headshot of Dr. Mirelsie Velázquez
Dr. Mirelsie Velázquez

Dr. Mirelsie Velázquez, author of Puerto Rican Chicago: Schooling the City, 1940-1977, will lead CRCC Conversations on March 17 on communities and spaces of belonging for institutions of higher learning.  

Student Session, March 17 
“Do We Have a Home Here?” 

Noon-1 p.m.  
Multicultural Center, room 135, or via Zoom 
Lunch will be provided for students in attendance. 

Session focus 
Latina/o/x and Black student activism have a long history across higher education, students seek to force institutions to meet their everyday needs and acknowledge their realities. These struggles are often led by first-generation and/or students whose intersectional identities, at times, limit their full participation within higher education. This genealogy of empowerment reminds us that the battles fought by earlier generations in the 1960s and 1970s are the same battles and issues faced by students today. Students continue to ask themselves, “Do we have a home here?” This workshop centers on that very question as a means to generate a conversation on how institutions of higher learning can, and must, center their voices, needs, and experiences as tools to engage in transformative change. 

Faculty and Staff Session, March 17 
“Can We Build a Home Together?” 

3-4 p.m. via Zoom 
RSVP required 

Session focus 
As we celebrate the rising number of students of color at our institutions of higher learning, it is increasingly important to ask how these sites can truly be spaces of hope, love, and inclusivity that center the needs and realities of our students. Similarly, these spaces must also include the needs, voices, and realities of staff and faculty whose intersectional identities at times limit their power to work on behalf and alongside students. “Can we build a home together?” offers a space for our communities to discuss how we can engage in transformative acts of resistance to create communities of love and hope in higher education. 

Dr. Mirelsie Velázquez 
Mirelsie Velázquez, Ph.D., is an associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies and the Rainbolt Family Endowed Education Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma. As a historian of education, her work centers race, gender, and sexuality, and the history of urban education. Her book, Puerto Rican Chicago: Schooling the City, 1940-1977 (University of Illinois Press 2022), chronicles the Puerto Rican community’s response to the urban decay in which they were forced to live, work, and especially learn. Her work has most recently appeared in the journals Latino Studies, Centro, and Gender and Education. Dr. Velázquez is currently working on a second book project that historicizes Puerto Rican women and other Latina activists in higher education across the Midwest, from the 1970s to the 1990s, as they worked to create homespaces.