CCBC is a college that strives to live its commitment to diversity by counting inclusion among its core institutional values.  Over the past two years, ravaged by two distinctly different pandemics – one, a virus and the other, an awakening to social justice, it is more important than ever for us to sustain our commitment to celebrating our broad definition of diversity:   Race, ethnicity, gender, age, mental and physical ability, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin and opinion. Our campuses are microcosms of the communities we serve, and we must design and adapt our pedagogy and our processes to meet the needs of the students sitting in our classrooms today   . . . and that includes everyone!

As many community college colleagues across the nation, CCBC is now a minority majority institution.  We have only to look at the students in our classrooms to know that every day we achieve our goal of extending opportunity to everyone, no matter whether you wear a baseball cap (frontwards or backwards), a hoodie, a hijab, or a leisure suit.  Celebrating these differences enriches our culture and actually strengthens our sense of community rather than dilutes it.

Last year, determined to harness all of the energy and talent the college might bring to bolstering its equity agenda, I launched a new initiative:  the President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council.  Although CCBC already does more than many, we can . . . and we will . . .  do more.  We intend to support our broad definition of diversity on a platform based on two key premises:  “Every One of Us Counts” and although good words are fine, it is “action that matters.”Brandon Fleming sitting and smiling

But to this moment!  Every year, in celebration of February as Black History Month, my office teams up with the offices of Student Life and Intercultural Engagement to host the President’s Distinguished African-American Lecture Series.  With this event we pay tribute to the life, talents, achievements and history of all African Americans by honoring one African American who has achieved greatness or fame in a specific field.  This year the keynote speaker is Brandon Fleming, Harvard educator and author.  Forbes magazine listed Fleming on their 2020 “30 under 30” list.  His work has led him to train underserved youth to compete and win against elite debaters from around the world.

You are welcome to tune into the President’s Distinguished African-American Lecture Series on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at 11 a.m. to hear Brandon Fleming’s talk on “My Journey from Substance Abuser to Harvard Educator.”

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