July 4, 2020 — Celebrating Independence Day from our homes

Good Morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, July 4th … a great day to be an American … a great day to be a Renegade.

I enjoyed this photo essay in The New York Times of past Independence Days. I think you will as well.

Even though we must alter many of our usual traditions and festivities to maintain social distancing and stay safe this year, I know that we will all find ways to celebrate our great nation this weekend.

Take a moment to ready my blog post from last year: https://sonyachristianblog.com/2019/07/07/fireworks-family-and-fun-happy-4th-of-july/

Class of 2020

Special Televised Commencement to Cap Week of “Painting the Town Red” to Celebrate BC Grads

We are excited to announce the 2020 Special Televised Commencement event this year on KGET and Telemundo, Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 7 p.m. 

We are kicking off a week of celebrations prior to the televised Virtual Commencement Event. To honor our 2020 BC graduates we are “Painting the Town Renegade Red” with yard signs and spirit flags. 

Dr. Nicky Damania showing off a We Are BC Spirit Flag – Order yours today!

Do pick up a 2020 Graduation Yard Sign to proudly display at your home. Yard Signs are free on a first-come-first-served basis to the first 2,000 people. We also have BC Spirit Flags (pictured below), which you can purchase to display on your car or home windows to show off your BC Spirit!

Order BC Spirit Flags or to request your free 2020 Graduation Yard Sign with the Office of Student Life Commencement Swag Order Form. You can pick up your items in-person or home delivery is available for a small charge. All proceeds go to fund the BCSGA Scholarship fund. 

As a reminder, be sure to tell your family, friends, and neighbors to tune in on Saturday, July 11 at 7 p.m. to KGET Channel 17 or Telemundo Valle Central Channel 13 (or with antennae, 17.3). This event will also be live-streamed on the Bakersfield College Facebook page.

Honoring BC legends

On Tuesday, we honored two of our Bakersfield College legends as they start their retirements: Dean Cornelio Rodriguez and Athletic Director Sandi Taylor.

The hour-long celebration featured many videos from colleagues and friends. I will showcase them in weekly blog posts over the next few weeks.

Corny and Sandi also got the chance to share some of their memories from their time at Bakersfield College. Thank you to Manny De Los Santos and Brandon Urry for their work in producing these videos:

Corny Rodriguez:

Sandi Taylor:

Outgoing BCSGA President Samantha Pulido also announced a new scholarship:

Videos from the event are posted on the President’s Events page on the BC website (click on “Staff & Faculty Events”).

You can also view the full YouTube playlist.

Virtual Express Enrollment: Become a Renegade in One Day!

Bakersfield College is holding an extended One-Day Virtual Express Enrollment Event for new and returning students on July 8, 2020 from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Counselors and support staff will be available to assist students with their registration process, answer questions and give one-on-one guidance. 

Students are asked to register for the event ahead of time at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/registrationrocks.  For more information, contact Outreach at outreach@bakersfieldcollege.edu or (661) 750-2684.

#LightACandle — A Juneteenth conversation

As many of you know, in light of the recent political demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, Bakersfield College engaged in a series of diverse and important discussions about race and law enforcement around Juneteenth, a day celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States.

I am continuing to share videos from our Juneteenth celebration.

This week, I am focusing on reactions – from Reggie Bolton and Julian West on the Danny Morrison #RealTalk on Race; and from Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry and Assistant Chief Joe Mullins. I’m also sharing a look forward – an introduction to the Transformational Policing Model from Tommy Tunson.

#RealTalk on Race with Danny, Julian, and Reggie

BPD Chief Greg Terry & Assistant Chief Joe Mullins

Tommy Tunson on Transformational Policing

Free Immigration Clinics Add Two More Sessions

BC has partnered with the UFW Foundation to provide free Immigration Clinics to BC students, faculty and staff. They are prioritizing DACA renewals at this time, with assistance available for general immigration questions, visa questions and more. 

Starting in July, they’re adding two more clinics to the monthly schedule. The next two sessions are on Tuesday, July 14th, and Friday, July 17th, from 9 AM to 6 PM, via Zoom. Connect with ab540@bakersfieldcollege.edu to sign up.

Levan Institute – “Be Red Cross Ready”

Next week starting Tuesday, July 7 through Thursday, July 9, the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning is partnering with the American Red Cross on a series of free virtual lectures about health and safety.

Visit the Levan Institute page to register and find out more information about the “Be Red Cross Ready” presentations focused on survival tips for fires, earthquakes, COVID-19 and more.

Community Voices

Norma Rojas, director of marketing and communications, wrote a piece in the Bakersfield Californian about how we must all do our part and have the difficult conversations about race and inequity in order to facilitate real and lasting change.

“While we used to have these conversations in private or within the comfort of our closest circles, we have now been given permission to share the experiences with a wider audience. It is acceptable to discuss the care we must take as professionals, as parents, as community leaders when we walk out the door wanting to embrace our culture, yet understanding that it will make others uncomfortable to do so.”

Fun social media

Kalina Hill, Program Manager, Testing and Placement Center, is staying safe while getting active:

Reference librarian Mindy Wilmot is celebrating her boys:

Our Academic Technology department kept busy with workshops to keep our faculty and staff up to speed:

Closing Week Videos

Continuing the videos from Closing Week in May.

On Thursday of Closing Week, we looked back at the opening of the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center:

Athletics

Isayas Aris Headed to Nyack College

Isayas Aris from Renegade Men’s Basketball announced this week that he is headed to play basketball at Nyack College this coming year. Isayas played the last season for Coach Rich Hughes and made a tremendous impact on the team in just one year. At the end of the season he was named to the WSC South Honorable Mention Team. Congrats Isayas!

Reggie Bolton Named Interim Dean of Kinesiology/Athletics Director

On Wednesday we announced Reggie Bolton as our new interim Dean of Kinesiology/Athletic Director. Reggie is no stranger to Renegade Athletics having been an assistant football coach for 12 years and kinesiology department chair the last seven years. We are excited to welcome Reggie into this new role and know he will do great things. To read the release on GoGades.com click here: http://gogades.com/general/2019-20/releases/202007010n6w9c

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

The universe is simpler than it appears

Got back late last night, transitioning from 64 degrees at Marina Del Rey to 90 degrees here in Bakersfield at 10:30 p.m. Neo immediately rushed to the backyard, something he misses by the beach, and I stood in the backyard with him, enjoying the warm night air …. it was good to be back home.

Good Morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, June 27…a great day to be a Renegade.

After my early walk today, here I am on the back porch, blogging before the morning temperatures soar into the nineties. I was struck by the NYTimes piece by Bob Henderson about Angelo Bassi, a theoretical physicist who is attempting to frame the workings of the universe in a more fundamental way than quantum mechanics. “The idea that the universe is simpler than it appears is supported by the way advances in physics, from Newton’s to Einstein’s and beyond, have accounted for more and more phenomena with fewer and fewer equations. ” Thought you might enjoy it too https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/magazine/angelo-bassi-quantum-mechanic.html?smid=tw-share

Juneteenth

KBAK will be airing highlights from our Juneteenth programming in collaboration with Danny Morrison. The show will air Sunday at 4 pm – be sure to tune in!

Thank you Danny for partnering with BC. We say it all in this video…

Every week, I will feature some of the videos from the two-week long #LightACandle event. Let’s hear from three congressman.

BC Jazz Combos: The Quarantine Sessions

The BC Jazz Studies program recently released a digital album featuring eight tracks created by students collaborating online during the campus shutdown.

Kris Tiner, Director of Jazz Studies, described the process.

“In March of 2020, as the global pandemic became a reality and stay-at-home orders went into effect, we found ourselves unable to meet in person to rehearse or hold class as usual. All of our scheduled concerts, including our annual Jazz Day festival, were eventually cancelled. Classes continued to meet online using Zoom, but the limitations of that platform for playing together live were immediately obvious. Doing anything with the music we had been rehearsing for eight weeks was suddenly out of the question. Instead, we began working on these digital collaborations. We used Zoom to chat and share ideas, Google Drive to share charts and files, cell phones and any home recording technology we could get our hands on to capture music that reflected the ups and downs of these strange days we were going through together. Our goal was to let the times guide our creativity, and the result is this album. Please enjoy, and purchase a copy if you have the means. All proceeds benefit the BC Jazz Studies program.”

Listen and download at https://bcjazzstudies.bandcamp.com.

Dr. Fauci addresses COVID-19 spike

On Friday, the nation once again heard from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who provided an important update on the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “You have an individual responsibility to yourself. But you have a societal responsibility. Because if we want to end this outbreak … we’ve got to realize that we are part of the process.”

“A risk for you is not just isolated to you.”

As cases are again increasing through many parts of the country, California included, it is more important than ever that we each do our part to keep ourselves and each other safe. We must continue social distancing, we must continue to wear our masks, and we must continue to take care of one another.

Dr. Fauci’s urgent message made this post shared by Cindy Collier even more poignant:

Celebrating our Transfer Graduates

We are proud of the following graduates who have recently accepted admission offers from across the nation, and we have created a Transfer Celebration website to share their photos and future plans.

Students may submit their information to be included through August 1, 2020.

This week, I’d like to highlight two of our outstanding transfer students, Leonela Aguilar and Gabriel Diaz.

Spotted in the Community

Jay Tamsi and Mike Turnipseed get Back to Business

Michael Turnipseed, Kern Tax Executive Director, brought Jay Tamsi, CEO of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, on his Conversations that Matter video series to discuss discuss how the Chamber helps boost the local economy.

They also discussed the challenges facing local small business during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the Chamber is helping address those issues.

You can check out the video online.

A Deeper Dive with Romeo Agbalog and Keith Wolaridge

Check out this podcast with Romeo Agbalog, from Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, and Keith Wolaridge, Trustee with the Panama Buena Vista Union School District.

Fun Social Media

Andrea Thorson, one of our Deans of Instruction, welcomed a new member to her family this week:

“This is Pepper Ann(a) – James is still deciding between Ann and Anna. We are so excited! She is a calm little labradoodle.

“Her name, based on a coin toss, was supposed to be Mimsy. However, upon getting her home, we realized the names “Mimsy” and “Macy” were too close and caused confusion. I’m glad because I like “Pepper” best, but James didn’t love it, so he picks the middle name.”

BC Reference Librarian Sondra Keckley celebrated her 20th wedding anniversary this week.

Her husband had put bouquets of flowers throughout their house as a thoughtful surprise.

“I came home from running errands to the sweetest surprise for our 20th anniversary! The roses and sign would be an awesome gift alone, but then I saw another bouquet of flowers in the family room, and before I knew it I was pleasantly surprised in just about every room!! It felt like a scavenger hunt looking to see where else they might be.”

Congratulations to Sondra and Kurt!

Gloria Dumler from our English department shared this post about an article fellow English professor Paula Parks sent out to the department:

You can check out the article, “Turns Out You Can Build Community in a Zoom Classroom” from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

KCCD leadership — #staysafe #wearmasks

Tom Burke, Sonya Christian, Claudia Habib, Jill Board
Some photos from my trip to the marina
Neo heading to the Marina

Closing Week Videos

On Tuesday of Closing Week, Todd Coston continued his Ringmaster role in his backyard with his tiger:

Our Public Safety Meta major Pathway team earned a President’s Leadership Award:

On Thursday, we shared a message about the BC Emergency Student Fund:

Athletics

Celebrating 48 Years of Title IX

On June 23, 1972, Title IX was passed into law stating: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

This June 23 marked 48 years since the beginning of Title IX. This played a huge role for women in many areas in allowing opportunities they previously did not have, and one of the more visible areas came in athletics participation.

While we observe this anniversary and recognize those original trailblazers, we also know that work of equity is a continual and never-ending process.

Memorial Stadium Construction Update

Progress continues this summer with ongoing renovation projects at our beautiful Memorial Stadium. Workers recently finished removing all of the old lights as they prepare to install the new light fixtures. Also happening is the construction of the new HD video scoreboard as well as renovation of restrooms and concessions areas. We can’t wait to see her when all the work is complete!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

June 2020 — A month to remember

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.

Juneteenth

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:

  1. KBAK interviewed Danny Morrison on June 15 about the week’s events HERE.
  2. Ema Sasic, and The Bakersfield Californian covered our June 15 program.  Check it out HERE.
  3. 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 Day

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.

Athletics

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:

Sonya Christian

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

June – A Historic Month. June 12, 1967 Loving v Virginia, June 19, 1865 Black Independence Day

History buffs celebrate June 12th as the “Day of Loving” commemorating the landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia case under Chief Justice Earl Warren. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that distinctions based on race were generally “odious to a free people” and were subject to “the most rigid scrutiny” under the Equal Protection Clause.”  https://www.oyez.org/cases/1966/395

“LIFE photographer Grey Villet met the Lovings (Mildred and Richard) in 1965, before the landmark case went to trial, when he was sent on assignment to document the day-to-day world of the couple. He captured a simple story, a love story. He took photos of the Lovings watching TV together, playing with their kids and kissing. The photos ran in a 1966 issue, providing a rare look into the private lives of a couple that would have such a lasting impact on the laws of the United States.” Read more … https://www.history.com/news/mildred-and-richard-the-love-story-that-changed-america

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 13, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Juneteenth Celebration

We had another active week at the Virtual Home of the Renegades as we continue our conversation and celebration leading into Juneteenth.

On Wednesday, Bakersfield College invited the Bakersfield Police Department to sit down for a live conversation with Danny Morrison.  As the national dialogue on police training is more prominent than ever, BPD spoke about their partnership with Bakersfield College and commitment to high quality training for Kern’s first responders.  Chief Greg Terry and Assistant Chief Joe Mullins referenced our current “Principled Policing” training and the value of the Transformational Policing Model in advancing trust between the police department and public. 

If you missed it, you can still check out the stream here: https://www.facebook.com/dannymoshow/videos/3250895348300092/

Thank you to Dr. Tommy Tunson, BC’s Director of Public Safety Training, for bringing the Transformational Policing Model to BC and working to scale it across the state.  Check out his introduction to the panel discussion below. 

On Thursday evening, the Bakersfield Unity Rally was held at St. Peter Ministries in East Bakersfield. Dozens gathered to hear from political leaders, community activists, and students on the power of listening.

The theme of the evening was “if you see something, say something.”

This important community dialogue is just one of the many that have taken place over the last two weeks.  The diversity of speakers reflected the diversity of our community. It also highlighted the unity that exists and the willingness to continue to engage in dialogue and find solutions to various issues we can no longer be silent about, including law enforcement reform, implicit bias, and racism within Kern County.

As Traco Matthews reminded us, “This shouldn’t just be the burden of black people (to work towards equality),” he said. “It should be a mandate for every citizen of the United States of America.”

T-

Bakersfield is so lucky to have NaTesha “T” Johnson, Michael Bowers, Traco Matthews, and other visionary leaders who are leading the way toward healing in our community.

I was at an all-day accreditation commission meeting and therefore was not able to attend in person — here is a video message that I did for the event.

Message from President Sonya Christian for the Unity in Community Peace Rally

The message of listening as a form of healing and showing respect for one another to promote building a better community is part of the call to action Bakersfield College is engaging in through its Juneteenth Conversations and Celebrations.

Thank you to our community members who are promoting BC’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation.  Check out their videos:

Next week, Bakersfield College has a full slate of virtual activities planned to commemorate Juneteenth, marking the end of slavery in the United States.  Mark your calendars and tune in each evening at 6:00 p.m. to join us live as we hear from local, statewide, and national leaders, as well as our own brothers and sisters right here in Kern County as we honor the moment and #LightACandle to illuminate the pathforward

Be sure to keep up with the events on our website and use our hashtag to keep the online conversation going.

Thank you NaTesha T Johnson for always being a friend to BC!

NaTesha T Johnson is a community leader who embodies unity and community.  When called to serve on Boards, T is at the table.  When asked to support a community event, T is at the table.  When asked to help inspire and grow the next generation of community leaders, T is at the table.  When BC calls to ask for support and engagement, T is at the table.  A former Renegade cheerleader, T continues to be committed to Bakersfield College.  (T, thank you for your support of BC’s#LightACandle A Juneteenth Conversation.  Your enthusiasm, bright spirit, and honest insights will help open the dialogue on what it means to be black in the workplace. )

Join us June 15-19 to hear her testimonial.

Monday, June 15, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others you can expect to hear from: Congressman and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Congressman TJ Cox, Congressman and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

Tuesday, June 16, 6pm: Bakersfield College hosts a third #RealTalk on Race in America Discussion with moderator Danny Morrison.  This week, you’ll hear from the youth leading the movement right here in Kern County.  The panelists include: Caleb Warren, 13; Ja’Nell Gore, 20; and Amaya Williams, 19. Ja’Nell is a BC student who writes for South Kern Sol, and Amaya is a BC student athlete in track & field. I am so proud of our BC students who will be speaking up, and I hope you will tune in to support them.

Wednesday, June 17, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others, you can expect to hear from: Supervisor Leticia Perez, Assemblymember Vince Fong, and Kern County Chief District Attorney Investigator Lyle Martin.

Thursday, June 18, 6pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media’s Facebook for a livestream presentation.  Among others, you’ll hear from Assemblymember Rudy Salas, and African American Network of Kern County Director Dee Slade.

Friday, June 19, 7-9pm: Tune in to Danny Morrison Media and KBAK’s social media for a live celebration of Juneteenth with local artists and musicians.  

  • 7-7:30pm: Welcome from emcee Danny Morrison with live music
  • 7:30pm: Tune in for our formal program to hear from Bakersfield College, the Bakersfield Police Department, the Kern County District Attorney, and more.
  • 8-9pm: End your week with live music and a celebration of Black liberation

Sunday, June 28, 4-5pm: Save the date and plan to tune in to KBAK for our final program to wrap up Bakersfield College’s #LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation program.  

BC faculty on the world stage

Prof. Jeff Newby was invited to address a Global Awareness class at Kansai University in Osaka, Japan. Elvita Sensei, a faculty member at Kansai, asked Jeff to speak on his experiences with COVID-19 in the US/California/Bakersfield and the history of pandemics in general. After a brief introduction, he explained how COVID-19 follows very similar patterns to pandemics of the past, and briefly talked about some of the world’s most disastrous diseases – Bubonic Plague, Influenza, and the Pandemic Spanish Flu of 1918. The focus of his lecture (which went from 10:50 pm – 12:00 am due to the time difference lol), however, was on why COVID is affecting the U.S. so much worse than Japan. Her students seemed particularly interested in this. 

The discussion covered a variety of factors, but the conversation steered toward culture as a huge contributing factor. There were many giggles when he explained that his preferred method of greeting family and friends was a big hug – an obvious no-no in the time of COVID. It was a good, important reminder that no matter where one might be on the planet, we are truly all in this together: one global community in desperate need of empathy and understanding.

BC Hosting Amazon Day

Amazon will be hiring full-time/part-time associates in Bakersfield. They plan to fill upwards of three thousand positions by August 2020 in Bakersfield!

Bakersfield College’s Student Employment Office has partnered with Amazon to host a virtual series promoting Amazons upcoming hiring recruitment. Representatives from Amazon will provide step-by-step information regarding the application, requirements, expectations and benefits for our students and the community.

Pre-registration is required and seats are limited to 500 per session. There will be 4 sessions in June on the 17th and 24th. Links to the webinar will be sent via email to all registered attendees only. To register, please fill out the Amazon Day Pre-registration form.

You can also learn more about this event through KGET and 23ABC‘s coverage.

Online Teaching Certificate offered

BC is excited to announce the launch of the Certificate in Online Teaching.

The program starts with the first course EDUC B30 – introduction to online learning environments. This course is intended for current and future educators as well as anyone interested in online teaching and instruction.

For more, visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/onlineteaching.

Parent Info Night

Join Bakersfield College for Parent Info Night! A time for parents of potential Renegades to learn more about Bakersfield College, resources, financial aid, and ways to support your students as they embark on their next educational chapters.

Sessions will be held on June 16 (English) and June 18 (Spanish). Both sessions are from 6-7 pm.

Register online for the English or Spanish session.

Renegade Pantry

BC’s Office of Student Life continues to provide food, hygiene products, and clothes items through the Renegade Drive-Thru Pantry! Students can sign up online or have a question? Email thepantry@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Closing Week Videos

The Project HireUP team received one of the President’s Leadership Awards:

We took a break on Thursday to stretch and enjoy some photos from the past year:

We shared this video message from the Kern Promise team:

Athletics

CCCAA Board of Directors Adopts Athletics Plan for 2020-21

Last Friday, the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a three-part plan to allow the state’s community colleges a return to intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year while being directed by health guidelines from the state of California. 

To read the official release from the CCCAA click here: https://www.cccaasports.org/about/Board_adopts_athletics_plan

To read the article written by Clay Cunningham in the Californian click here: https://www.bakersfield.com/sports/college/cccaa-moves-forward-with-fall-sports-plan-expects-final-decision-by-july-17/article_07101556-a776-11ea-85eb-43557ba4722d.html

Memorial Stadium at Dusk

Check out this shot of Memorial Stadium on a clear evening this last week at dusk taken by Brandon Urry. We are all eagerly waiting for a return of all sports – including Renegade Football!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

What a difficult, active week at the virtual Home of the Renegades as we continue to Shelter in Place and engage with a world coping with COVID-19, the recession, and the horrific public death of George Floyd.

The picture above is from a friend’s garden. These are the Mexican bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima). They bloom when the temperature gets above 90.

Renegade Baseball Pitcher Sends Caring Note To Bakersfield PD

Through social media and television we have seen many protests around the country, and our community has been no different. After one of this week’s protests in downtown Bakersfield, the Bakersfield Police Department shared a photo of a card that a ‘black teen’ had given one of the BPD officers earlier that evening.

We soon found out that ‘black teen’ was none other than one of our Renegade Baseball student athletes, PJ Roberts. PJ is a pitcher and has been on the team the last two years. While PJ did not share this card with the officer to be recognized publicly, we are beyond proud of his actions to bridge the gap at this critical point in time. Way to be the change you wish to see in the world, PJ! #StudentTeacher

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 6, 2020 – a great day to be a Renegade.

I’d like to start off this week with a video I saw from Trevor Noah, who hosts The Daily Show. In it, he talks about how different events are connected and knock into each other like dominoes, causing a great wave.

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Celebration

On the heels of the recent death of George Floyd and mass unrest across the country, Bakersfield College will host a two week conversation and virtual celebration leading up to June 19 or “Juneteenth,” a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Six days after Floyd’s murder, I penned a letter to the campus and community.  In part, I wrote: 

I believe that in the 50 years since King asked this question – What is it that America has failed to hear? We have made enormous progress that we can and should be proud of. But we need to hear what George Floyd’s Memorial Day death – and our national reactions to it – are saying. It is a long and painful history, which makes it harder to hear. It is a dark and confusing time, which makes it harder to see how to move forward. But as Bakersfield College Renegades, we owe it to our community, to our veterans, and we each owe it to George Floyd, to join together, listen with humility, and to bring light that can illuminate the way ahead.

In this spirit, I invite you to join Bakersfield College for a two-week series of Juneteenth conversations across multiple platforms to #LightACandle and #ShineALight on the gut wrenching and horrific experiences of our Black brothers and sisters as they go about their business contributing to the economic wellbeing of our community, volunteering to help the neediest in our society, enjoying a family stroll in the neighborhood park with their children. We invite you to listen, learn, engage, and make an action-oriented commitment to speak up, lean in and create an environment that values every human.  

Thank you to the leadership of the #LightACandle Juneteenth Planning Team: Steven Watkin, Paula Parks, Tommy Tunson, and Jennifer Achan.

BC Joins Prayer Walk

At Steven Watkin’s invitation, dozens of BC faculty and staff joined a peaceful community walk and prayer on Wednesday. 

Led by Pastor Oscar Anthony of St. Peter Restoration Community Christian Ministries, and Pastor Ignacio Valdez of New Hope Family Worship Center, with the support of networks such as Kern County Ministers Conference, Kern Leadership Alliance and CityServe, hundreds assembled to acknowledge the pain our community is in, while promoting promote reconciliation healing.

I was grateful to walk alongside Steve Watkin and our BC team in solidarity for #BlackLivesMatter.

#RealTalk on Race with Danny, Reggie, and Julian

On Thursday, June 4, BC launched the first of a series of #RealTalk on Race discussions, hosted by Danny Morrison Media.  Over 7000 views in just 3 days!

Danny, always a friend to BC and an ardent supporter of our African American Initiatives and Inmate Scholars program, kicked off the discussion with a reflection on the recent high-profile deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmed Arbery. I was struck by the weight of the dialogue as he recalled a long history of murders of Black men at the hands of those in power… the stories of Philando Castile, Eric Garner, and Emmett Till.

Reggie Bolton, BC professor of kinesiology, and Julian West, director of the Career Ladders Project, described their personal experiences coming to terms with race and racism as Black men. As I listened to Reggie, Julian, and Danny, I felt the enormity of the moment we are in as a nation and the responsibility we have as educators to shine light on these stories.  The words of these men – brilliant, courageous, kind hearted, and committed to our students – should strengthen our resolve to work for racial equity at BC and beyond.

The livestream also featured a video from Steve Watkin.

BC in the News: The Bakersfield Californian

The Bakersfield Californian published a great article on BC’s plans to shine light on the ways education can advance justice.  Thank you, Ema Sasic, for capturing not only our plans for the weeks ahead, but also the ways BC has been advancing educational equity for Black students through the remarkable work of our African American Initiatives team.  I enjoyed reading the highlights of our progress on increasing access and success for our students over the past five years:

  • Increased overall enrollment of Black students by 45% to more than 1,000 students
  • Increased first-time Black student enrollment by 72%
  • Increased Black student enrollment in Early College opportunities by 1,017%
  • Increased Black student completion of associate degrees by 223%

Umoja students share feelings on recent killings by police

Umoja Community students and faculty gathered virtually to discuss recent killings of African Americans by police. Over the past few weeks, the murders of Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have dominated the news. Repeated exposure to lynching is traumatizing.

Floyd’s murder, captured on video and widely circulated, has ignited pain and anger in the Black community and resulted in protests nationwide. The Umoja Community – a program designed for African-American students that includes coursework, mentoring, academic and cultural trips, and counseling support to keep students on track to graduate – routinely provides space for students to share and process their lived experiences.

Students said this latest incident feels different from other police murders captured on camera because of what the video shows: Floyd was handcuffed when he was pushed onto the pavement. You observe the officer rather nonchalantly with his hands in his pocket and with his knee on Floyd’s neck. Over 8 minutes and 46 seconds, you see Floyd plead for his life and call out “Mama,” then slowly lose consciousness and die. Three officers watch and the crowd shouts out that “he ain’t moving.” It seemed to students the most extreme example of police abuse and of an undeserved, agonizing death.

In addition, Floyd evokes Eric Garner’s words, “I can’t breathe” sixteen times. This painful revisit of the 2014 New York case is a reminder as one student put it that “the deaths keep increasing.” The police aren’t charged or convicted even with video evidence, which emboldens police, students explained, to continue to abuse their power. Black people are re-traumatized with each death, understanding that they are similarly at risk. One student said she felt “numb.” Another reported that she was at “the breaking point.”

Being in the middle of a pandemic and somewhat isolated, they noted, adds to their anxiety because they have fewer outlets while being constantly bombarded with videos of Floyd’s death and mass protests. Students are suffering from a double injury: fears for their basic physical safety from police as well as threats to their physical and mental health from COVID.

Said one student, “racism is our (constant) virus.”

Community Voices

I was happy to see in The Bakersfield Californian this week two pieces from BC faculty and staff lending perspective on how we move forward.

Lesley Bonds, BC’s Director of Student Success & Equity reflected on the significance of Juneteenth in the midst of mass unrest. She calls upon white people to learn to practice anti-racism. Read her suggestions for how people can practice anti-racism HERE.

An excerpt:

“Anti-racism is more than simply not acting racist. Anti-racism requires constant vigilance — an unlearning of our conditioned behaviors, beliefs and biases, and constant, intentional, new learning of the ways we can recognize and dismantle racism in ourselves, our community, our institutions, and the systems we navigate daily.”

Nick Strobel, Astronomy professor and Director of BC’s planetarium called upon us to reconcile the “story of American society” with the stories we are reading today in order to give meaning to the popular hashtag #WeAreAllInThisTogether. Read Nick’s piece HERE.

An excerpt:

“If American society is to survive, we all need to recognize that an alternate story, that has been told in word and deed for many, many decades at least, has grown more powerful than the shared story of opportunity and equal application of the law… Do we want that? Do we really believe that the shared story on which this nation was founded is not real and can never be real?”

BC launches free immigration clinics

Bakersfield College is partnering with the UFW Foundation to offer Immigration Clinics for BC students, faculty and staff. The next two Clinics are on Tuesday, June 9th, and Thursday, June 25th, from 9 AM to 6 PM. DACA renewals are being prioritized and Fee Assistance is available at this time.

You may email ab540@bakersfieldcollege.edu for instructions on setting appointments. The Immigration Clinics are held virtually on Zoom.

BC receives Job Corps Scholars Program funding

Bakersfield College has been named as one of twenty recipients to receive part of the $24 million Job Corps Scholars Program funding, provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

This national program serves Job Corps eligible youth by providing free tuition for their first year in the Job Corps Scholars program, career technical training, and intensive personal and career counseling services towards program completion.

Back to College

I wanted to share with you all a story from one of our student Renegades, Martha Lopez. She was left jobless when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, and decided to try out our Back to College program.

“I had just started a new job working at a Distribution Center when the Coronavirus hit. The entire center was shut down and everybody was left without a job, and we didn’t know for how long it was going to last. I started looking for a new job, but then I heard about the Back to College program on TV. I had been going to BC on and off for over several years and always struggled and felt like it was not for me, but I decided to give it one more try. From the start, the counselors helped me with Financial Aid and helped me find classes that were required for my major, and that were also interesting to me. The professors were all very clear from the beginning by telling us exactly what was required, and they were always there when we had questions. I had taken online classes before, but this time was a huge difference. Not only did I get As and Bs in all my classes, but I actually enjoyed them, especially Art which I was not expecting, and I’m excited to keep going in the summer and fall. At first I was only planning on getting my degree in Sociology at BC, but after talking to my counselors and professors, I’ve decided I want to actually transfer to CSUB and go on to become a Substance Abuse Counselor.”

Our Back to College program is still going strong with courses for this summer. Please check it out!

Fun Social Media

Our Admission & Records director, Jackie Lau, earned her Masters degree this year. The Admission & Records department shared a wonderful tribute on Facebook to celebrate her achievement.

The BC Library is sharing resources on racism. Check it out at https://bakersfieldcollege.libguides.com/blacklivesmatter.

Closing Week Videos

Before each day’s celebration, we shared a few videos from throughout the year – including this performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” performed by our BC choir, faculty, staff, and administration:

Student Affairs earned a President’s Leadership Award:

And incoming BCSGA Vice-President Emma McNellis shared her remarks:

Athletics

Coach Littlejohn Leading The Way Staying Fit During The Pandemic

Our newest Renegade Coach, Coach R. Todd Littlejohn of BC Football is leading the way in showing our campus how to stay fit during the pandemic. Here’s a picture of him doing hang cleans during his CrossFit workout this last week. Details for how the 2020 fall sports season is going to look are still being determined by the CCCAA, but one things for sure – Coach LJ will not be out of breath running up and down those sidelines coaching his team this fall!

Q&A With Sandi Taylor

The Renegade Rip ran an article where Editor-in-Chief Haley Duval interviewed retiring athletic director and softball coach Sandi Taylor.
Sandi talked about her greatest memories, proudest accomplishments, what she’ll miss, and what changes she saw during her time at BC. Thank you for the well-written article, Haley, and thank you for your years of service Sandi!

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever