Necessary Force: Art in the Police State Community Dialogue

Community GatheringCommunity Organizing as Empowerment, Advocacy, and Action

On Saturday, October 10 UNM Art Museum will host a community gathering and discourse-driven event, where community members are invited to participate in conversations about the complex issues surrounding policing, civil rights, advocacy, healing and action. Focusing on the creative and constructive programs that many Albuquerque organizations and individuals have produced, this day will highlight the ways in which presenters proactively work to empower New Mexico citizens and develop initiatives that promote change from the ground up.

Inspired by collaborative presentation formats such as “World Café” and Building Movement’s “Peñas” attendees will sit down and intimately engage with 10 – 12 different organizers to hear perspectives on policing and civic action as it relates to Albuquerque and New Mexico. Through this format we hope to create a space for dialogue, critical reflection, and community building.

Tentative Schedule:
11 – 11:30: Introduction to the Day / Keynote speaker(s) TBD
11:40 –1:40: Conversations with presenters
1:45 – 2:15: Closing / music / poetry / performance
Table Facilitators:
Carlos Contreras & Diahndra Grill of Just Write
Alicia Lueras Maldonado of Building Movement & Encuentro
Denicia Cadena of Young Woman United
Nick Estes and Melanie Yazzie of Red Nation
Organizer from SWOP
Sommer Smith of Media Desk NM
APD Forward
Jeanette Baca – Police Oversight Board
Recommendation from Celina Espinoza (TBD)

“I have a 7-year-old son in this town and we need to get it together before he is a 17-year-old Black man in this town. I appreciate this work and that the University is engaging the contemporary and the community in this way.”

“This sounds like really great work! I am so excited to know you are giving time to this very important issue.”

“This project sounds very exciting and timely. I am sure this is something that we would like to be involved in. Thanks for reaching out to us on this program.”

“I am so glad to hear about this exhibition; it is so important to keep this discourse active in Albuquerque. I would love to learn more about the exhibition and how I might be helpful.”

“The exhibition sounds very interesting and timely; I would be happy to meet with you and discuss the role of the our organization. It is great that you are taking this on!”

The Exhibition “Necessary Force: Art in the Police State” at the UNM Art Museum is a valuable resource for university students and faculty. I have incorporated a visit to the exhibition in my undergraduate English course in order to encourage students to connect their theoretical and literary readings to pressing contemporary concerns like economic and racial inequality, police brutality, and forms of surveillance that structure our world. In a time of shifting disciplinary boundaries, it is crucial that students can think across media platforms and trace the persistence of issues over broad swathes of time and space. This valuable exhibition at the museum will help my students think about the common concerns that link their objects of study (poems about 19th-century child labor and slavery, contemporary Kenyan political corruption, and modern-day factory labor) to art works of the present. Even more importantly, the exhibition will allow them to seek parallels in their own academic, professional, and civic lives.

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