Good morning Bakersfield…..
It is Saturday, March 10th and a great day to be a Renegade. I started last week’s blog travelling to an accreditation visit and today, I am travelling again, with my blog to keep me company. What a good way to pass the time.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.
BC was active this week and let me start with Anita Hill’s visit to the campus.
Anita Hill at BC
On International Women’s day this Thursday, we were lucky to have Anita Hill in the Indoor Theater to talk about reimagining equality for the 21st Century and how the national conversation about sexual harassment has evolved both before and after her remarks during Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991.
Hill, who is currently a professor of law and women’s studies at Brandeis University said she was inspired by the countless women before her who had worked to find justice for workplace sexual harassment in the 70s and 80s, culminating with the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1986 case Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, ruling for the first time that sexual harassment was a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Hill’s testimony inspired women around the country to bravely speak up about sexual harassment and abuse in their homes and workplaces. Over 25 years later, the #MeToo movement is rapidly spreading across the nation.
Hill also stressed the importance of tackling issues of racial injustice along with injustices facing women, as progress on both issues tends to happen hand-in-hand with each other. In the 21st Century, we need to envision equality not as an abstract philosophical concept, but as a practical part of our personal development that grows and evolves with us every day. “Dare to be a catalyst for change,” Hill said. “We are living in a moment in time where we are being pushed to live out our ideals of equality.”
I’d like to recognize Jack Hernandez and the Levan Center for bringing Anita Hill to BC, Olivia Garcia for her beautiful introduction speech, and all of the people in the community for coming out to engage in a conversation about equality on International Women’s Day. See at the photos at Smugmug.
MESA STEM and Pre-Health Conference
Last weekend, our Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Department held a conference on the BC campus to show high school and college students that anyone can develop the skills needed to earn a career in STEM or healthcare fields.
The MESA STEM and Pre-Health conference last Saturday brought together industry leaders and educators in the community and throughout California to showcase all of the career options available to someone with an education in math, science or pre-health. The conference started with students packing the Indoor Theater for the opening festivities, and Dean Steven Waller emphasized the importance of developing one’s competence in math, as it establishes the foundation for thousands of potential job opportunities.
“As you plan your career, be sure to keep math in focus,” Waller said. “It’s possible to be successful without math, but with it you can be even more successful.”
Waller then introduced keynote speaker Dr. Jose Antonio Diaz, an Arvin High graduate who went on to study microbiology and genetics at UC Berkeley, Stanford and UC Davis, where he’s currently a post-doctorate research fellow studying the prevention of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Diaz’s mother contracted Valley Fever when he was a child, which inspired him to pursue a career in biology in order to help others suffering from serious debilitating illnesses. Diaz pushed himself outside of his comfort zone throughout his career, both as a first-generation college student moving from Arvin to Berkeley for undergraduate studies, and by transitioning fields from biology to medicine once he realized that it would help expand his research.
Diaz, who gave his keynote speech in Spanish and English, sought to motivate the audience to push themselves outside of their comfort zone like he did. “Be ambitious with setting your goals, and take chances,” Diaz said. “Embrace change, and don’t be afraid of failure.” Diaz was part of the team that discovered Nest RNA, which determines resistance to microbial infections in mice. He is now working with a CRISPR gene editing machine to test whether he can safely modify human cells with Nest RNA in order to prevent diseases such as Valley Fever and salmonella.
After Diaz’s presentation, students broke up into groups to attend a series of workshops in the Science and Engineering and Math and Science Buildings. Representatives from UCLA, CSUB and Fresno Pacific University hosted seminars on how to apply in the STEM and nursing programs at their respective universities, and many other workshops were hosted by members of the BC family, such as counselor Mark Osea’s presentation about STEM Guided Pathways, educational advisor Pedro Ramirez’s workshop on BC’s LUPE program and resources for DREAMers, professor Dillon Giblin’s seminar about career opportunities in STEM, and BC nursing graduate Stephanie Perez talking about how her time in our program helped prepare her for a career in health care.
CSUB’s Chevron FAB LAB also hosted a maker space in the AERA STEM Success Center where students could watch a toy prototype being made on a 3D printer, as well as a virtual reality sandbox projected using the motion sensor on an Xbox One Kinect.
While MESA volunteers handed out lunch to students in the patio area of the Science and Engineering building, several organizations hosted a resource fair with booths for students to visit and learn more information. Participating organizations included BC’s Pre-Med and Engineering clubs, Univision, Kern Medical Center, the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Center, and the American Society of Civil Engineering.
Thank you to all our MESA staff, especially Connie Gonzales as well as all of our industry and education partners for inspiring young people our community to achieve careers in healthcare and STEM. I look forward seeing some of the students from this year’s conference taking STEM and pre-health classes at BC.
BC and BCSD Youth Summit
At the March 3 event, the Bakersfield College African American Mentor Program (A.A.M.P.) partnered with the Bakersfield City School District to put on its first-ever Youth Summit. The Youth Summit hosted over 150 African American middle school students at Bakersfield College to emphasize the importance of education, highlighting education as a tool for developing knowledge and character. The summit invited keynote speaker Ken Morris who delivered a memorable speech about his family history: Ken is a direct descendant of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. He moved the audience with his description of what his great grandfathers had to overcome in order to receive an education, and closed his presentation with a message of perseverance and hope.
After the keynote the middle school students joined small group workshops on education, black culture, and community service. One of the most notable workshops was led by Bakersfield College’s own professor of African American history, Ishmael Kimbrough. Professor Kimbrough talked about the most important elements of the Black community and the importance of good role models of Black culture. The group of students hung onto Kimbrough’s every word, were enjoying themselves, and the positive energy in the room allowed for a lots of engagement. Kimbrough highlighted some of the negative portrayals of Black culture that are in the media and explained how they perpetuate negative stereotypes. Kimbrough goes on to state, “Success is not flashing cash and gold teeth, that’s a false idea of success”, “the basis of black culture is family, culture, and common goals.”
Kimbrough concluded his workshop with a message that we have it within our power as a community to topple steep obstacles and inaccurate depictions in the media by learning about what our culture truly is. He emphasizes that despite the negative stereotypes of black culture, African-American boys and girls are not problems that need to be solved—they’re assets.
Tejon Tribe Visits BC
It was a packed house, with students, faculty, and the community coming out to hear tribal member Sandra Hernandez talk about the Tejon Tribe’s culture and history. The Tejon tribe is the only recognized tribe in the Bakersfield area, and its members are made up of Kitanemuk, Chumash, and Yokuts people, the first people in southern San Joaquin valley.
Sandra opened up the presentation with a warm welcome in the Kitanemuk language, (the language of the indigenous Indians of Kern County) and then began to share her story and their plans for their future. Sandra spoke powerfully of her ancestors struggle and how their land and their status of a tribe were taken from them by the settlers who came here after them. She explained that in the early 1900’s their Chief Juan Lozada began the fight to get back their status as a tribe and hopefully be able to rebuild what was lost.
When Chief Juan Lozada was asked by the US government how long his tribe has been here, he replied, “We been here since the first time the sun’s come up.” This set off a spark with the Tejon Tribe and ever since then, as a group and as a family, they have been fighting the government to be reaffirmed. Most recently, at the forefront of this fight, was Tejon Tribal chairwoman Kathryn Montes Morgan (Granddaughter of Chief Juan Lozado) who helped end this case as a victory for the Tejon Tribe. Sandra was proud to tell us that as of January 2012 the United States of America reaffirms the Tejon Tribe.
Although this was an exciting moment for the Tejon Tribe Sandra says the rebuilding has just begun. Being federally recognized is a huge step in the right direction, they now have to rebuild their Tejon Tribe community. She also adds, The Tejon Tribe will do this by reaching out to our neighborhoods, to educate them on our culture, heritage and history of our family, while also encouraging our youth to experience our way of life as a Tejon Tribe.
Thank you to Krista Moreland, Sandra Hernandez, and everyone who made this event a reality.
Mini Science Olympiad
I loved seeing these photos from BC’s involvement at the Greenfield School District. Daniel Ahn, Chris Benker and a dozen BC STEM and Education majors helped 46 fifth-graders with various learning, but fun activities! It is a four week program. Meg Stidham helped along with the fantastic Deborah Rosenthal.
Activities included a Tallest Bridge Competition and I heard Chris Benker will do a skateboard demo at the end. During Week 4, the students will come to BC for astronomy fun. Thank you to all our BC volunteers for bringing the Renegade spirit to our local Greenfield School District.
Ximena’s baby Leo
Thank you Debby Rosenthal for sending me this picture.
BCSGA Power Lunch
Romeo Agbalog, the Kern Community College District Trustee representing Delano and surrounding rural areas, sat down with BC students in the Fireside Room on Tuesday to share the story of how he overcame being a first-generation college student and young father on his path to advocating for students in public office. BCSGA hosted Agbalog as part of its Legislative Affairs Power Lunch series, in which public officials from the community tell their stories and answer questions from students. The Legislative Affairs Department of SGA, which is responsible for informing BC students on any new or developing laws pertaining to their education, has previously hosted state senator Jean Fuller, as well as Vince Fong and Rudy Salas from the California Assembly.
Agbalog credits political science professor Stephen Holmes with recognizing his potential and inspiring him to develop an interest in public service and administration. With Holmes’ inspiration, he went on to work behind the scenes for several Kern County campaigns, but he never thought he could hold public office. Eventually, after some strong persuasion by local political leadership, he realized that he had an opportunity to be actively engaged with improving his son’s education by serving on his local school board. At the age of 24, he campaigned door to door in his community and spoke directly with voters to beat out two incumbents for a spot on the Delano Union School District board.
After serving the Foundation for BC’s Delano Campus, Agbalog now advocates for rural students on the KCCD board, helping to expand services at the Delano Campus while bringing post-secondary education to Arvin and Shafter. Throughout his discussion, he imparted the value of taking advantages of every opportunity presented to you, in life and in education. “When times get tough and you’re ready to quit, I want you to think about the people who have seen things in you that you didn’t see in yourself and use that for motivation,” Agbalog said. “Prove to those people you were worth the investment.”
Blood Drive on Campus
BC students gave back to their community at Campus Center on Wednesday and Thursday, donating to the Houchin Community Blood Bank during our annual blood drive. Students signed up to donate blood in front of the Fireside Room before walking over to one of Houchin’s three buses parked in front of the Campus Center.
Active Shooter Response Trainings at BC
Last month, another school shooting tragedy took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida which claimed the lives of 17 people. This week, the Department of Public Safety and Chief Chris Counts hosted several Active Shooter Response Training workshops to teach our students and staff what to do in the event that an active shooter situation happened on our campus.
Public Safety Chief Chris Counts broke down the proper response into three parts: “Run, Hide, Fight”. The first thing you should do if you hear gunfire is to evacuate the area as far as you can and try to take as many people with you. If that’s not possible, choose a location to hide out of the shooter’s view where you’re protected and you’re movement isn’t limited, then use furniture or heavy equipment to barricade entrance into that area. If you can’t run or hide, then your last resort is to remain calm while acting as aggressively as possible to fight for your own life and the lives of others.
In the overwhelming majority of active shooter cases, there was some indication that the attack was going to occur before it happened. In order to prevent these attacks, Counts stressed the importance of reaching out to authorities if there’s an indication that other people’s lives may be in jeopardy. Our Public Safety Department’s motto is “If You See Something, Say Something and Do Something About It”, and recognizing the signs of a potential attack is key to preventing it.
There will be three more Active Shooter Response Trainings on March 21 st at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m. in the Indoor Theater. If you haven’t attended one of these training before, I recommend going as soon as possible in order to stay educated on how to respond to one of these emergencies. It may save your or someone else’s life.
Manny DeLosSantos even spotted friend and supporter of BC, Adam Alvidrez at the training this week.
Leading from the Middle
Craig Hayward, Mark Osea, Billie Jo Rice, and Jennifer Johnson are currently attending the Leading from the Middle Academy being held at the Kellogg West Conference and Hotel in Pomona. The project that they are tackling is how to represent our pathways programs using 21st century visual tools. Can’t wait to see the end result of their yearlong work together as a team.
Jen Garrett on Scott Cox Show
Jen Garrett was on the Scott Cox Show Wednesday morning advertising for our big Sydney Bound Benefit Concert this Saturday! Only a few more days to buy tickets. You don’t want to miss this!
Seen on Instagram
Thank you to Lydia Ranger and Monty Byrum for their continued support of the BC Chamber Singers
Capitol Weekly Spotlights Bill Thomas
An article in Capitol Weekly published on March 1st examined how Trustee Bill Thomas’ influence in the House of Representatives continues to be felt more than a decade after retiring as the Congressman for California’s 22nd District.
Dorothy Mills-Gregg wrote about how Thomas mentored two of the most powerful people in Congress right now—House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Thomas’ direct successor, and Oversight Committee Chair Devin Nunes, who Thomas inspired to run for Congress while helping him with campaign strategy along the way. The article also looks back on Thomas’ career and accomplishments while in Congress. I especially love the photo they used with the big YES ON J poster behind him.
“The only tools I ever had was listen to what people want, build a coalition and pass legislation,” Thomas was quoted as saying in the article. Florida Congressman Mark Foley was also quoted about Thomas’ tenacity and passion for serving voters. “Thomas is also known for losing his temper when people are unprepared, earning a reputation for sharp interrogations,” Foley said.
Thank you Trustee Thomas for all you’ve done to support BC, Bakersfield, and Kern County.
International Women’s Day
On Thursday, KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke emailed all KCCD Employees sharing some inspirational quotes. He said, “Today is International Women’s Day, so in acknowledgment of this day I thought I would share with you some inspiring quotes from several women who have had an impact on society.” These are the quotes he shared:
- Golda Meir said you should, “Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” I agree that everyone in our District has the ability to succeed.
- If Rosa Parks believes, “Knowing what must be done does away with fear”, then we ALL can succeed by pushing ourselves during those difficult moments”
- “Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” – Oprah Winfrey Imagine what we could become.
- “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Following the words of Mother Teresa, the experiences during our day-to-day interactions can create a much healthier environment for students, staff, and faculty.
- Sonia Sotomayor said, “A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.” I need everyone to be a part of our District’s success.
- Joan Rivers once said, “I was smart enough to go through any door that opened.” Take every opportunity that is offered to you!
- I will end with this quote: “We need to start work with the idea that we’re going to learn every day. I learn, even at my position, every single day.” – Chanda Kochhar
Chancellor Burke ended his message by saying, “There are great things happening every day at the colleges and the district office. On this International Women’s Day, I celebrate all of your accomplishments, dedication to the Kern Community College District, and look forward to the things to come!” Thank you Tom Burke!
24th Norman Levan Faculty Colloquium
On Friday, the Levan Center for the Humanities held the 24th annual Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium in honor of the current Norman Levan Faculty Colloquium Award recipient, Oliver Rosales, and all past award recipients. Oliver presented his lecture on Bakersfield into U.S. Civil Rights History: Exploring Multiracial Social Activism in the American Far West. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session, presentation of his award, and refreshments in the Norman Levan Center for Humanities.
Thank you to the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium Committee, Susan Pinza, Chair, Bob Allison, John Gerhold, Alex Gonzalez, Donna Starr, Jack Hernandez, Richard Marquez, and Erin Miller. Also, thank you to the many others who help put on this event, including the Students of the Renegade Room for the refreshments, Manny De Los Santos and Kristin Rabe for the media arrangements, FCDC and Archives Association.
Susan joked that for those that were able to attend the Reimagining Equality: Inclusive Communities in Post-Obama America lecture the night before, Anita Hill was the opening act for Oliver’s lecture. We are so fortunate to have these opportunities to bring such important people to BC.
Did you know that Oliver is a Renegade? He received his AA here at BC and went on to get his BA at UC Berkeley, his Master at CSUB and his PhD at UC Santa Barbara. He then returned to be a Renegade and brought with him his education, his excellence and his drive to find and publish the contentious historiography of activism that touches many of our students and our community. He is also a supporter of the National Endowment for the Humanities and recently returned from DC where he met with congress concerning the NEH budget. Oliver’s award is well deserved. Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?
Celebrating Jeannie Parent
Jeannie Parent, a BC faculty member who teaches English for Multilingual Students, will be mentioned at the Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards on March 21st. Cal State Bakersfield’s Kegley Institute of Ethics hosts an awards ceremony every year recognizing people who make positive contributions to the community. Jeannie is being honored for her work as the founder of the non-profit organization Kern Welcoming and Extending Solidarity to Immigrants (KWESI), a group of volunteers who visit immigrants in detention at Mesa Verde Detention facility in Bakersfield, and advocate for justice on their behalf.
She tells me that the organization is connected to a larger, national network called CIVIC, which is committed to ending the isolation of immigrants in detention. and she says “Many of the people we visit are asylum seekers, and we not only visit them in order to end the isolation they feel when they are imprisoned for months on end (sometimes indefinitely), but we support them if and when they are released on bond or when they win their cases; this may include helping with temporary housing, transportation, food, clothing, and phones, as well as communicating with families and finding legal assistance for them. I started visiting people weekly three years ago when Mesa Verde opened.”
You can read a full list of the Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards recipients in an op-ed written by Michael Burroughs in the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian.
Student Resources in The RIP
Student Reporter, Paige Atkison wrote a beautiful article for The Renegade RIP highlighting the various student services offered at BC.
She said, “Whether or not you believe you need to find extra academic or health resources, it can be useful to familiarize yourself with the programs made available to you by Bakersfield College.” Check it out at www.therip.com
Photo from http://www.therip.com
Let me conclude my blog with my trip to Guam.
Long flight — about 6 hours to Honolulu and then another 8 hours to Guam. We were a team of 10. Standing: Susan Kazama, Sylvia Dorsey-Robinson, Bill Hirt, Vernoica Ogata, Susan Murray, Laurie Huffman, Gene Huff, Charles Sasaki. Sitting: Sonya Christian, Lesley Bonds
Most of my time was spent on accreditation work but I did get out for regular early morning walks. After a regular 3:00 a.m. zoom video call with Jennifer and the Vice Presidents, I headed out for my walk north on San Victores all the way to the point and then back to the hotel on the beach.
At 4:00 am it is very quiet – ocean breezes and unpredictable rain showers. At 5:00 am the runners start, looking serious, maybe training for the Guam Marathon coming up on April 8th.
After the official visit I did get in a driving tour around the southern half of the island. The island coastline is very beautiful, white beaches, great diving and full of history from war in the Pacific Theater. Guam is 6000 miles from the US west coast, 3 hours from Japan, on the edge of the Philippine Sea and 210 miles from the Marianas Trench – the deepest part of the oceans of the world.
The island reminded me in some ways of Kerala, India, with its contrasts in wealth and three-story cinderblock shopping complexes, except Guam as part of the US has building codes that don’t allow the maze of electrical wires that you see in southern Indian villages. The island is seeing a resurgence of the indigenous Chamorro culture, and is over 80% catholic so my driving tour included many beautiful churches that in some ways reminded me of the tropical churches of Kerala as well.
Spent my last evening on The Beach (on Gun Beach Road). Guam’s largest Bar and Grill is located on this beach front property. However, there are secluded nooks that make this part of the island the best place to witness the sunset….. a spectacular, romantic, spiritual and most perfect sunset. A piece of heaven certainly descended on this part of the world that memorable evening. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Loved the Plumeria and the Flame of the Forest Trees.
Thank you Susan Murray for some of the great pictures.
Exhausted and at the Guam airport heading back home.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever