Tag Archives: African American

Social Involvement as a Retention Model

16 Jan

Students-Gospel-Choir

By:  The Curious Counselor

As an educator and student services professional, the recent onslaught of violence against African-American youth, particularly males, has created a quandary of sorts as we begin another academic year. I find it immensely important to critically examine the retention and persistence policies in community colleges as a solution to the harsh perceptions toward African American youth that has been ingrained in our country’s social fabric.

A number of researchers have developed theses and respective practices for promoting retention, persistence, and ultimately, student success. One of the most compelling and poignant ideas floating around the educational advising blogosphere is social involvement behaviors as a construct built into first-year student programming. Vince Tinto, a leading educational researcher, broadly defines social involvement behaviors as: relationships with staff; building peer relationships; personal experiences; using campus facilities; and extracurricular activities.

So…what should a successful first-year experience look like for African American students? Prestigious universities like University of California, Los Angeles and Fayetteville State University in North Carolina offer the Freshman Summer Program (FSP) and the Freshman Year Initiative (FYI) respectively. At both universities, students are provided comprehensive, student success driven programming which involve academic and personal support services tailored to individual student needs. Students are provided remedial math and writing services, peer advisors, and targeted course scheduling/patterns. Additionally, students are exposed to the campus environment in a way that promotes connections to the staff, faculty, current students, and surrounding communities.

These programs could be easily replicated to fit the demographics and environmental norms at community colleges across the country. Whether newly matriculating from high school, returning from combat, or retraining for vocational/career advancement, a strong first-year experience for new students is an integral facet of higher education programming. Hopefully this inspires other educational professionals to begin to develop and aim for social involvement as a key methodology in student engagement.

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California Red Tails to Fly Over Allensworth for Juneteenth Celebration

12 Jun

Juneteenth ImageColonel Allensworth State Historical Park is the only California town to be founded, financed and governed by African Americans.  On June 14, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Friends of Allensworth will host its annual Juneteenth celebration.

When: Saturday, June 14, 2014

Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Where: Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. It was on June 19th, that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that all slaves were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official on January 1, 1863. This day is celebrated by African Americans in honor of their ancestors who received notice of being set free from slavery on June 19, 1865.

There will be great entertainment, great speakers and, of course, fabulous free tours of the historic buildings, given by the Friends of Allensworth docents for your educational enrichment.

This year there will be a special treat.  The California Redtails will participate in a fly-over at Allensworth State Park.  The pilots will meet at Delano Municipal Airport for a pre-flight briefing and depart for the state parCalifornia Redtailsk known as the first Black township in California.  Ten private airplanes from throughout California; Hayward, Watsonville, Compton, Whiteman, Cable, and Hawthorne will descend on the Delano Municipal Airport. They will receive a short safety briefing and pre-flight review, then remount their planes and taxi to runway 32. After receiving clearance from the tower they will takeoff one after the other and head north.

Upon receiving the signal from the ground crew, the pilots will turn south, then lineup in a formation. The lead pilot gives the command “Tighten Up, Straighten Up and Fly Right” and the formation drops down to 1,000 ft as they fly over the Juneteenth celebration at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

Colonel Allensworth

Colonel Allensworth

The pilots are members of the California Red Tails, one of fourteen Black Pilots of America chapters. The Black Pilots of America is a non-profit flying organization that encourages under privileged youth to enter the field of aviation. The California Redtails are named after 332nd fighter group, the African American fighter pilots that escorted bombers during World War Two. They are better known as the Tuskegee Airmen because they were trained at Tuskegee, Alabama.

The campground at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park is named after Tuskegee Airmen Lieutenant Colonel John “Mr. Death” L. Whitehead, Jr., who served in World War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

For more information or to request a vendor application contact Friends of Allensworth President Thomas Stratton at 530-949-2168 or info@friendsofallensworth.org.

For more information, visit http://www.friendsofallensworth.com/index.html , blogforallensworth.blogspot.com , http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=583 and to download a flyer, click here:  Red Tails Flyer for 2014 Juneteenth Celebration at Allensworth.

2014 LACCD Black Graduation Celebration

4 Jun

blackgrad2014-2On Tuesday, June 3, 2014, the 2014 Los Angeles Community Colleges District Black Graduation Celebration took place at Cougar Field at Los Angeles Southwest College (LASC). This year’s theme was “A Cultural Celebration of Academic Achievement.”

This year’s committee was co-chaired by Dr. Tangelia Alfred and  Chauncine Stewart.  All nine of the Los Angeles Community Colleges District (LACCD) campuses were represented.  Los Angeles Southwest’s interim president, Dr. Yasmin Delahoussaye and LACCD interim chancellor, Dr. Adriana Barrera, welcomed the audience.  

The celebration began with the Dembrehrah West African Drum Ensemble leading the processional to Cougar Field.  Rhodesia Jackson, an LASC student, gave the libation.  Linda Cole, chaplain of the Los Angeles Community Colleges District Black Faculty and Staff Association (LACCD BFSA) gave the opening prayer.  Actress, performer, director, writer and activist, T’Keyah Crystal Keymah from In Living Color and That’s So Raven, led the Negro National Anthem.

Dr. Lawrence Bradford, LASC Vice President of Academic Affairs, spoke about the purpose of the Black Graduation Celebration.  There were words from LACCD Trustee, Mike Eng and ASO president and future LACCD student trustee, LaMont Jackson.  Dr. Ayesha Randall from Los Angeles Trade-Technical College introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Corliss Bennett-McBride, the director of the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs at University of Southern California, who gave a spirited talk encouraging graduates to prepare for the next chapter of their lives. Continue reading

Pasadena Black History Parade 2014

15 Feb

OnochiePlease join the Los Angeles Community Colleges District Black Faculty and Staff Association at the City of Pasadena’s 32nd Annual Black History Parade and Festival on Saturday, February 15, 2014 from 10am to 4pm.  It is one of the biggest and longest-running Black history parades in California. Our black history parades highlight African history, African-American culture, and are the only ones where you’ll see low rider car clubs, Buffalo Soldiers, Tommy the Clown, black fraternities and sororities, and Masons marching in unity celebrating our culture and history.

This year, the parade will feature the Pasadena City College Band and Herald Trumpeters, along with 76 additional entries, including musicians, dancers, equestrians, local youth groups, dignitaries and community leaders.  The Grand Marshals are: Gary Moody, community activist and president of the NAACP Pasadena Branch, and Shirlette Butler-Elder, childcare advocate and director of Butler-Elder Family Child Care.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the historic Charles White Park at Fair Oaks Avenue and Ventura Street in Altadena; then heads south on Fair Oaks Avenue before ending at Robinson Park, 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena.  The parade lineup includes city officials, community dignitaries, John Muir and Blair high school bands, drill teams, The New Buffalo Soldiers, Real Ryderz Bike Club, Altadena Unique Red Hatters, Majestic Car Club, African-American sororities and fraternities, and more.

The festival takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on the north side of Robinson Park at Hammond Street. There will be live entertainment for both adults and children, including performances by the female rhythm and blues band, Klymaxx and 2013 Pasadena Idol winner Tori Harvey. The festival will also feature local food vendors and free info booths.

We will meet at Charles White Park at 9:00 a.m. and will carry our LACCD BFSA banner.  All groups participating in the parade are required to be in uniform, so we will wear all black with kente cloth sashes.  If you would like to purchase one, we have them available for purchase for $10.

Visit The City of Pasadena or www.pasadenablackhistorycommittee.com for more information about the parade.  Email Ayesha Randall at randalak@lattc.edu if you want to participate.  Also, follow the following link to download a flyer:  Black History Parade Flyer for LACCD BFSA.

Black History Bus Tour

15 Feb

LA 1878On Friday, February 21, 2014 from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, discover the 1781 African connection to the founding of Los Angeles; travel to the Bridget “Biddy” Mason Memorial and learn the history about the first African-American—a former slave—to purchase land in Los Angeles; learn about the history of the Watts Tower; view the Mother of Humanity sculpture and tour the Civil Rights Museum; learn about the black entertainers like actress Louise Beavers, Pearl Bailey, Hattie McDaniels (first African American to win an Oscar), Earl Grant (jazz organist), and Ray Charles, of “Sugar Hill” in the 1940s; visit the historic mural in the oldest black church in Los Angeles, First AME; and much more!

Leading us on this journey is Tour Director, Dr. Toni-Mokjaetji Humber, professor of ethnic and women’s studies at Cal Poly Pomona and member of Our Authors Study Club, Inc., the Los Angeles chapter of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc., established in 1915 by Carter G. Woodson, founder of Black History Month.

$10 for BFSA Members | $20 for Non-BFSA Members / Optional Soul Food Buffet Lunch at Dulan’s on Crenshaw for an extra $15 / RSVP with Toni Johnson at x 7111 or johnsotn@lattc.edu.  Click the following link to download a flyer:  Black History Bus Tour of LA.

This event is sponsored by Los Angeles Community Colleges District Black Faculty & Staff Association.  Speak to your Professional Development Coordinator for information regarding flex credit.

Juneteenth 2012 at Trade

21 Jun

Juneteenth is an annual observance on June 19th to remember when Union soldiers enforced the Emancipation Proclamation and freed all remaining slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865. This day is an opportunity for people to celebrate freedom and equal rights in the United States.  The Los Angeles Trade-Technical College Black Faculty & Staff Association (LATTC BFSA) celebrated its first annual Juneteenth event with a campus-wide potluck luncheon.  Over 90 faculty, staff, and administrators fellowshipped together over delicious soul food ranging from homemade dishes and store-bought favorites like fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, homemade soulful coleslaw, chili, catfish nuggets, and chicken salad.  For dessert there were favorites like red velvet cake, banana pudding, sweet potato pie, chocolate cake, peach cobbler, pineapple upside down cake, and fresh fruit.  Admission & Record’s Carolyn Walker even blessed the event with down home pork dishes like grilled pig feet, chitterlings (aka “chitlins”), collard greens and cabbage, and hot water cornbread!  Many of the guests remarked that once in a while, this kind of eating was acceptable.  But of course, with the high rates of chronic diseases in the African-American community, this kind of eating can’t be an everyday occurrence.  So guests were also talking about ways to burn off the good eats.  In preparing for her upcoming nuptials, Lori Hunter of EOP & S and other staff members amended their daily stair exercise workout to two trips up and down, instead of one trip.  Another guest suggested following his meal with some ginger and citrus fruit.  And to burn off more calories, guests danced to golden oldies deejayed by Dean Derek Majors.

The Trade-Tech Black Faculty & Staff Association organized the event with the leadership of Linda Cole, VP of LATTC BFSA and Toni Johnson, Secretary.

The event took place in the TE conference room and was decorated with United States and Juneteenth flags.  At each table, there was a bottle of red punch, the Juneteenth flag, and a laminated History of Juneteenth leaflet, a keepsake for guests.  During the event, several short Juneteenth videos played and a compilation of photos from early 1900s to the 2012 LACCD Black Graduation Celebration ran on the big screen.

“This is the kind of camaraderie that strengthens the ties between the faculty, staff, and administrators, and creates a wonderful and harmonious working environment,” Ayesha Randall, SLO Coordinator, remarked.  “This was a beautiful event.  This is the foundation of a unified team environment–something that definitely supports and indirectly positively affects our students’ success.”  For more photos from the event, visit this link.

The Etymology of “Picnic”

18 Jun

Several LATTC BFSA meetings ago, some members were concerned about using the term, “picnic” in describing our Juneteenth celebration.  Etymologists dismiss the claim that the word picnic derived from events in which blacks were lynched, and online sources like Snopes and Urban Legends support those claims.

However, the response from Dr. David Pilgrim, sociology professor and curator of Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, describes a different perspective.  He said that although “etymologists smugly dismiss the claim” that picnic began with the lynchings of black Americans, there is some truth in it, “as the lynchings of blacks often occurred in picnic-like settings.”  Read the whole response at  http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/question/jan04.htm and visit their archives for more interesting readings.

So, should we or should we not use the term?