Lobo Kuac helps moderate Black Lives Matter video chat - Albuquerque Journal

Lobo Kuac helps moderate Black Lives Matter video chat

New Mexico basketball player Emmanuel Kuac, shown dunking against Boise State, wants to be part of the conversation on how to overcome racial injustices. (Daris Oswalkd/Idaho Statesman Via Ap File)

Emmanuel Kuac wanted to do something to get involved.

Anything.

Wednesday, the Lobo basketball sophomore from Canada moderated the first half of an Instagram Live video chat with UNM professor Dr. Finnie Coleman titled, “#BlackLivesMatter in the age of Covid-19.” The discussion, put on by UNM’s African American Student Services, featured open questions from those watching as well as Kuac asking several questions of the author, American Literary Studies professor and current Faculty Senate President.

The event was not one coordinated by UNM Athletics – which makes Kuac’s participation rather unusual for a Lobo basketball player in recent years. Players certainly have been active in various events, but not often ones without first involving the athletic department.

“I feel like college sports has a bigger audience,” Kuac said in the online chat about his involvement. “So I feel like if more people get involved, we can make a bigger impact towards the situation. … A lot of people our age watch basketball, watch football, watch soccer. So for them to see their peers talking about this discussion, that will make them feel like they need to be a part of it, if you get what I’m saying.”

Coleman, who noted he wants to see Kuac in one of his classes this year in addition to on the court this coming season, added to Kuac’s sentiment about using his platform to get other college students involved.

“Every movement that we’ve had in this country,” Coleman said before listing numerous historical events centered around racial injustice through the years, “… the people who have always been on the front lines in the cause of serving our black communities have always been our youth. The best ideas that have come out about what it is that we should do have come from young people.”

Kuac has been vocal about the desire to get involved. UMM coach Paul Weir on Wednesday night said he is proud of Kuac for taking part in the video chat.

Last week, the UNM men’s basketball team held a Zoom conference set up by assistant coach Brandon Mason with all players and some coaches to have a discussion with several black community leaders about race.

During a video conference Tuesday with media on the state of the program, Weir was asked what advice he gives his players in this time of civil unrest around the country. In response, he stressed that his voice isn’t necessarily the most important one right now.

“I wish I was the authority to kind of communicate to them, but the reality is I’m not,” Weir said. “We were on a Zoom (conference with the team on Monday) and I told them, they’re more of the authority than I am. If there’s ever anything I’ve done, we’ve done, they’ve seen that they feel has made themselves uncomfortable or we need to improve on or I need to get better at, that’s what I want to know about.

“I think me lecturing them on what I think – A, it’s not the appropriate time for that right now and B, I don’t know if I’m the authority on that. Really, it’s their experiences, their perspectives on what this means to them and either their local communities that they’re in right now, or just how things have occurred when they’re here or while they’ve been here that I can learn more about or we can know more about as a as a program.”

Among the questions Kuac posed on Wednesday to Coleman:

• “How do we balance COVID-19 measures with desires to get involved in protests and marches with large gatherings?”

• “What makes this particular time issue different from other movements in the past?”

• “How can we keep the same energy when the media coverage dies down?”

During the video chat, which had two parts (Kuac moderated the first and another student the second part), the organizers did say the video would be archived on Instagram at the account @unmafro.

CIVIC PLAZA: There will be a community “United Prayer for Justice & Healing” event at Civic Plaza at 6 p.m. Thursday. A tweet sent out about the event by ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team on Wednesday stated the event will include Brian Alarid of New Mexico Prays, Bishop David Cooper, Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier “and other community leaders will lead us in prayer and discussion.

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