On February 6, 2024, the Umoja-ASTEP Learning Community of Skyline College kicked off Black History Month by hosting the Black Student Brunch for the first time. The event saw over 60 students, staff, and faculty attend, coming together for the informative presentations, followed by a delicious lineup of soul food for all the attendees.

Umoja-ASTEP’s very own Professor Kenyatta Weathersby opened the event together with Zaid Ghori, Interim Dean of Global Learning Programs and Services, as they welcomed all guests to their tables. Professor Weathersby then introduced Dr. Newin Orante, Skyline College’s Acting President, who shared how Black History shouldn’t just be tied to a month but be celebrated actively. Dr. Orante also read a letter from the Interim Chancellor, Dr. Melissa Moreno, who expressed her welcome and appreciation for the attending students and praised “Skyline College [for] creating a beautiful and supportive community specifically for our Black students in collaboration with UMOJA-ASTEP, our Intercultural Center, and our Black Student Union.” Professor Weathersby then briefly presented the achievements of historical figures, such as Garrett Morgan, the inventor of the traffic light and gas mask, before introducing and handing it off to the event’s guest speaker, Dr. Andrea Lee.

Dr. Andrea Lee is the founder and CEO of Cultural Links, an African Diaspora innovation hub of educational leaders and student global ambassadors working to bring more equity to international education. She and her team aim to connect, discover, and build capacity for African Diaspora cultural exchange and business opportunities around the world, which she presented during the event, as she brought up themes of “Motherland-Home,” “Sankofa” and shared information on the benefits of studying abroad and building a global identity. Afterward, as the presentation ended, all the attendees were welcomed to enjoy the amazing soul food, consisting of macaroni and cheese, waffles, chicken, and plenty of others, catered by Smoke Soul Kitchen.

Umoja-ASTEP is a learning community and transfer support program that focuses on the African American/Black student community college experience through the nurturing of knowledge, intellect, academic exploration, cultural and spiritual identities, gifts, values, and practices. Umoja-ASTEP is part of the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College. For more information about Umoja-ASTEP and to join the learning community, contact Professors Tony Viertel and Kenyatta Weathersby at skyumoja@smccd.edu or the Umoja-ASTEP website at skylinecollege.edu/umoja-step.

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