Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Woke up early this morning with a feeling of spaciousness…. a feeling that has been elusive for the last several months, with the last two weeks being especially intense. Thought I would start my Saturday blogging with a fun and sweet Facebook video post by our very own Joe Saldivar.
Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 20, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade
Happy Father’s Day all.
It was another very active week at Bakersfield College as we launched a full week of conversations leading up to June 19 – or “Juneteenth.” I will continue to upload a few videos from the program each week until we cycle through all of the contributions.
June 15: #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation Part I
On Monday we launched our first program of the week at 6pm. If you missed it, you can still watch the program in full on Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook page HERE.
Here is my video message introduction, pulled from my letter to the campus 6 days following George Floyd’s death. Pump up the volume as you read the words and listen to the music of this 3:48-minute video. The song is performed by Caley Mayhall in The Journey of Harriet Tubman composed by Dr. Ron Kean and conducted by Dr. Jen Garrett.
Congressman and House Republican Leader, Kevin McCarthy noted the work of Bakersfield College and the Bakersfield Police Department in strengthening the curriculum of the Police Academy to include topics of micro aggression, racial bias, and community policing.
Congressman TJ Cox recalled the hurt he has felt in his life when he has experienced racism, and called upon us to stand against injustice.
Congressman and House Majority Whip, James Clyburn gave a brief history of Juneteenth and emphasized that communication is as much what we seek to understand as it is about what we are saying.
Thank you, Congressman Cox, for securing a video message from Congressman Clyburn to BC.
June 16: #RealTalk on Race in America with Generation Z
On Tuesday night, Bakersfield College hosted our third #RealTalk on Race in America – this time with Generation Z. Moderator Danny Morrison spent an hour and a half with three young leaders in our Black community: Caleb (age 13), Amaya (age 19), and JaNell (age 20). Amaya and JaNell are BC students.
Listening in to these three teens talk about how racism has not only affected them personally, but the ways they have engaged personally to be a part of the change was both heartbreaking and inspiring. It is a must-listen. You can watch the full stream on Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook page HERE.
June 17: #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation Part II
On Wednesday, we held part II of the celebration. If you missed it, you can still watch the program in full on Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook page HERE.
Supervisor Leticia Perez talked about the ways in which she has witnessed unintentional, yet deeply rooted implicit biases affect sentencing, jury selection, and other elements of the criminal justice system.
Lyle Martin, retired Chief of Police of the Bakersfield Police Department and Chief District Attorney Investigator of Kern County, shared his rules to live by.
Assemblymember Vince Fong, acknowledged the hurt our community is experiencing and called upon all to make an ongoing commitment to do, show, and experience tolerance, acceptance, and love daily.
June 18: #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation Part III
On Thursday, we held part III of the celebration. If you missed it, you can still watch the program in full on Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook page HERE.
Bakersfield City Councilman Andrae Gonzales made a call to action for everyone to take a seat at the table and make their voices heard. He encouraged us to attend city council meetings, make comments at public forums, and engage fully in the path forward.
Dee Slade, Executive Director of the African American Network of Kern County reflected upon her decades long fight for justice in Kern, disappointed but hopeful in our current march for basic freedoms – to be seen and to be heard.
Assemblymember Rudy Salas proudly shared that the assembly recently passed the Assembly Constitutional Amendment “ACA-5” to reinstate affirmative action in California colleges and government agencies, a step closer to it reaching the ballot in November.
June 19: #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation Part IV
After a very full week of difficult conversations, it was nice to take a moment and celebrate the significance of Juneteenth with local artists from our community. You can view the full program HERE.
Here is a list of artists who performed on Friday night:
- Jerome Wheeler (Song: “Keep Praying”)
- JaNell Gore, BC student (Spoken Word)
- Dat Krew (Dance Routine)
- Charles Spotwood (Praise Dance/Mime)
- Jovon Dangerfield (Song: “Resilient”)
- Christopher Anderson (Spoken Word)
- Jehdiah Woodrow (Song: “A Change is Gonna Come”)
- Charles Spotwood (Praise Dance/Mime)
- Trendsetter 003 (Rap Song)
- Andreu “Dance Fever” Jones (Interpretive Dance – Anthony Hamilton)
- Mike Jenkins (Gospel Song)
Bakersfield College prepared a brief program in which we called together key partners to make commitments to our community on how they will be a part of the change.
Bakersfield College also unveiled our four renewed commitments to racial equity:
Over the summer and into the fall, our Equal Opportunity & Diversity Advisory Council (EODAC) will lead our campus in developing our institutional, departmental/committee level, and individual commitments to racial equity. Thank you to EODAC chairs Vikki Coffee, Bryan Hirayama, and Corny Rodriguez for your leadership.
For a full overview of BC’s conversation around Juneteenth, visit the #LightACandle website. We will also be posting all our videos from the week on this website.
Juneteenth in the News
Two of our Juneteenth planning team members authored Community Voices pieces in The Bakersfield Californian this week.
Dr. Paula Parks, English faculty and Coordinator of the Umoja Community wrote about her experiences as a Black woman and the ways in which racism affects her students still today. Read it HERE.
“My Umoja students also tell me about being followed around stores while they shop. More than one student has been late to class or absent because he/she was hassled by police. One student told of working outside a large store, being paid to collect survey results. A white woman accused him of hitting her. Police were called, and my student was cuffed and made to sit on the curb while they fetched the security camera footage that showed that he didn’t touch her. That incident left my student too upset and traumatized to go to BC that day.“
Steven Watkin, Executive Director of Outreach & Early College detailed the commitments BC is exploring through the Juneteenth dialogue. Read it HERE.
“BC has a longstanding and clearly-enacted commitment to racial equity that can be seen in our daily operations. We’ve established a team of individuals committed to the success of each and every one of our African American students. It is our endeavor to support our students academically while creating opportunities for community engagement.“
Our local news stations had excellent coverage of the program. Here are a few to check out:
- KBAK interviewed Danny Morrison on June 15 about the week’s events HERE.
- Ema Sasic, and The Bakersfield Californian covered our June 15 program. Check it out HERE.
- Steve Watkin joined KGET for a Sunrise Interview to discuss the significance of Juneteenth. Check out his interview HERE.
Thank you to my core team who pulled this together
Thank you Jennifer Achan, Dr. Tommy Tunson, and Dr. Paula Parks.
Thank you Danny Morrison
Thank you Steven Watkin
Fun Social Media
I loved this tweet from the Bakersfield Californian’s Ema Sasic. Please check out the Buzzfeed article showing fairy tale princesses reimagined as Black girls. These photos are powerful and stunning.
Did you see our EOPS department had a drive-through to pass out graduation regalia to their students? It is wonderful to see how our faculty and staff have adapted to the times and continued to serve our students in safe and creative new ways.
Outgoing BCSGA President Samantha Pulido shared her excitement about starting the STARS Program at UC San Diego. I am so proud of this accomplished young lady, and can’t wait to see what else the future holds for her. Best of luck, Samantha!
Billie Jo Rice updated her Facebook profile image. And I loved the new picture.
Amazon was kind enough to partner up with our Career Education team for its first virtual recruitment event on Wednesday. Amazon representatives turned to Bakersfield College to help them hire more than 3,000 new employees at the Amazon fulfillment center being constructed in Bakersfield. KERO interviewed Carlos Medina in an article promoting this week’s sessions, and John Cox of the Bakersfield Californian wrote a preview for the event as well. We still have two more Amazon Day Zoom sessions available for next Wednesday, June 24 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., so register now to find out more information and participate.
Parent Info Night
We hosted two virtual parent info nights, one in English on Tuesday and another in Spanish on Thursday, to let parents know all of the opportunities available to their children through Bakersfield College. I’d like to thank all of the organizers for putting together this event.
Classes are available right now for the summer and fall semesters. Visit the BC Class Schedule page to see all of our availabilities and start your education today!
New America Brief on Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Community Colleges
A brief published in June by the think tank New America proposes that states could make higher education more attainable by offering bachelor’s degrees at community colleges.
Diverse Education reporter Sara Weissman summarized the brief and interviewed co-authors Ivy Love and Iris Palmer. The brief studies baccalaureate programs at US community colleges dating back to the first four-year degrees offered in Florida in 2001.
“Our research has shown that [four-year programs at community colleges] are for the most part complementary and they don’t end up enrolling the same students as four-year institutions,” Palmer said. “What they end up doing is expanding opportunity for a more diverse set of students.”
You can read the full report, titled “Community College Baccalaureate Programs: A State Policy Framework”, on the New America website.
Renegade Athletics Finishes 2019-2020 With #17 Finish in CCCAA NATYCAA Cup Standings
We are pleased to hear that Renegade Athletics has finished the 2019-2020 academic year tied with Hartnell College at #17 in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) and National Association of Two Year College Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA) Cup Standings. Out of all SoCal schools, the Renegades finished 12th. The ranking moves them up 2 spots from the 2018-19 finish of #19. In 2017-18 they finished tied for #30, and the year before that (2016-17) ended in a tie for #50.
The 2019-20 athletics year will forever be remembered for the shutdown of sports in March 2020 due to COVID-19, however prior to the closure Renegade Athletics captured Western State Conference Championships in Men’s Soccer (first in program history) and Volleyball (4th consecutive) and a Southern California Wrestling Alliance (SCWA) title in Wrestling (3rd title in four years) These three titles brings the total number of team conference championships in Renegade Athletics history to 184. In addition in 2019-2020, four individual Renegade conference championships were added, all in Wrestling: Alexis Becerra (141 lb.), Scott Hokit (174 lb.), Jordan Annis (184 lb.) and Ricardo Gonzalez (197 lb.).
Closing Week Videos
As we logged on Wednesday, we were treated to some photos from the year:
CSEA President Tina Johnson shared an update for our classified employees:
And Jennifer Johnson received a President’s Leadership Award:
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever