February Black History Month

Greetings Colleagues,

I hope this email finds you well.

February is Black History Month, and this has special importance for the DEI team and all of our communities – as higher education employees, as Bay Area residents, and as Spartans. We have the privilege and opportunity to help elevate our students and expand their access to higher education and ongoing opportunities so they and their families can forge new frontiers in our ever-changing workforce and community landscapes. Being named the most transformative university in the country should not merely be a tagline. Instead, it’s the meaning behind our work and the work of all those who have contributed before us, especially those in our black community.

The history of black achievement in the Bay Area is rich, diverse, and valuable, especially so for all sectors of higher education. The first African American Studies department was founded here in the Bay Area in 1968 following the longest student strike in U.S. history. The article below demonstrates an incredible story of how black students fought for what they worked for and deserved. If you’re unfamiliar with those events, here’s some excellent storytelling from a 2019 NPR article.

San Jose State University has a proud history of black excellence and activism. The Olympic Black Power Statue between Clark Hall and Dwight Bentel Hall commemorates the bold salutes of “Speed City” alumni Tommie Smith and John Carlos. Our university’s legacy of black achievement includes incredible stories from James Jones, Dr. Lee P. Brown, and Dr. Harry Edwards.

There are many opportunities on campus and in the community where you can be involved in celebrating Black History Month. The MOSAIC Cross-Cultural Center has curated a calendar of Black History Month events, both in-person and via Zoom, for your convenience. If you’re selecting dining options or spending time on campus looking for activities, you may want to consider supporting local, black-owned businesses. You’ll find some of the best restaurants in the Bay Area on this list. I also want to encourage you to take the month of February as an opportunity to look into non-profit organizations that support and uplift our nation’s black community. I want to highlight two that focus on access to technology and higher education opportunities: Black Girls Code and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

 

Thank you,

The SJSU IT Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Bob Lim Maggie Panahi Ryan Campbell
Cindy Scher-Hereth Matthew Loo Tino Cruz
Kara Li Norma Brown Willie Simon

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