City College celebrates Black History Month throughout February

Activities range from workshops and webinars to events and keynotes

Author Malcolme Muttaqee stands as he reads a book to students seated outside.

Author Malcolme Muttaqee (left) reads aloud to a group of children at the last on-campus City College Black History celebration in 2020. San Diego City College on Flickr

Kathryn Gray, Multimedia Journalist

This February San Diego City College is highlighting the contributions and experiences of Black communities with speakers, events, workshops and webinars covering music, film, mental health, financial planning and even acrobatics.  

Black History Month, which runs from Feb. 1 to March 1, has been recognized in the United States since 1976 and often focuses on historical contributions of Black communities rather than contemporary ones. 

Acting Dean of Student Affairs Adan Sanchez, however, decided to approach Black History Month through a wider lens this year at City.

“We want to make sure that there is a representation of historical figures but also contemporary events and figures,” Sanchez said. “So we have a balance of talking about the past and the present and how it really impacts the future of our Black students and employees.”

The events kick off Feb. 9 on Zoom with “Voices of BLACKNESS: The Cultural Arts Innovators,” where contemporary poet and performer Latorial Faison will discuss her life and work. 

With the return to in-person instruction and work delayed for most in the City community until Feb. 22, many events have been moved to the end of the month in order to be in-person, Sanchez explained. 

The Zuzu Acrobats will share traditional music, dance and acrobatics from Tanzania live in Curran Plaza on Feb. 22, at the first in-person event for Black History Month. 

Also on Feb. 22, from 3-3:45 p.m., City community members can join financial advisor and yoga instructor Eszylfie Taylor on the San Diego City College YouTube channel for “Financial Planning 101: How Black Families Can Create Generational Wealth Right Now.”

Sanchez believes this event will help students get a better understanding of how the programs they are attending at City College are not only helping themselves but also their families and communities in creating generational wealth. 

“We want them to have the future opportunity and privilege to take time off, to take a break,” Sanchez said. “A lot of our students and employees are working multiple jobs and do not have that stability.”

Sanchez also emphasized the importance of starting an open dialogue with students surrounding mental health when discussing the Feb. 23 event “Combating the Stigma of Mental Health” with Abraham Sculley.

“In some groups within communities of color there still is a negative stigma around getting mental health support,” Sanchez said. “We want our students to feel OK asking for support and being able to recognize that there may be some abilities and disabilities that need additional support.”

Later that afternoon, on Feb. 23 from 2-3 p.m., at the Black Student Forum students will have the opportunity to engage in an open dialogue with City President Ricky Shabazz and Associated Students Government President Victoria Owusu. Twenty of the students who attend the forum will receive $500.

An in-person “Soul Food Celebration” on Feb. 28 from 11:15 a.m. to noon will bring community members together on campus to not just celebrate but also discuss how City can best support Black employees and students throughout the year.

“Even though we have these monthly celebrations where we are highlighting specific identities, in this case for Black History Month, we don’t want this to be the only time that we talk about Black history or Black voices or Black experiences,” Sanchez said. “We want to make sure that this is a year-round priority for our campus.”

For additional information about Black History Month events, resources, and ongoing scholarship and learning opportunities click here.