Live simply…so others can simply live

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, October 5, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

What a week…. started with Arun Gandhi visiting BC and Delano and ended the week in San Diego at a statewide meeting. Snapped some great photos, and snuck away one evening to check out Old Town San Diego.

Sunset Oct 2 2019….. Don’t forget your three wishes

Old Town San Diego is home to the first European colonial settlement in California. The San Diego Presidio and Mission San Diego Alcala were established in 1769. The mission was later moved further up the San Diego River, but the Presidio remained the center of town until the 1860s, when Alonzo Horton developed present-day downtown San Diego.

Today, visitors can wander through lush gardens, browse in shops for unique treasures, indulge great Mexican food, listen to strolling mariachis, tour a haunted building, or spend a day at a museum. Year round, Old Town is the place to be for food, folklore, and fun. For dinner, I had a chille releno and sopapillas which were delicious … although I must say that the sopapillas in New Mexico are the best I have had yet.

It seemed that there were many celebrating birthdays at the restaurant. Got introduced to the song Las Mananitas that is traditionally sung to wake up loved ones on their birthdays. So here it is for those of you celebrating your birthdays this weekend.

Arun Gandhi Speaks in Delano

This week’s visit by Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, made me go back and watch clips from Richard Attenborough’s 1983 movie Gandhi, which won a total of 8 Oscars including best picture, best director, and best actor.

Here are some clips, starting with a 2:37-min clip from the movie on his early years in South Africa.

A 2:43-minute clip

The funeral scene

Chamber Singers with Dr. Jen Garrett perform two pieces… You Will Be Found, and Bridge Over Troubled Water

Abel Guzman captured a side view of the Chamber Singers performing these two songs on facebook live.

When Dr. Arun Gandhi took the stage at Delano High’s RFK Auditorium on Monday, he started by asking the audience to participate in a thought experiment. He had everyone pair up, asking one person to hold their fist clenched as tightly as possible, while the other person did anything they could to get it open. After a few seconds struggling to force their partner’s hand open, he asked a simple follow-up question, “Did anyone ask their partner if they would open their hand?” This simple exercise helped motivate the primary theme of Arun Gandhi’s talk, the pervasiveness of violence in our everyday lives and how by reducing the passive violence within ourselves we can reduce acts of physical violence and conflict in our larger society.

The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun’s appearance in Delano is one of the highlights of a full year of programming honoring the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth in 1869. Arun grew up in South Africa in the 1940s and became full of anger at a young age as he fell victim to prejudice in his home country. For his well-being, his parents sent him to live with his grandparents at the Sevagram ashram in India for two years. During that time, “Grandfather,” as Arun simply calls him, taught him how to channel his anger and react peacefully. Arun’s stories about his time at Sevagram are collected in his most recent book, The Gift of Anger and Other Lessons from My Grandfather.

Arun’s time with both of his grandparents taught him about anger, and in fact he says that it was his grandmother that taught his grandfather that reacting in anger was ineffective. He tells more about his grandmother in his book The Forgotten woman: The Untold Story of Kastur Gandhi.

I was happy to see that three of our trustees were able to attend this event — Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Jack Canale, and Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Arun described how physical violence is what most of us think of with the word violence, but there is also non-physical violence, or passive violence. When we over consume or waste abundant resources for our own comfort, we are acting with passive violence against the environment and humanity. Passive violence creates the conditions for and fuels physical violence, so recognizing that in our own actions becomes the conduit of change. We can stop over consuming and wasting our resources. Arun’s grandfather taught him that we must, “live simply so others can simply live.” 

Arun spoke of great leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who studied Grandfather, even as he advised that their work was not done, and that we will not get rid of violence and know peace until we stop subjugating others, identifying people by labels, and judging others. To know peace, we must accept each other as human beings.

Sonya Christian with Arun Gandhi

In response to a question, Arun Gandhi said there is no more honorable work than manual labor and to never be ashamed of working in the fields. He stressed that education is not just for upward mobility, but for better understanding, and to never stop educating yourself as education is about enlightenment.

BC history professor Oliver Rosales moderated a Q&A session with Arun Gandhi, asking what his grandfather would think about the ways that his approach to non-violent political protest influenced Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and countless other civil rights leaders over the last century. Arun responded that while Grandfather’s philosophy of “ahimsa” or non-violence is effective for resolving grievances between conflicting cultures, it is primarily a tool for self-improvement and growth, and people will continue to engage in the same conflicts over and over until they evolve to address the root causes of conflict within themselves.

See a short clip of his response in this Bakersfield Californian video.

Check out Robert Price‘s piece on the front page of The Bakersfield Californian “‘Never submit to cowardice,’ another Gandhi urges.”

Loved the coverage from Univision where the reporter talked to students as well as Abel Guzman, BC’s Exec Director of Rural Initiatives.

https://www.univision.com/local/fresno-kftv/nieto-de-gandhi-comparte-ensenanzas-con-estudiantes-del-condado-kern-video

Also KGET: https://tinyurl.com/y5n3f3kx

I want to recognize the person who really brought the community wide celebrations to life, Dr. Naina Patel. BC got engaged with these celebrations when Naina texted me on January 4, 2019 inviting us to participate. Thank you Naina Patel!

Dr. Naina Patel

Thank you Dr. Nicky Damania and the Office of Student Life, Abel Guzman, Executive Director of Rural Initiatives, Rene Ayon, Principal of Delano High School, Delores Rodriguez, Principal of RFK and everyone in the Renegade family who made his visit as warm and welcoming as possible.

Here are some fun pictures of the BC Team that made it happen.

The Gandhi Celebration will continue throughout the Fall semester. On October 25, you can check out the BC Choir and Chamber Singers at the Building Bridges in the World event, which will honor Gandhi’s legacy through singing and accompaniment by the Synergy String Quartet.

Distinguished Speaker Series: Erin Gruwell

Teachers can truly have a remarkable impact on their students’ lives. Our Distinguished Speaker from this past Wednesday, Erin Gruwell, is a perfect example of this. When assigned freshman English classes full of students that nobody believed could really succeed, she was determined to make a difference. Her heart and determination led her to capture her students’ stories in journals, which lead to the start of The Freedom Writers Foundation and the publication of The Freedom Writer’s Diary, a book composed of the students’ true stories written in Gruwell’s class.

Erin Gruwell

After the success of the Freedom Writers Diary, the story of Gruwell and the Freedom Writers was later adapted into a 2007 film starring Hilary Swank. Check out the trailer of the movie on youtube.

Gruwell lead a series of presentations in the Indoor Theater, getting very emotional in the process while showing clips from the “Freedom Writers” movie to describe how close they were to what actually happened. She brought out special guest Narrada Comans, one of the original Freedom Writers, who talked about the ups and downs of his life as a Freedom Writer over the last 20 years, and what a difference it made to be able to share his story and have the voice that “Ms. G” gave him.

Joining the audience in the Indoor Theater to hear the powerful message of Erin Gruwell and Narrada Comans were more than 500 dual enrollment students from Independence, Bakersfield, Mira Monte, Frontier, Ridgeview, McFarland, Vista, Cesar E. Chavez, Delano, and Robert F. Kennedy high schools. When the Dual Enrollment Department heard that Erin Gruwell would be coming to speak at BC, they purchased 500 copies of The Freedom Writer’s Diary to put into our dual enrollment classrooms across the county. These students were excited to meet Gruwell and her former student Narada in real life, and there were many emotional moments as students came to get their books signed and shared a bit of their own stories. 

Erin Gruwell and friend on stage

I would like to thank Erin Gruwell and Narrada Comans for being a part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. I would also like to thank BCSGA and the Cerro Author Series committee for putting this event on and continuing to bring great guests.

Erin Gruwell on stage

Our next Distinguished Speaker will be Dr. Paula Green from the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, who will be giving a presentation in Forum 101 on October 23. I hope to see you there!

Valley Fever Town Hall

On New Years Day in 2012, Rob Purdie woke up with an aggressively painful headache that wouldn’t go away. His energy felt depleted, and any amount of light in his eyes would intensify the migraines even further. As the weeks passed, he visited several doctors to try to find a cause, but none of them could give an answer.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

By Valentine’s Day of that year, Purdie was hospitalized with Valley Fever, and the doctors at Kern Medical were beginning the months-long fight to save his life.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

Purdie was one of the panelists for a town hall on Valley Fever at the Indoor Theater on Thursday. Congressman TJ Cox and the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical organized the event, which provided the public with essential information on one of the deadliest diseases in the Central Valley, with approximately 3,000 cases diagnosed in Kern County alone last year.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

Congressman Cox briefly spoke at the beginning of the event about what his team is doing to bring awareness of Valley Fever to the nation’s capital, with the hopes of securing financial resources for increased research into treatment. His comments were followed by the Valley Fever Institute, a panel of world-class medical experts who are working to save those affected with Valley Fever while conducting clinical trials and research to minimize the symptoms and eventually cure the disease.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

Purdie’s story is typical for the majority of people afflicted with Valley Fever, as the nature of the symptoms make it difficult for a doctor to discover the cause if they don’t know to look for it. Valley Fever is caused by breathing in airborne spores of a fungus that is prevalent in the soil throughout the Southwestern US, but occurs in Central California in particular. The symptoms typically manifest as a flu that never ends. By the time that Valley Fever is usually diagnosed weeks or even months after symptoms appear, the disease has progressed into life-threatening complications.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

The Valley Fever Institute aims to increase awareness of the disease so that people can be aware of the symptoms and let their primary care physicians know when they might need to be tested. To prevent getting Valley Fever, the institute recommends taking preventative safety measures like watering the ground when working or playing around soil and dirt.

Valley Fever Town Hall panel

At the end of their presentation, members of the Valley Fever Institute took questions from the audience about the economic impact of the disease, as well as what low-income patients can do to secure resources for treatment, which can cost thousands of dollars per month.

KGET Channel 17’s Eytan Wallace was in attendance to provide local media coverage for the event. Visit KGET.com to read more.

Thank you to Congressman Cox and the Valley Fever Institute for this important informational event, as well as everyone at BC who helped provide a welcoming space for this event to occur.

Early College Football Night

Pictured, in no particular order: Steve Watkin, Mayor Karen Goh, Jean Fuller, Romeo Agbalog, Brian Bell (McFarland High School Principal), Tony Cordova, Kimberly Bligh, Aaron Resendez (McFarland Unified School District Superintendent), Jim Beltran (McFarland USD Board of Trustees President), and Angel Turrubiates (McFarland USD Board of Trustees Vice President)

I was so happy to have Early College students from McFarland High School Early College and Arvin High School join me at last Saturday’s home football game! Before the game began, students were invited to a resource fair where our wonderful CTE, Counseling, Umoja, EOPS, Next Step, Finish in 4, Outreach, Rural Initiatives and Early College teams were giving out swag and information to these young Renegades. The students also enjoyed free tacos and played lawn games together while waiting for the football game to start.

Early college football night
Pictured, in no particular order: Jean Fuller, Russell Fuller, Jerene Bastisti, Pam Chambers, Dana Brennen, Joe Brennen, Courtney Dunbar, Lindsay Mayo, Kaelyn Peterson, Brent Peterson, Annie Beard, and Jeremy Beard 

The game started with McFarland Unified School District Superintendent Aaron Resendez doing the coin toss, and at halftime we had two Early College students compete to win the relay challenge. Both students left winners, with prizes provided by our Athletics Department.

Check out these great photos of KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog and McFarland School District Superintendent Aaron Resendez being interviewed at halftime by Vance Palm

And, here are some great shots of our amazing new football field!

Thank you to Kylie Swanson and Early College, Outreach, and Athletics for providing this exciting event for our Early College students. I can’t wait to do this again next year!

Here are some pictures — thank you Mayor Karen Goh.

New Employee Orientation

Bakersfield College has a new way to connect with our employees. This week kicked off our New Employee Orientation, welcoming recent classified and management employees with a full-day orientation designed to get them acclimated to the college and more knowledgeable about BC processes and structure. We welcomed employees from financial aid, athletics, food services, and many others.

BC new employees group shot
Front row, left to right: Rena Hamblin, Michelle Puentes, Michelle Kruse, Lysander Ramos
Back row, left to right: Benjamin Balderama, Jonathan Hernandez, Jeff Keith, Alexis Pitcher, Fidel Cabuena, Nick Chidgey

Participants learned about public safety, IT, BC’s culture, and got to take a tour of the campus. Along with this orientation, Michele Bresso, Todd Coston, Dena Rhoades and Pam Rivers have developed New Classified and New Manager academies that will kick off in November, designed to continue the professional development of new employees and those who want to increase their skills.

Welcome to BC, new employees! We can’t wait to learn together.

BASECAMP 2019: Prison Educators Retreat

BC’s Inmate Scholar program and Cerro Coso Community College, in collaboration with the Corrections to College California organization and New York University’s McSilver Institute, co-hosted the first ever Prison Educators Retreat at Tehachapi Mountain Park on September 26-29. Known as BASECAMP2019: Prison Educators Retreat, the event focused on professional development opportunities and personal wellness during a multi-day and overnight retreat located in a unique natural setting, as opposed to the traditional hotel conference venue.

Inmate Scholars Program Retreat

The event was attended by nearly 80 people teaching face-to-face college programs throughout California’s prisons and jails, including Bakersfield College, Cerro Coso Community College, College of the Redwoods, Southwestern Community College, San Diego City College, Cuesta College, Antelope Valley College, Norco College, Imperial Valley College, Allan Hancock College, Columbia College, Folsom Lake College, Chaffey College, Cal State LA, and the Prison University Project in San Quentin.

Inmate Scholars Program Retreat

Bakersfield College Inmate Scholar program attendees included Dan Hall, Angelica Perez, Diana Alcala, Camilla Anderson, Heidi Forsyhe, Dana Heins-Gelder, Bryan Hirayama, Michael Muhme, Shawn Newsom, Gabriel Searcy, La-Reina Villanueva, Joseph Tipay, Sue Ann Villaros, and Sara Wallace.

Inmate Scholars Program Retreat

BC Program Managers Support the Bakersfield Homeless Center

Last Friday evening, four of BC’s program managers were spotted at the Crystal Palace in support of the Bakersfield Homeless Center at their annual Boots and Bachelor auction. Both ticket sales and bids directly support the mission and action of the Bakersfield Homeless Center, which provides services for those in need across Kern County. The BAKHC website states that the center “creates a strong safety net for homeless and at-risk families by providing a broad continuum of services which begins with basic shelter.”

Kylie Swanson, Monika Scott, Endee Grijalva, Lisa Robles
Cowgirls Kylie Swanson, Monika Scott, Endee Grijalva, and Lisa Robles roped in a good time! Yee-haw!
Lisa Robles and Endee Grijalva decked out with light-up swag
Lisa Robles and Endee Grijalva decked out with light-up swag!

Watch the video below to learn how the Bakersfield Homeless Center got started.

Phillips 66 Industrial Automation Presentation

The Career Education Department welcomed Phillips 66 on Wednesday, September 25 for an industry overview presentation of their company. Phillips 66 brought several members from their team including representatives from Lost Hills, Taft, Long Beach, their headquarters in Houston, and our very own Industrial Automation Graduate, Edwin Marroquin, who completed his Baccalaureate in May 2019.

Phillips 66 presentation and students
Phillips 66 team tours Industrial Automation labs.

The Industrial Automation students had an exclusive opportunity to meet and greet with members from their team which included their West Region Engineering Operator, Lead University Technical Recruiter and Director of University Relations. Phillips 66 was so impressed by our faculty, modern labs, and students’ participation, they envision a greater investment into the college and its programs in the future.

Phillips 66 presentation and students
Students receiving insight information from Phillips 66 team.
Phillips 66 presentation and students
Students meet and greet Phillips 66 staff.

Watch Edwin’s success story below:

You Gotta Have Faith

Librarian Faith Bradham presented a paper last December at the Library Assessment Conference in Houston, TX. This paper showcased a mixed-methods assessment of library services at BC she completed in Fall 2017. The conference proceedings have now been published and her paper is available to read now. Way to go, Faith!

Faith Bradham

Fun Photos

Outreach Reaches Out

Web Content Editor Aricia Leighton shared this great photo of the Outreach team after the Arun Gandhi event. They pulled their team together at the last minute and helped out tremendously.  Thanks, everyone!

Outreach department
Boy Scouts of America 2019 Distinguished Citizens Gene and Linda Voiland
College Council

Here are some great photos that Jennifer Serratt sent over from our College Council meeting on Friday.

Found on Facebook: Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio

Adjunct Art Professor Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio tagged me on Facebook in this photo of a beautiful sculpture he created.  The size of this piece is 18 feet tall × 16 feet long × 5 feet wide. Which is bigger: the sculpture, or his artistic talent!

Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio Art
Found on Facebook: Renegade Softball and Cheer Team at St. Vincent De Paul’s BBQ

Mary Jo Pasek had a wonderful evening with her BC family working at the St Vincent BBQ.

Found on Facebook: Partners in Arvin

Endee Grijalva, Program Manager for Adult Education, sent me this flashback to the accreditation forum, where BC saw tremendous community support from our partners in Arvin.

Left to right: Abel Guzman, Casey Yeazel (Grimmway Academy), Jesse Oropeza, Ed Watts (Arvin High Principal), Endee Grijalva, Lupe Aguirre, and Jaime Lopez

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (9/22-9/28) Kern Schools Federal Credit Union Renegades of the Week.

renegades of the week

Lanie Camarillo, Volleyball

In two wins last week Lanie collected 22 kills and zero errors. In the 3-1 win over Canyons (9/25) she had a .387 hitting % and in a 3-0 sweep over Glendale she had a .500 hitting %.

Bryan Gaxiola, Men’s Cross Country

With a time of 21:38 Bryan took first place at the Bakersfield Invitational in leading the men’s cross country team to their first, first place finish as a team of the season.

Men’s Basketball Serves at the Mission of Kern County

This last Saturday our men’s basketball team headed to the Kern County Mission to serve the homeless and needy people of our county. They served meals and even took the time to play basketball with the residents, and showed off their dunking abilities! Thanks Coach Righ Hughes for getting your student athletes involved in our community.

Renegade Report: Volleyball

Watch this week’s edition of the Renegade Report on the Bakersfield College Athletics Facebook page featuring our three-time conference champion volleyball team. Coach Carl Ferreira along with players sat down with host Kenny Calvin to discuss the season and who they think would play them in the movie of their life.

Renegade Athletics Scores

Upcoming Athletics Events ‘On the Hill’

Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Events include:

  • Tues. 10/8 @ 4pm – Women’s Soccer vs. Citrus
  • Wed. 10/9 @ 9am – Women’s Golf hosts Bakersfield Tournament (WSC #6)
  • Fri. 10/11 @ 6pm – Wrestling vs. Moorpark

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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4 thoughts on “Live simply…so others can simply live

  1. Nick Strobel October 5, 2019 at 11:10 pm Reply

    See my Community Voices piece at https://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community-voices-take-part-in-upcoming-talk-about-building-bridges/article_27f1347c-e556-11e9-af5e-ff968d35fff2.html for more about Paula Green’s October 23rd talk. Also talked about Arun Gandhi’s presentation. So glad BC was able to get him to speak to our Delano students (and BC Panorama campus people via livestream).

    • SonyaChristian October 6, 2019 at 5:13 am Reply

      Thank you Nick. Looking forward to the Paula Green talk.

  2. Casey Goodman October 6, 2019 at 12:10 am Reply

    Hello

    • SonyaChristian October 6, 2019 at 5:14 am Reply

      Hello Coach Goodman. Happy to see your team helping at St. Vincent De Paul’s fundraising effort.

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