July 9 Blog

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Jack Brigham. Photo from The Bakersfield Californian website

Professor Jack Brigham passed away on Thursday at 10:11 p.m.  A man who has left a deep legacy at Bakersfield College and in our community.  James Burger in his article says: “Brigham’s generosity extended to his wit, spirit and time.” For more read his piece Beloved Professor Philanthropist Jack Brigham Dies http://tinyurl.com/zr643qv

 

Yesterday I felt the whole city was mourning.  Social media was buzzing with tributes to Jack.  Here are some:

Daniela Miramontes:

Your endless wisdom brought light to us all. Thank you for being our mentor at PEAK and for your endless support, we will always love and remember you, Jack Brigham.

 

Saw Kapi

My heart hurts as I heard early this morning that my foremost professor of history and political science passed away in California. Professor Jack Brigham is an exemplary humanist, educator and mentor. Through his actions and encouragement, he showed us how to be a good citizen of the world. He embraced me and my sisters at Bakersfield College and helped us navigate complicated US education system. He encouraged us to read and be a life-long learner. He was the one who introduced us to the works of Ernesto Che Guevara, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and Howard Zinn. He lived his best and we will miss him dearly. Professor Jack Brigham, may your soul rest in peace.

Sandy Woo:

My heart hurts and I still don’t want to believe that last night happened, but I’m comforted in knowing that Jack is now resting in peace. I’m so grateful that God led me back here. I got to spend the last year of Jack’s life with him, and got to share that time with so many others who also held him close to their hearts. I will always think of him, especially on Sunday afternoons… I’ll miss admiring those bright roses in the garden and barging through that front door like that house was my own home.

Jack, you were more than a teacher. You were my family. You were the reason I believed I could reach for the stars. You have touched so many lives with your love for humanity. Thank you for all that you have taught me these last 13 years. I hope to make you proud. Until we meet again, dear friend…

Shawn Taro Newsom:

RIP Jack Brigham. You made me believe in myself and to reach for the stars. You were a force of nature in my life with your quiet demeanor. You will be missed my friend.

Misa Ingles:

Last night, we all lost one of the foremost philanthropists that has ever set foot on kern county soil. A man of immeasurable wisdom and a heart of gold. He was an inspiration to many, including myself.

He had a knack for finding undeveloped talent and bringing out the true potential in everyone.
He believed wholeheartedly in the importance of encouraging the youth to take control of their future. He knew how to build a better world.

He was truthful and his values unwavering.

 

Professor Jack Brigham
1946-2016

Tassos Frangou:

Wisdom, humility, love, integrity, catalyst for greatness, a silent leader that guided everyone to audacious self exporation in exceeding their potential…… as far as my concern Jack is alive in my heart, in my thoughts, in my contribution to humanity, in my every actions, in what I am and what I will pass to my children. I am celebrating the opportunity to know him, to guide me, and his contribution in shaping me for who I am. Thank you Jack, thank you for being there, thank you ! Till we meet again!

Oliver Rosales:

A great tribute to a wonderful man, educator, and model of social justice activism over decades…he will be missed but his work and legacy continue…!!!

 

Randy Beeman and I were writing back and forth about Jack and here is an excerpt from Randy:

I would cone in the office and if he is clicking the keyboard at rocket speed I knew an injustice was being righted! He’s in heaven now forming a committee on something!

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Jack Brigham (2nd from left) with the BC Leadership and Equity Academy

Chains of Suffering

This week was hard for many reasons. After reading my comments about Elie Wiesel last week, Jack Hernandez txted me a quote by Wiesel that said

Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere

This week saw the devastating news from Dallas that followed public anger and sorrow over shootings, which were preceded by bombings and more in what felt like chains of suffering. There is so much suffering that concerns us all – I take solace in what we do, our community, our learning, our values of tolerance and diversity.

BC Hosts Black Caucus Annual Leadership Conference

I discovered this draft blog post from earlier in the spring term and felt it was the right time to include it in today’s blog.

Dating back to 1976, every U.S president has designated February as Black History Month to celebrate the achievements of black Americans and recognize the central role of African Americans in U.S history.

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Sonya Christian, Clayton Fowler

Prior to that, dating back to 1926, this recognition was celebrated only during the second week of February, during the birthday week of both Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. This “Negro History Week” event gave schools and communities an inspiration to organize local celebrations.  But in 1976, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized and lengthened the commemoration to Black History Month, calling on all Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history.”

On February 19th, Bakersfield College was honored to become the first community college to host the Black Caucus Annual Leadership Conference with a massive event that sprawled across the entire campus.  From the Simonsen Performing Arts Center to the cafeteria to the Fireside Room to spaces in the Math/Science and Language Arts buildings, attendees to the three-day conference converged on BC to take in scores of speeches, seminars and training sessions.

Students from throughout the state convened at the 15th annual convention to discuss local issues, share best practices, and take action locally, regionally and nationally.

The Black Caucus of the California Community Colleges began in 1998 as an affiliated Caucus of the then California Student Association of Community Colleges (CalSACC).  Since then, the Black Caucus has worked to build coalitions and alliances for the purpose of leadership, advocacy and equity with other student leaders and organizations.

This conference and the Black Caucus organization were great additions to Bakersfield College and thanks to BC’s own Fitzgerald Graves for helping to pave the way to bring such an amazing event to our campus.

Meeting with the VFW

On Wednesday, I gave a presentation with Paul Beckworth and Jenny Frank to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #97 about “A Better BC,” which highlights our plans to improve our facilities for the future with a potential November 8th ballot measure.

I read up about the VFW, a very prestigious organization and here is an excerpt from their website http://www.vfw.org/:

The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans’ pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves.

In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations with what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. By 1915, membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost 200,000.

Since then, the VFW’s voice had been instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, creating a GI Bill for the 20th century, the development of the national cemetery system and the fight for compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, VFW won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America’s active-duty service members, and members of the Guard and Reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The VFW also has fought for improving VA medical centers services for women veterans.

Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials, the VFW in 2005 became the first veterans’ organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010.

Annually, the nearly 1.7 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliaries contribute more than 8.6 million hours of volunteerism in the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week.

From providing over $3 million in college scholarships and savings bonds to students every year, to encouraging elevation of the Department of Veterans Affairs to the president’s cabinet, the VFW is there.

We were honored to meet the California VFW State Commander, Dale Smith, who happened to be on the grounds at the time.

District Commander, Deb Johnson, who is also the President/CEO of the California Veterans Assistance Foundation, invited us to repeat our presentation on August 27 at their district wide meeting, which consists of thirteen different VFWs in the area.   Jenny did a great job as our community lead and took the reins when the time came.

Good job team!

AG Ventures Camp

For the past 3 years, Bakersfield College has partnered with Wonderful Education and put on our “Ag Ventures Camps.”

Talking about Wonderful, here is a shout out to Noemi Donoso a great leader who believes in the transformational power of education and is in charge of the Wonderful Academy.

Also a shout out to the fabulous Lynda Resnick who has the heart for communities like Delano and Lost Hills.  Check out a piece I did on the work of Lynda in my May 21, 2016 blog at https://bcpresidentblog.com/2016/05/21/so-much-diversity-and-we-are-bc/

 

The purpose of the Ag Ventures Camps is to paint a vivid and complete picture of agriculture for young students (8th graders) in the Wasco and Delano areas. Although many of the students’ parents may be involved in agriculture, ofttimes they are active in the crucial and challenging areas of the industry that bring the product to market (field work, product sorting…), and exposure to just this experience can paint a limited picture of the opportunities available in agriculture.

Ag Ventures provides a hands-on, active curriculum that focuses on careers in our industry that require the additional education of a certificate, 2-year or 4-year degree (water engineering, product fabrication, new product development, marketing…).

This is accomplished in a 6 days and 5 nights fast-paced, energetic “camp like” environment that the students love. The camp culminates with a Friday evening, family dinner presentation where they demonstrate what they have engaged in during their week in camp experience. Thank you Rich McCrow and entire Rural Kern Team as well as Chris McCraw and the Ag faculty for putting in countless hours to make this happen.

Check out this 7-minute video by Manny De Los Santos

Celebrating our neighbor Shafter

There was a recent article in The Californian by Pete Tittl about a little downtown restaurant in our neighboring city of Shafter which caught my attention. A triple-decker enchilada Shafter has been keeping to itself, until now.

Wait a second… A triple-decker enchilada? I knew I had to read the whole article.

El Michoacano, located in downtown Shafter is described by Tittl as what you’d expect when you see the description of a “little hole in the wall restaurant,” but raves that the food is absolutely delicious.

Scot Hurlbert Sonya Christian July 5 2016

Sonya Christian, Scot Hurlbert

Well, I got to try the street tacos at El Michoacano this Tuesday along with Scot Hurlbert, Shafter City Manager, David Franz, Director of the Learning Center, and Rich McCrow, Director of the BC Delano Campus.  The food was awesome and the conversation was so engaging that I was terribly late for my next meeting.

 

The folks in Shafter have a big vision and they pursue that vision in a collaborative manner and put in the resources necessary to make that vision happen.  What’s not to like about that? It got me thinking about our neighboring city and all that has happened there over the past few years.

In 2013, the city of Shafter celebrated 100 years with their centennial anniversary. This exciting milestone brought renovations and projects to beautify the city, which is described on the city website as “plans to honor the city’s heritage while embracing its future.”

The city continues to grow in population and size.

Ask almost anyone who lives in Shafter, and I bet they will tell you they love it because there’s little to no traffic, but Shafter is home to many amazing things – Paramount Logistics Park (PLP) (formerly known as the International Trade and Transportation Center (ITTC)) was built to facilitate Central Valley access to ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles via the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway.

And then there’s Minter Field, which began operations in 1941 and saw heavy use during World War II. It’s incredible how much history is in the area.

In the last two years, Bakersfield College has been working closely with David Franz and the High School to expand college courses in Shafter.  I suspect that we are going to be doing way more in the future.

Bakersfield Chamber Government Review Committee:

Friday, July 8th, at 7:30 a.m., Tom Burke, CFO of KCCD, and I presented to the Chamber Government Relations Committee (GRC) about the potential bond measure being considered by the KCCD Board of Trustees for the November 8th ballot.

The presentation was well received and GRC members unanimously voted to recommend endorsement of the bond to the Greater Bakersfield Chamber Board.  This was great news and Tom and I were absolutely elated.  What was particularly enjoyable was the conversation.  Let me start by saying that Mayor Harvey Hall, Chair of the BC Bond Blue Ribbon Committee, took the time out of his crazy busy schedule to be there.  Just his presence in the audience set the tone for the conversation.  Then, Congressman Bill Thomas, Senior Advisor to the BC Bond Blue Ribbon Committee spontaneously addressed the GRC as well as responding during Q&A.

GRC Group 1 July 8 2016

It was wonderful seeing our community so engaged and the stories they brought up from the past.  I was just sitting back and enjoying the leadership of Bakersfield at its very best.  Leadership that has been with us with the likes of Gene Tackett, Peter Pankey, Michael Turnipseed, John Mcquiston etc.  Jennifer Pitcher, Chair of GRC did a masterful job managing this group of, at times rowdy individuals 🙂  I guess, when you get Tackett, Pankey, and Thomas in a room, the discussions are quite vibrant 🙂 I was happy to see Trustee Kyle Carter at the meeting.  Also, thank you Nick Ortiz for your leadership as the CEO of the Chamber.

 

Coming Soon: New Student IDs

It’s such a delight to see college employees engaged and excited about the work we do at BC. Thursday afternoon was no different as 20 or more employees from Bakersfield College and the other district colleges, Porterville and Cerro Coso, gathered to learn about the new Student ID printing process.

It has been almost 2 years since our student ID’s have had actual student photos on them, so I know these new cards will be anticipated by all.

Jimmy, the technician we had on campus, demonstrated all kinds of useful things, such as how to use the printer, loading the ID cards, and even a trick for when you have to print a large volume of cards.

We’re not ready to start printing just yet, but I look forward to seeing all our eager students picking up their IDs in the Welcome Center within a few short weeks.

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Wrapping up…..

I did not actually feel too well this week but have finally turned the corner.  This week was intense with work. However, I was able to check out the music performance Thursday evening by the Fountain at the Market Place.  This is my first time at this event this season.  Usually the Summer Music at the Fountain has been a regular activity for me.

Also, I through I would sign off by mentioning two movies — The Jungle Book and The Legend of Tarzan.  Although both movies did not get rave reviews, I enjoyed them very much.  But for that matter, I am told it is just part of my personality — enjoying everything that is.  Never sure if it is a compliment or not…….

Growing up I read a lot of comics and the four of us children had a library that was filled with comic books with about 10 bound together so that it would not get tattered.  Tarzan, the King of the Jungle, along with Phantom, the ghost who walks, were some of my all time favorites.  Of course when the animated Tarzan came out in 1999, I think I watched it on opening night.  I loved the soundtrack of that movie with Phil Collins doing two beautiful pieces. Check out this love song You’ll Be In My Heart by Phil Collins.

 

 

The other movie Jungle Book came out in 1967 capturing Rudyard Kipling’s characters in all their glory.  I have lost track of how many times I have watched the movie.  And although this year’s release did not stack up against the original, I still enjoyed it very much.  I wish they had included the songs in it.  In any event, here is my favorite Jungle Book song on youtube which I watch when I am feeling low and Balu, the bear, always cheers me up.  Not only is the video so much fun (it is a must see), but there is definitely some wisdom in the lyrics.  How about this:

 

‘Cause let me tell you something little britches

If you act like that bee acts, uh uh

You’re working too hard

And don’t spend your time lookin’ around

For something you want that can’t be found

When you find out you can live without it

And go along not thinkin’ about it

I’ll tell you something true

The bare necessities of life will come to you

 

 

And, btw, good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, July 9th.  A wonderful day to be a Renegade.

sonya July 8 2016

That’s all for now.  

Until next Saturday.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya ….. from the Firestone at 7:00 a.m. Friday morning, assuring a friend that I would do a good job at the GRC presentation and there was nothing to worry.

and of course, the luckiest and happiest college president in the whole world

 

 

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2 thoughts on “July 9 Blog

  1. Tom Moran July 9, 2016 at 9:43 am Reply

    Thank you, Sonya. Your post captures well the zeitgeist of our deeply troubling times and highlights how BC lives in them and seeks to offer opportunities for our wonderful staff and amazing students to improve our world. Thumbs up to you, too.

  2. […] include valor, adventure, and bravery. I’ve often mentioned my affinity for The Jungle Book (Check out July 9th’s blog when I saw the new movie) and one of my favorite stories in the collection is the one of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the courageous […]

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