Tag Archives: social justice

Ethnic, Gender and Global Studies rising at PCC

On Oct. 20, I had the great pleasure of making introductory remarks at the College’s inaugural Raquel Rubio Goldsmith Lecture in Ethnic, Gender and Global Studies, featuring Dr. Rosalva Aída Hernández Castillo.

ethnic

Dr. Hernández is a noted Mexican cultural anthropologist. She spoke on “Multiple Injustices: Indigenous Women, Law and Political Struggle.” An intellectual and activist, Dr. Hernández shared profound perspectives on how social justice, gender equity, human rights and race intersect globally.

Following the lecture, Dr. Hernández, along with Ethnic Studies scholar Rubio Goldsmith, engaged in a lively discussion with students and the social activists, educators, intellectuals and human rights defenders in the audience. It was pointed out during the community discussion that our region’s great diversity connects to environmental, political and economic issues that extend far past our borders in ever-changing ways.

The event was a huge success, filling the lecture room and overflow rooms at Downtown Campus. Major leaders of our community were present, including Dr. Anna O’Leary, head of the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona, and Isabel García, who for decades has been at the forefront of immigrant and refugee rights.

The lecture series is the brainchild of our rising program in Ethnic, Gender and Global Studies. As an instrument for social justice, PCC is committed to diversity, inclusion and equity, and a robust, multifaceted program in Ethnic, Gender and Global Studies is critical to honoring our commitment.

The essential goal of the College’s initiatives in this area is individual empowerment. I shared that one in three people are affected by domestic violence within his or her lifetime in the U.S., and that 3 million children between ages 3-17 are at risk of exposure to domestic violence each year. I shared these statistics to drive home the point that achieving success is crucial for the College and the community.

My thanks go to everybody who helped pull this wonderful event together. Provost Dolores Durán-Cerda, Ethnic Studies faculty members Francisca James Hernandez, Rosalia Solorzano and their colleagues are to be commended, as are President David Doré and the team at Downtown Campus; support coordinator Yolanda Gonzales; and the Marketing, Web Systems, and Media Production teams at District Office.

As Dr. Hernandez’s research shows, communities such as ours are microcosms of global diversity and thus demand we develop new visions of “diversity within diversity” as we work for social justice. Ethnic, Gender and Global Studies are essential to understanding our history and setting the groundwork for a better future for all.

Reiterating our commitment to diversity

 

Earlier today, I sent the following message to all College employees:

Colleagues,

In December 2015, I wrote to the College community regarding our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Recently, some states have considered or enacted legislation that undermines anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community. Thus, it is timely and appropriate to reiterate our ongoing pledge to live up to the College Value of People. Our Diversity Statement proclaims in part:

We cherish the diversity of our community and, in addition to equal opportunity and educational access for all, we respect and are inclusive of all beliefs, values, abilities, personal experiences and preferences, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and worldviews. We believe our differences are our strength and a source of innovation, excellence, and competitiveness. [More information is available on our Diversity webpage.]

PCC is committed to adhering to all federal, state and local laws and regulations regarding institutions of higher education. Among these is the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX statute, which protects students from discrimination on the basis of gender in education programs or activities that receive federal support.

Apart from laws and regulations, the College considers it a moral imperative to make our campuses places where all students, employees and community members feel secure and welcome, so they can focus on studies and activities that lead to student success. Together we remain resolved to move forward on the path leading to a multicultural society built on a foundation of civility, equity and social justice.

 

PCC’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Here is a message I sent to the College community about an extremely important topic at PCC.

Colleagues,

In January 2015, I approved Pima Community College’s Diversity Statement as a welcome to celebrate and foster the diversity and contributions of students, faculty, staff, and administrators, while emphasizing the inclusiveness of our college community. In light of the recent tragedies across the country, specifically in St. Louis, Missouri and San Bernardino, California, and comments made during the current political campaign, I would like to reflect on PCC’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice and ensure we maintain the utmost levels of civility and respect for all.

During my leadership and through the creation of the PCC Diversity Committee, I am dedicated to promoting student success, community engagement, and transparent communication through the stories like those of Celeste Nunez. Ms. Nunez is a PCC alumnus, and the first student in the six-decade history of the Arizona Town Hall to serve on its Board of Directors. As a first-generation and predominantly Spanish-speaking student, Celeste says that, “Having instructors that were an email or phone call away, and would go above and beyond, made all the difference in my success at Pima Community College.”

On any given day, the College serves a broad variety of learner needs, from the concurrently enrolled high school student, to the newly arrived refugee student, to the first-generation ESL learner. PCC programs span the advanced needs of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines in our unique Aviation Technology program, and meet articulation transfer requirements for students who choose to complete their associate degrees and transfer to universities throughout the nation. We serve more students through our Adult Basic Education Programs than anyone in Southern Arizona. PCC also recognizes the more mature learners and students over 50 retraining for second careers in new high-demand occupational fields. The students in these programs come from varied backgrounds, have different learning needs, and range in ages from 15-50+, but as the PCC Diversity Statement says, “Our differences are our strength and a source of innovation, excellence, and competitiveness.”

For more than a century, community colleges have stood as the open door to higher education, and, as democracy’s colleges. We uphold equity and social justice, and our open doors ensure equal access and opportunity. I will continue to work on behalf of PCC to support diverse ideas, safe learning environments, secure policies and practices, and to value multicultural education that unifies us as a learning community through open ideas and expression.