Tracy Hudson ’89, M ’93, a SUNY Cortland assistant professor of physical education, is getting national recognition by the NAACP, the country’s oldest ongoing civil rights organization.
She will be honored on Saturday, March 4, at the Dr. Hazel N. Dukes Distinguished Leadership 5th Annual Awards Banquet in Queens, N.Y., for her contributions to the NAACP’s Youth and College Division of New York. The division is designed to help with the issues facing young people within the state and provides training and support to its youth members.
“I was extremely humbled when I received this information,” Hudson said. “Dr. Hazel N. Dukes is the president of the New York State NAACP Conference. She is one of my role models. It is an extreme honor to be recognized by her.”
A member of the NAACP for 25 years, Hudson has organized or helped with voter registration drives, Black Lives Matter marches, obesity awareness in the Black community, a Computer for Kids campaign, STOMP Out Domestic Violence, Breast Cancer Awareness walks, summer camps, food drives and lunch programs.
Hudson came to SUNY Cortland as a diversity faculty fellow in the fall of 2021. Since then, she’s become the faculty advisor for SUNY Cortland’s chapter of the NAACP, and facilitated the workshop “How to Thrive at a PWI” (predominantly white institution).
“The NAACP has a strong presence at SUNY Cortland,” Hudson said. “The club is open to any student commitment to fighting for equity and social justice for all individuals.”
Hudson has also worked on the BLM at Schools national coalition, where she moderated a workshop called “Creating a Culture of Care: Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline.”
“As a former school principal of 15 years, I have witnessed the pushout of Black students and their port of entry into the prison system as a result of discriminatory code of conduct practices in schools,” Hudson said. “Black students are disproportionately suspended from schools more than white students and for more subjective behaviors such as ‘disrespect’ or ‘insubordination.’”
Hudson’s current goals on campus include establishing a chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, an historically African American sorority.
“Since my attendance here some 40 years ago, the African American young ladies at this university have been requesting the opportunity to charter this sorority,” Hudson said. “It’s my hope that the university will provide all the necessary resources to support this endeavor. It is important for Black females to bond in a sisterly way, especially at a PWI.”
According to Lorraine Lopez-Janove, SUNY Cortland’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, Hudson’s work on campus has invigorated the university’s ongoing commitment to equity and social justice.
“I met Dr. Hudson last summer, after she accepted her position as a diversity faculty fellow with SUNY Cortland, when she requested to be a participant in the Summer Institute for Racial Justice 2022,” Lopez-Janove said. “It was then I knew her commitment to help move toward a more just and equitable campus was real. In the one year she’s been here, she has been involved in many activities with her colleagues and students to continue moving the needle toward social justice.”