Skyline College celebrated Black History Month 2023 with a multitude of events, workshops and displays throughout the campus all month long. This month is set aside to honor global contributions from the African Diaspora as well as celebrate the culture and influences in our daily lives. Our main goal was to fully engage our students, while creating an environment that is welcoming for African American students; along with shedding light on cultural awareness.
Celebrations began with a College Hour kick-off on Wednesday, February 1 hosted by the Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC) and the Black Student Union (BSU) which included information about the upcoming events, themed trivia questions, and limited-edition Black History Month apparel for sale towards the BSU fundraiser for the African American Scholar Society scholarship.
The month had a variety of experts leading workshops and speaking on different panels. Dr. Tony Jackson, longtime psychology professor led a presentation on “Dealing with Racial Stress” that included a background on the history of trauma in the US beginning with the African slave trade, information on the negative effects of stress, as well as a deep breathing exercise with participants designed to help counteract the accumulation of stress in our bodies. Brothers Achieving Milestones (BAM) and TRiO led a discussion between three Black professionals from various industries explaining their backgrounds, how they got to where they are, and tips for students to succeed during and after college in the panel “Black Professionals in Today’s Society.”
On February 7, 2023, BSU and ASSC added liveliness to campus and a Mardi Gras flair, New Orleans-style brass band MJ’s Brass Boppers invigorated the campus atmosphere with live music on the Quad. The live performance brought on dancing from the children in the Child Development Laboratory Center, students, faculty, staff, guests and even Skyline College President Melissa Moreno!
In efforts to support the Equity Master Plan, Umoja-ASTEP Learning Community coordinator Dr. Chad Coates hosted a session on “Everybody’s Business: Supporting Academic Success of Black Students at Skyline College”. This session discussed gaps and bridges of how to best support our African American students on campus. There was a dialogue with employees, administrators and students to discuss their experiences on campus and how our campus can be more in tuned to meet the needs of our students. The purpose of this event was to not only bring attention to one of our most disproportionately impacted populations on campus, but to also explore strategies to better serve black students at Skyline College.
On Sunday, February 12, 2023, a group of students and staff spent two hours on a walking tour in Oakland learning about a significant period in Bay Area history led by the Bay Area chapter of the Black Panther Party Alumni Legacy Network, which was sponsored by the Equity Institute at Skyline College. This tour was an informative excursion through downtown Oakland, highlighting the need for social activism and community service. Walking in the shoes of the Black Panther Party and learning about their legacy was an empowering experience that gives young individuals hope and inspiration to fight for what’s right and to never give up on your dreams. After leaving this tour, it felt good knowing that through all the gentrification that has happened, Oakland truly has some hidden gems in the downtown area.
Throughout the month, ASSC & BSU scheduled a series of movie screenings throughout the month for the campus to enjoy. Some of the black films and entertainment included the following: Black Panther and its sequel Wakanda Forever, the powerful film The Woman King inspired by real events, and an old school classic, The Wiz. These screenings were held every Thursday throughout the month as a stress reliever for students to come relax, meet new folks, build community and enjoy light refreshments in the new Intercultural Center in Building 4.
BSU was blessed to have Dr. Shandi Fuller, Deputy Health Officer of Solano County moderate our 2nd annual “Structural Inequity in Healthcare Panel” along with three amazing panelists who currently work in the healthcare field; Brianna Skinner, doula and RN/Nurse Midwifery student, Azraa Muhammad Birth and postpartum doula, and Angel Goodman, Certified Nursing Assistant. These three women spoke on personal experiences and highlighted professional stories as they witnessed racial inequities in the health care system. This intimate space was very eye opening for the students who are currently pursuing the medical field as this information is often not discussed. The purpose of this event was to bring awareness to challenges built into the healthcare system directly and indirectly affecting Black/African American and other people of color.
The Skyline College Library hosted a safe space for its first ever “Mic DROP! Poetry SLAM!!!” event featuring live performances by students and faculty, as well as highlighting powerful performances by Black poets and artists. Aside from the poetry slam, they also displayed stations at the Library of various Green Book (a guidebook for African American travelers published from 1936-1966) covers as well as featured Black Resistance and all about love physical book collections.
Towards the end of the month, the Cosmetology department honored and celebrated the late Professor Carmen Richardson as part of a walk-through exhibit about “Black Culture & History within the Barbering, Cosmetology & Esthetics Industries”. The students paid their respects by completing various assignments in Cosmetology to show off their talent, along with other inspirational black history and cultural talent in the Bay Area.
The campus was treated to a transformative culinary experience with the community-centered duo, The Vegan Hood Chefs for an Entrepreneur Spotlight sponsored by the Career Readiness & Job Placement team in partnership with the Entrepreneurship program and BSU. The CIPHER Learning Community, in collaboration with Student Equity and Support Programs division closed out Black History Month programming with a special documentary screening of We Were Hyphy with a Q&A session with the film’s directory, Larry Madrigal. The documentary included many local Bay Area musicians that dropped so much knowledge on “hyphy” culture, dances, fashion, music and lifestyle. Special thanks to Elias Lopez’s Barbering class for sharing the space, sharing their knowledge, and asking questions to create a transformative and culturally relevant classroom experience.
The Black Student Union is excited to share that they greatly exceeded their initial fundraising goal for the African American Society Scholarship through direct donations and the Black History Month apparel sales! The limited edition apparel was designed and produced by the Bookstore’s Graphic Arts & Production team.
We are beyond grateful for all the individuals who donated to our fundraiser and all the departments who contributed to our calendar of events. It is through strong community partnerships within various departments on campus and external supporters that we were able to meet our goal and have a robust calendar of events. Thank you to everyone who hosted and supported the month’s celebration and events, fundraiser and scholarship donations including those listed below and many more! Let us continue to build on this momentum and celebrate black excellence, black history and black culture throughout the year.
- Associated Students of Skyline College and the Center for Student Life
- Black Student Union
- Barbering, Cosmetology & Esthetics (BCE)
- Cashiers/Administrative Services
- Career Readiness & Job Placement and Strategic Partnerships & Workforce Development
- CIPHER Learning Community
- Equity Institute
- Entrepreneurship Program
- Learning Commons
- MJ’s Brass Boppers
- SMCCC Foundation
- Dr. Tony Jackson
- TRiO and Brothers Achieving Milestones
- Umoja-ASTEP Learning Community
- Women’s Mentoring & Leadership Academy
Sirreck Brown | Brielle Czekalski | Alexa Moore | Sha’Kuana Ona | Albin Lee | Mandy Lucas | Chris Wardell | Janelle Reza | Lucy Jovel | Ellen Murray | Megdi Abebe | Jessica Truglio | Rika Yonemura-Fabian | Erica Bueso | Chad Thompson | Heidi Lindström-Gomez | Brianna Clay-Fuller | Andrea Vizenor | Chelssee De Barra | Clair Yeo-Sugajski | Amanda Bortoli | Martina Center-Goodman | Melissa Moreno | Becky Threewit | Edward Fletcher | Candice Bell | Erica Cornejo | Melissa Rohlfs | Bonnie Mendoza | Wendy Lee | Ingrid Vargas | Kesha Cromartie | Aryssa Muhammad | Brittney Sneed | Lesly Ta | Heidi Rank | Belinda Vargas Ruiz | Rakiah Kennedy | Flor Lopez | Candice Bell | Kim Davalos | Vinny Samujh | Danielle Powell | Jessica Hurless | Kevin Chak | Joshua Lindo | Zaid Ghori | Soledad McCarthy | Bianca Rowden Quince | Claudia Paz | Ame Maloney | Arnetta Villela-Smith | John Ulloa | Tatiana Martinez | Regina Herbert | Cherie Colin | Tony Viertel | Linda Allen | Raymon Gutierrez | Rosie Bell | Amber Gougis | Qimmah Tamu | Mia Coo | Marcy Escobar | Ryan Samn | Alvin Gubatina | Adetokunbo Adewunmi | Gavin Townsley | Michelle Amaral | Kolo Wamba | Regina Herbert |
Article by Brianna Clay, Alexa Moore and Brittney Sneed