Friday, April 9, 2021

Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges celebrate a month of diversity


In keeping with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awareness Month at California Community Colleges, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are hosting a number of events highlighting the many forms of diversity at the East County campuses.

“Our district has had a longstanding commitment to recognizing the rich tapestry of its campus communities, but we are redoubling our efforts following the events of the last year,” said Chancellor Lynn Neault. “We are dedicated to promoting equity to help ensure all students have the opportunity to achieve their educational goals.”

Diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation are celebrated through numerous events held throughout the academic year, including Cuyamaca College’s Powwow and its Middle Eastern Heritage Month; Grossmont College’s Dia de Familia; LGBTQIA events hosted by both colleges’ sexual orientation/gender identity student organizations and both colleges’ Women’s History Month and Black History Month events. Both colleges also offer specialized programs designed to help students from underserved communities.


April events, all free and open to the public, include:

  • Grossmont College’s workshop called “COVID-19: An Attack on the Asian Community,” will be held from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21. The discussion on how COVID-19 has affected Black, Indigenous and People of Color will feature Philosophy Department Chair June Yang and Grossmont College Counselor Desmond Morente. Online registration is required.
Grossmont College's celebration of Arab American Heritage Month with a number of workshops:
  • April 12, 11 a.m.-noon, The Arab World: Countries and Resources” ( join on Zoom)
  • April 13, 2-3 p.m., Arab American Heritage Month presents “Ramadan: A Month of Blessings and Self-reflection” ( join on Zoom)
  • April 14, 2-3 p.m.: Arab American Heritage Month presents “Easter’s Glory and Beauty” ( Join on Zoom)
Grossmont College's Black Student Success Week events including:


  • Monday, April 26: Black Student Success Week presents The Black Hour, “Following the Money: Unapologetically Supporting Black Students” (noon – 1 p.m. | register in advance | Follow the Money report)
  • Tuesday, April 27: Black Student Success Week presents The Black Hour, “The ADT Journey for African-American Students” (noon – 1 p.m. | register in advance)
  • Wednesday, April 28: Black Student Success Week presents The Black Hour, “Equity and Black Representation in Higher Education Leadership” (noon – 1 p.m. | register in advance)
  • Thursday, April 29: Black Student Success Week presents The Black Hour, “A Legislative Briefing: Actively Advocating for Black Student Success (noon – 1 p.m. | register in advance)
  • Friday, April 30: Black Student Success Week presents The Black Hour, “The Cost of Freedom: ‘Speaking Up to Diversity the Faculty Ranks’” (noon – 1 p.m. | register in advance)
Cuyamaca College’s workshop, Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, and Workers’ Rights Today, will be held 10-11 a.m. April 15. Karla Gutierrez will lead a presentation on the organizing and activism of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, and the continued importance of protecting workers’ rights today. (Registration links will be posted on the Culture and Community Circle website).
  • Cuyamaca College’s workshop, Black-Indigenous and Queer Identities: A Personal Journey through HIV, Cancer, and COVID, will be held 11 a.m.-noon April 30. This presentation examines the complexity of Black-indigenous and queer identities through the lenses of public health, healing, kinship and radical love. Andrew Joliv├ętte is a professor and chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, San Diego, as well as the founding director of Native American and Indigenous Studies at UC San Diego. (Registration links will be posted on the Culture and Community Circle website ).
  • Cuyamaca College’s celebration of Middle Eastern Heritage Month through its Culture and Community Circle workshops:  (Registration links will be posted on the Culture and Community Circle website )
The workshops are:

  • April 12, 9:30-10:45 a.m.: Personal Finance Basics - How To Get Started

Presented by Paige Walker, Partner Hamilton-Walker, advisors


  • April 13, 12:30-2 p.m.: Middle Eastern Art and History

Instructor Hanaa Alkassas will lead an information session on various Middle Eastern art works and history: “Winged Bull,” famous Egyptian artifacts, “Hammurabi Code of Laws,” Andalusia, Lebanon and tourism, the history of “Hamadia Markets” in Damascus and the history of Iraq.

  • April 13, 6-7:15 p.m. Cultural Diversity in the Middle East

Shak Hanish, professor, National University, will touch on diversities of the Arab World, such as, identity, ecological diversity, regional and local ethnic diversity, religion, family, and class.  It will signify the Arabic cultural values, and the designation of “Arab” as primarily one of ethnic heritage, political and social identification. 

  • April 14, 9:30-10:30 a.m.: College Hour: Chaldeans Past and Present 

The Rev. Michael Bazzi, instructor, will lead this presentation on Chaldeans in the past and present, covering issues involving the Chaldean nation, Chaldeans in the Bible, the Chaldean empire, the Chaldean church, and Chaldeans in the United States and San Diego.

  • April 14, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Middle Eastern Ethnic Identities: Statistically Invisible in America 

Daniel Kakish will lead a discussion on Middle Eastern ethnic identities, what these identities are, who decides them, and kinship of ethno-linguistic groups.

  • April 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m. An Arab and Muslim’s Perspective

Associate Professional Clinical Counselor, M.S, Hamila Eid will lead this workshop focused on the Muslim and Arab struggles in the United States and diversity within the Muslim population.

  • April 20, 12:30-2 p.m. Famous Middle Eastern Influences

Instructor Hanaa Alkassas will lead an information session on various individuals and groups: the role of the women in the Arab World, Fairouz, Naseer Shamma, Dr. Magdi Yacoub, the Arab Leagues, and “Mandaeans” culture.

  • April 22, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Middle Eastern Stereotypes and Sensitivities

Elissa Haddad, Leadership Consultant and Instructor, University of San Diego, will provide a deep dive into the cultural differences and similarities between Middle Eastern and Western cultures. The workshop will include discussions on cultural faux pas, Middle Eastern stereotypes and managing cultural differences.

  • April 22, 1-2 p.m. Open Mic Event

Instructor Karen Marrujo will lead a celebration of the power of our individual voices. Share any of your work, thoughts, or interests by taking the mic or just drop in to listen or make new friends.