Monday, October 5, 2015

Day in Solidarity with African People: Reparations for stolen black lives

Omali Yeshitela, founder of the African People’s Socialist Party and the African Socialist International, is the featured speaker at Cuyamaca College’s Diversity Dialogues workshop, “Day in Solidarity with African People: Reparations for Stolen Black Lives,” set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, in the Performing Arts Center.
Omali Yeshitela, leader of African Socialist International
The African People’s Solidarity Day events held throughout the country are part of APSC’s campaign to raise awareness in the white community about conditions faced by African people in the United States and elsewhere and to raise funds in support of the Uhuru, or Black Liberation, Movement. The movement describes itself as an international organization which advocates the economic and political liberation of black Africans.
The solidarity day events feature Yeshitela, a Uhuru Movement leader, and African People’s Solidarity Committee Chairwoman Penny Hess. The pair will discuss how whites and other allies can support the struggles of the black community.

Born as Joseph Waller in 1941 in St. Petersburg, Florida, Yeshitela led a group of young African people into St. Petersburg City Hall in December 1966 and tore down a mural that had hung for 30 years, which he and his followers viewed as racist and demeaning. Yeshitela served two years in prison, after which he organized the African People’s Socialist Party, which built the Uhuru Movement.
Cuyamaca College’s Diversity Dialogues is a series of workshops focusing on a variety of diversity awareness and social justice issues. The workshops have become well-established venues for discussions and exercises centered on topics like race relations and student equity.
All workshops are free and open to the public.
Future workshops are:
“Creating Conditions that Foster Engagement Among College Men of Color” is set for 1-2:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in I-207 in the Student Center, and focuses on the question of how educators make students feel welcome to engage. Led by San Diego State University professors Frank Harris and Luke Wood, the presentation will highlight barriers that impede student engagement, particularly among historically under-represented and underserved students.
Harris’ research focuses on issues concerning college men and masculinities, gendered trends in postsecondary learning environments, and student development in higher education. Woods’ research focuses on community colleges, specifically in the areas of ethical leadership and decision-making, black male achievement, and leadership development.
Harris and Wood return to Cuyamaca College Wednesday, Oct. 21, to lead “Counseling and Advising Men of Color in Community College,” set for 2-3:15 p.m. in Room I-207 in the Student Center. Their presentation focuses on the importance of counseling and advising to the success of community college students, particularly those who have been historically under-represented and underserved in education. The pair will propose and discuss counseling and advising strategies that have proven effective in serving community college men of color equitably and responsibly.
The Diversity Dialogues close Tuesday, Nov. 3, with “An Overview of the Safe Zones Program” from 11 a.m.-noon in Room I-207 in the Student Center, where presenters Mariah Gonzalez-Meeks and Lauren Vaknin will provide an overview of training materials used, as well as sample activities for campus safe zones. The safe zones training program brings awareness of LGBTQIA issues and provides insight into improving the campus climate.
Gonzalez-Meeks is a history instructor at Cuyamaca College and also teaches in the Women’s Studies Department at SDSU. Her research and teaching focuses on women’s history, Mexican and Mexican-American history, as well as U.S. history with an emphasis on under-represented groups. Vaknin is the associate dean of student affairs at Cuyamaca College.
Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in the community of Rancho San Diego. For more information about Cuyamaca College, go to

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