Department of Justice has described as pattern of excessive force. We are in a state of emergency here in Albuquerque, a state brought on by a violent police force.
However, I am especially concerned with the ways in which Dr. Correia’s profession as a Professor at UNM is being described in the media, as if his activism is at odds with his position as an educator. The headline that he could or should lose his job due to his activism might make salacious and scandalous broadcasts, but it egregiously mischaracterizes what is at stake. There is, in fact, a long history of activist-intellectuals, and I am proud to see my colleague carrying on this long tradition. He is leading and teaching by example: if there is one thing we should stand against, it is violence; we should all be so courageous to stand up against the needless and horrific victimization of our community members, especially at the hands of those who are positioned to be public “protectors.” But to suggest that he should or could lose his professional position merely for standing up alongside the victims of APD violence and their families teaches conformity, condones acquiescence to violence, and disciplines us to sit back and do nothing to help our community. I agree with UNM President Frank when he states that UNM “faculty are expected to uphold the highest standards,” and I think my colleague Dr. David Correia, as well as all of the others involved in this coalition against APD violence, is doing just that.
Amy L. Brandzel, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Women Studies
University of New Mexico
Editor’s Note: The peaceful, non-violent sit-in, at least on the part of the protestors, on Monday, June 2, at Mayor Richard Berry’s office, was well documented and witnessed. The following photo essay (by Willa Correia-Kuehn) and video (filmed by activist Caden Rocker) show La Jicarita co-editor David Correia being roughed up by APD policeman Chris Romero, one of the mayor’s security detail.