Assata Zerai

VP, Division for Equity and Inclusion; Professor, Sociology
University of New Mexico-Main Campus


Dr. Zerai is Professor of Sociology & Vice President for Equity and Inclusion (VPEI) at UNM. At the helm of the Division for Equity and Inclusion (DEI), she plans for, resources, and documents impact of efforts to improve equity at UNM. She is Prof Emerita at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where she served from 2002-2019. A decolonial feminist scholar, she has published 5 books spanning multiple topics including cultural inclusivity; MCH; African women’s access to safe water, sanitation, & mobile technology; & making the work of marginalized scholars more accessible.

Conference Topic:

A Toolkit for Interrupting Racial & Intersectional Microaggressions (RIMAs) and Reducing their Deleterious Effects on Campus


Research has shown that racial & intersectional microaggressions (RIMAs), “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color” (Sue, et al., 2007) are a threat to inclusive climates in higher education. Promoting inclusive classrooms through interrupting racial and intersectional microaggressions and countering implicit bias are key for advancing equity and inclusion in higher education. This interactive workshop will share results form a research study and provide a tool kit with examples of how to interrupt racial and intersectional microaggressions.