Empowering Students to Drive Change

On April 22, 2024, as part of California Community College’s Black Student Success Week, CSM’s Title V Grant team hosted an event to celebrate our designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) while spotlighting Black excellence in higher education.

The event featured a dynamic panel discussion featuring guest speakers and representatives from Black Educology, including TESOL Instructor and doctoral candidate Andre Carter, advanced doctoral student/educator Eghosa Obaizamomwan-Hamilton, Dr. Amber Gonzales, a professor at California State University, Sacramento, and T. Gertrude Jenkins, who co-moderated alongside CSM Instructional Designer Julieth Benitez. Together, they delved into various topics, ranging from the intersections of HSI criteria to strategies for fostering a more equitable and supportive environment for the entire campus community.

Heidi Pereira, CSM’s Assistant Project Director of the Developing Hispanic Serving Institution Grants, expressed her enthusiasm for the event, stating, “This event underscores our commitment to creating a more inclusive campus environment where all students feel supported and empowered to succeed.”

One event highlight was a planetarium show exploring lesser-known constellations and Latin America’s fascinating astronomy history. This immersive experience reminded us of the importance of celebrating cultural heritage and promoting diversity in all aspects of education.

Student voices also played a central role in the event, with Jesus Longares, a CSM student, reflecting on the significance of community engagement and social justice efforts. “Their focus on social justice was meaningful because they wanted to help underrepresented communities have more opportunities and feel like they are seen,” Jesus remarked. “Knowing that foundations are actively working towards dismantling privileged and prejudiced spaces and creating accessible networking opportunities for minority students is a source of reassurance for me.”

Similarly, Soledad Sandoval Barrera, another CSM student, emphasized the transformative nature of participating in the event. “Participating in this event, where the presenters shared their work on various forms of social justice, has been a transformative experience,” Soledad shared. “I gained insight into the active efforts to establish foundations for underrepresented communities, facilitate connections for students of color, and advocate for underfunded programs that aid minority students.”

The event also served as a platform to showcase the ongoing efforts of the HSI Title V grant team to promote antiracism initiatives on campus. Nine student-led antiracism projects, including guest speaker series and workshops, were recently funded, demonstrating the college’s commitment to empowering students to address critical issues of equity and inclusion.

The success of the HSI Alliance Event stands as a reminder of the importance of collaboration, diversity, and empowerment in creating a vibrant and inclusive campus community. College of San Mateo remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus, ensuring all students have the resources and support they need to thrive.