This year, over spring break, ten Skyline College students were selected to attend a tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) on the east coast of the United States. Skyline College was joined on the tour by a collective of students from Cerritos College in Southern California and all three schools in the Contra Costa Community College District: Contra Costa Community College, Diablo Valley Community College and Los Medanos Community College. The tour spanned four states and municipalities over the course of five days, visiting Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the nation’s capital, Washington D.C.

The purpose of this experience is to highlight the partnership between the California Community College system and HBCUs. Currently, there are 39 partner HBCUs with transfer articulation agreements that allow Black students, and others, to successfully finish their undergraduate degrees in a setting that is antithetical to the experience at a traditional four-year university. Touring the campuses of Morgan State University, Bowie State University, Delaware State University, Lincoln University and Howard University, students were exposed to available resources and spoke with campus representatives about the history and culture of these institutions.

Other stops on the tour included cultural immersion experiences including the Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, in addition to visits to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Lincoln Memorial Monument and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Monument in Washington D.C. From the student reflections, one student wrote “I learned about the history of slavery in America, their hardship and how they have to remain strong in order to survive in this society. It was so heartbreaking when I read those stories at the museum exhibits. Also, we saw how hard African Americans have had to fight back to gain equal rights…I don’t regret applying for this experience and if I had another chance to apply, I would definitely do it again.” Another student wrote, “This tour has taught me and educated me to understand how important it is to appreciate all races of human beings, and not be judgmental. Everyone has their own life and they should be allowed to live freely.”

We would like to thank EST College Access Programs, Dr. Newin Orante, Jacquie Espino and Brianna Clay for organizing the tour and making this experience possible. We would also like to thank all of the wonderful professionals from across the four participating colleges that provided support to make this an even more memorable experience.

Article by Michael Stokes and Christopher Wardell | Photos by Michael Stokes, Christopher Wardell, and Experience Bowie State (@experiencebowiestate)

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