The work underway at Las Positas College (LPC) to correct systemic and institutional inequities on campus for students of color is a tremendously positive step for all current and future students.
The Black Cultural Resource Center will serve as the go-to place for services and support for Black pupils throughout the Bay Area. Other various programs — such as Umoja, Connect Up, Sista 2 Sista and Brother 2 Brother — offer additional guidance and empowerment for students on their educational journey.
These types of programs are critical for cultivating a better experience for all students, as the history of inequity in the school system runs deep. The 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education ruled that racial segregation in the public school system was unconstitutional. The landmark ruling followed more than a century of horrific abuse and discriminatory practices toward Black people — despite three Constitutional amendments passed to grant newly freed slaves legal status in the 1860s. However, Brown v. Board of Education didn’t stop poor treatment. Desegregation was met with violent resistance.
That era might seem like a lifetime ago, but the racism, hatred and even subconscious biases have rippled across the generations, taking different forms. And it has seemed to follow people of color who strive to aim higher. A 2016 Pew Research Center study found that about 81% of Black people with at least some college experience say they’ve faced discrimination or were treated unfairly because of their ethnicity, compared with 59% of Black people who have never attended college.
Without proactive movements to address inequities within our school system, those ripples — however subtle they might seem on the surface — will continue to expand.
Creating a more equitable environment for people of color is a victory for everyone.
As LPC President Dyrell Foster points out, “This work is going to benefit all of our students when we're thinking about how we are treating students and how we are making students feel welcome on this campus.”