Riverside City College supports Black Minds Matter

By Joycellen Martinez

The issues surrounding Black men’s lives have become a prevailing topic among communities that seek to bridge the achievement gap between their students regardless of race.

On Oct. 24, San Diego State University’s Luke Wood hosted a live webinar to talk about the issues that Black men face, such as the parallels between the undervaluing and criminalization as well as how these matters are evident in the educational environment.

The event was broadcasted in the Digital Auditorium on Oct. 25. The event included a group discussion, in which attendees were able to share their own thoughts and feelings regarding the matter.

The webinar is a free and public course designed to raise the national consciousness about issues facing Black men in education, intending to draw linkages between these issues and how they are evident in school, college and university settings.

Wood hopes that the course will help people examine how the nearly 1 million Black students in California are faring from preschool through college and reveals the distressing disparities that newly released state and national data show persist at all levels of their educational journey.

The report also highlights the groundbreaking efforts underway to reverse these trends in California and close achievement and opportunity gaps for African American students.

Through the webinar, attendees were meant to gain more insight on what kinds of things are happening right now, that we can attribute to why students aren’t achieving. And if they are “able to identify where things are happening then we can start chipping away at the problem” Marc Sanchez said, RCC professor and host of Black Minds Matter.

“Overall Back Minds Matter is a gathering to bring awareness to the barriers and challenges that African Americans face when navigating through the higher educational system,” RCC counselor and assistant professor Monique Green said.

In addition to providing information to students, Green said she hopes that it teaches educators how they can identify those students’ needs to help them become more successful and aid in closing the achievement gap.

According to Green, students play a big role in the movement and making a difference by learning about the possible unconscious biases people have against them and how to address them, hoping this will help them to give insight on how they can be better served.

Black Minds Matter addresses the experiences and realities of Black males in education, drawing parallels between the Black Lives Matter movement and the ways that Black minds are engaged in the classroom. The course will balance a discussion of issues facing Black male students as well as offer research-based strategies for improving their success.

The broadcast included various speakers, primarily educators, who raised a spotlight on the issues Black men face in the educational system, including Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X.

Wood highlighted subjects such as the parallels between the distrust, disdain and disregard that Black men are placed into and how these negative perceptions are transferred over to educational settings, going on to state that the change comes when individuals are willing to accept responsibility and move forward to what can be done better tomorrow.

Ryan J. Smith, executive director of The Education Trust, brought attention to the statistics behind the injustice that people of color face in society, such as the fact that one in four Black men met the state reading standards and that trauma both external and internal are part of the Black learning experience.

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, emphasized the idea that spaces of care and education are turning into places of criminalization, stating that the key to Black power is working on having conversations on what can be imagined as a change.

“We have to be out here whether or not it’s trendy to say ‘Black Lives Matter,’” Cullors said.

The webinar course will continue for a total of eight sessions meeting every Wed. until Dec. 11.

Have something to say about this post? Share it.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s