Campus comes alive at Soul Food Celebration

City College community gathers to celebrate Black History Month


Dozens of San Diego City College students, faculty and staff wait in line for gumbo, jambalaya and other soul foods at the Soul Food Celebration held at San Diego City College on Feb. 28. Photo by Kathryn Gray/City Times Media

Kathryn Gray, Editor-In-Chief

Smells of fried chicken and gumbo wafted through campus enticing people to gather at the patio of the San Diego City College A building where students, faculty and staff shared soul food in celebration of Black History Month coming to a close. 

The Soul Food Celebration, an event sponsored by the Diversity Committee, the Office of the President and the Office of Student Affairs and held on Feb. 28 also brought City community members together to engage in dialogue about how to best support Black students year-round.

“As we feed our souls we are also here to talk about how we can better support our Black students, not just during Black History Month but throughout the year,” Extended Opportunity Programs and Services counselor Salem Berhanu said to the crowd reflecting on her own experience as a Black student who came through the community college system. 

EOPS and NextUp counselor and coordinator Selam Gebrekristos also addressed the packed patio emphasizing the importance of recognizing the intersectionality of Black students, creating strong relationships by asking what they need and creating a curriculum that speaks to their experiences. 

“We need to ask our Black students what are your needs, what do you want, what is it going to take to succeed, to transfer?” Gebrekristos said. “I am here and I am committed to this work. I am a Black student myself. I’ve been through it, the journey, and I am here to support you.”

City leadership expressed gratitude to attendees by raffling off a number of items including cash aid for students and gift cards to local black restaurants for employees.

Kaitlyn Moore hugs her younger sister on the A building patio at San Diego City College
San Diego City College digital journalism major Kaitlyn Moore hugs her younger sister after winning $500 in cash aid at the Soul Food Celebration event on Feb. 28. Photo by Kathryn Gray/City Times Media

Digital journalism major Kaitlyn Moore came to the event, her first on campus, for the food and to celebrate her culture.

“I am part African American and my mother loves soul food. She makes it for us, gumbo and jambalaya,” Moore said. “I just love how people are celebrating this awesome heritage and tradition.”

Moore, one of the five students who won $500 in cash aid, left the event with one more thing to celebrate.

“The event was exactly what we hoped for and a great way to bring people back to campus,” acting Dean of Student Affairs Adan Sanchez said after the event. 

Sanchez also echoed the sentiments of Gebrekristos and Berhanu, re-emphasizing City’s commitment to increasing programming and events that celebrate diversity.

The entire event can be viewed on the San Diego City College YouTube channel here.