Juneteenth 2023 – CA CCs promote empathy and unity

Last Saturday, I walked out of the gym after my Saturday morning class and spotted this bird.

I texted a friend who is a bird watcher and she immediately came back with gray hawk. She then checked in with a raptor expert and came back with hybrid falcon.

What do you think?

Then on Sunday, I enjoyed watching the 76th Tony Awards. Kimberly Akimbo received top honors for Best Musical, while Leopoldstadt took Best Play.

I love musicals.

Check out the opening performance with host Ariana DeBose.

This week I also had my first Consultation Council meeting as California Community Colleges Chancellor. Great group of talented and dedicated folks. Our time is now!


On Monday, we celebrate Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived on the island of Galveston, Texas, to take command of the federal troops who went there to enforce the emancipation of its slaves. He issued General Order No. 3, which enforced the Emancipation Proclamation and freed all remaining slaves in Texas.

Now, Juneteenth is a federal holiday – first recognized as a federal holiday in 2021 when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.

Here is excerpt from an email I sent to our staff :

“This celebration allows us to foster a deeper understanding of our shared history and promote empathy and unity among our colleagues. Linked here is a short video featuring renowned Harvard historian, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., further explaining the significance and history of Juneteenth.”

And wishing all the dads out there a very happy Father’s Day tomorrow!

Good morning California.
It is June 17, 2023.
A good day to be a Community College Champion

From California Community Colleges

Woodland Community College, Feather River College
among Community College Innovation Challenge winners

The Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) is led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is a national competition where community college student teams, working with a faculty or administrator mentor, use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to innovate solutions to real-world problems; participate in an Innovation Boot Camp; and compete for cash awards.

This year, two California Community Colleges are among the winners. Woodland Community College took 2nd place, while Feather River College took 3rd.

» Read more about the CCIC

» Check out posts from MESA at Woodland Community College

» Learn more about Feather River College’s team

Norco College Rocketry Team
AR 51025 Competition Update and Video

In Fall 2022, Norco College Rocketry collaborated with the Flabob Airport Rocketry Program by taking weekly classes and worked diligently to educate themselves on rocketry fundamentals and techniques. On March 4th, the team successfully launched and retrieved their rocket “Vector” and performed a static fire in the Mojave Desert. After Vector, the team began preparations for our competition rocket for the FAR 51025 Competition. 

» Read more and see additional videos about the Rocketry team

Re-imagined Hiring Event
Hosted at Butte College Career Center

This spring, the Butte College Career Center partnered with SynEd to launch a new pilot to connect students completing certificate and degree programs in accounting and business with employers hiring for those skills. The career center modeled the event after SynEd’s Appointment with your Future.

» Read more about the Hiring Event

De Anza College Receives MESA Grant
for Underrepresented Students

De Anza has been awarded $1.55 million in state funding over the next five years for a new cohort program to support historically underrepresented students who want to transfer in STEM majors.

The new MESA (Math, Engineering and Science Achievement) program will build on strategies that proved highly effective with De Anza’s Math Performance Success program, which has used dedicated counselors, embedded peer tutors and additional support to improve student success rates in Math – particularly for Latinx and Black students.

» Read more about MESA at De Anza

In Case You Missed It

Diverse Issues in Higher Education: Education Department
Announces Grants for Initiatives to Support Native Students

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has announced more than $8 million in available grants to fund initiatives for Native students.

» Read more about his grant program


LAist: America Needs Pilots, But Training Is Pricey.
Community Colleges Are Stepping In

A commercial pilot license is also a necessary step toward flying for an airline, and those pilots should have some leverage when they hit the market. According to analysts with consulting firm Oliver Wyman, while the gap between supply and demand of pilots has improved from projections in 2022, there may be a shortfall of up to 24,000 pilots by 2026.

Still, pilot training programs can get expensive, as students navigate an array of fees. That’s left affordable community college programs an opening.

» Read more

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy tweeted

Allan Hancock College‘s Beyond Incarceration Greater Education (BIGE) Club visited the Santa Maria Police Department to share their stories and discuss how the two groups can work together to Change the Odds in our community.

Calbright College spreading the word at the Juneteenth Education Fair at Camp Pendleton:

Mission College kicked off their Summer Concert Series:

And thank you to Assemblymember Mike Fong for sharing this photo of us after we met in Sacramento this week:

And From the Home of the Renegades

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $13.5 Million Investment
to Equitably Grow Solar Energy Workforce

As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced 12 projects, whose work will span more than 13 states, selected for negotiation to launch training partnerships that expand the solar energy workforce in underserved and underrepresented communities, as well as create career pathways with thousands of good-paying jobs.

Kern Community College District (Bakersfield, CA): In partnership with IBEW, this project will provide solar installation career-track training and electrical apprenticeship readiness training with opportunities for union membership for participants from disadvantaged communities in the Central Valley of California. ​(Award: $1,000,000)

» Read more about the grants

» Read more about this week at BC!

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Remember – our greatest challenges enable us to do our greatest work.

That’s all for today.

See you next Saturday!

With much hope and joy, 

Your Chancellor,



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2 thoughts on “Juneteenth 2023 – CA CCs promote empathy and unity

  1. Sue Vaughn June 18, 2023 at 6:32 am Reply

    Congratulations Sonya. I know you will be a great Chancellor.

    Sue Vaughn

    • SonyaChristian June 18, 2023 at 7:32 am Reply

      So happy to see your comment Sue after all these years. Look forward to connecting sometime when I am in the San Diego area.

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