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September 05, 1991 - Image 27

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-05

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The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition --Thursday, September 5, 1991 - Page 7

.Minr ity Rereenato
i n.. nco ig C

BMC supplies needed resources

by Baker-Mandela
Center staff
In the winter of 1987, the Michigan campus ex-
ploded when Black students, supported by other pro-
gressive students, organized to fight against blatant
racist attacks and institutional racism at this univer-
sity.
Students formed the United Coalition Against
Racism (UCAR) which presented University officials
with a list of 12 demands to make the University more
accessible and equitable for people of color. It is now
1990, and as students of color continue to battle racism
on college campuses, both the spirit and the ideas of
those students who led the struggle have become a last-
ing part of the University through the Ella Baker-Nel-
son Mandela Center for Anti-Racist Education
(BMC).
The BMC is a student-run alternative resource and
research facility initiated by the United Coalition
Against Racism. It is the center's goal to encourage the
study of the issues of race, class and gender as they im-
pact upon people's lives and to begin to challenge ex-
isting paradigms and theories which are often eurocen-
tric, racist, sexist, and homophobic.
It is important that women and people of color pre-
sent alternative portrayals of our communities'
strengths and weaknesses to counter right-wing
mythologies which are about us, but not by us.
In this regard, the BMC is also an alternative teach-
ing facility which seeks to utilize the practical
"expertise" of all.segments of our communities: un-
dergraduate and graduate students, community mem-
bers, campus workers and faculty. Teachers can learn.
Students can teach.
Since this center was initiated by students in the
anti-racist struggle, one of the underlying philosophies
of the BMC has been to think in order to act. Thus it is
our hope that the BMC will create theoretical work
that will be of practical use in service of Third World

and poor communities. This means engaging in research
and educational projects which have direct connections
to struggles being waged in our communities or by our
communities on campus.
Since most people of color are excluded from uni-
versities, channels must be created through which
"scholarly" work is made accessible and relevant to
the current conditions and issues of women, the poor,
and people of color. We must consciously make re-
sources and our skills available to our large communi-
ties outside the University.
Toward that end, the Center produces, publishes and
collects materials which focus on race, class, and gen-
der and current issues confronting our communities.
These materials include a variety of media. These in-
clude: books on the histories of people of color; period-
icals, such as the Black Scholar and Palestine Focus;
pamphlets on the Puerto Rico Independence movement;
videotapes, such as Angela Davis' 1988 campus visit,
"Racism 101" and cassette tapes of Malcolm X and
Manning Marable; and student-created photo displays.
The center had published a pamphlet entitled
"racism in education" by Barbara Ransby, and there are
plans to produce more pamphlets this year. Additional
BMC projects included a video detailing the anti-racist
movement at the University and a research project on
access to higher education for the poor and people of
color. The center will continue to bring speakers to
campus to speak on issues of importance to people of
color communities on the campus. These are just a-few
of the projects in which the Baker-Mandela Center is
currently engaged.
We at the BMC would like encourage all students
who are interested in learning more about race, class,
and gender issues and those looking for ways to get in-
volved in the community to stop by and visit us in
Room 3 on the first floor of the East Engineering
Building on Central Campus. The center is open Mon-
day through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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