In the News
Black Student Union Presents: Black Student Excellence – Past and PresentMon, 26 April, 2021 at 10:29 am
On April 13, Cañada’s Black Student Union (BSU) hosted a panel of current and former Black Cañadians sharing their experiences as college students. The panel featured two current students who will graduate this semester as well as former students, one who graduated the year prior and one who graduated 10 years ago and now works at the college.
Moderated by current Engineering student, Isaiah, the panelists were asked to include the moment they knew they were “Black” in their introduction. Nigel Hawkins, current BSU President and Cañada Class of 2021, spoke truth to power when he reminded us that white supremacy has a hold on our country, and is the main cause of hardship for minoritized peoples, including his introduction to his “Blackness.” Jade Shonette, BSU Treasurer, SMCCCD Student Trustee (and SMCCCD’s first Black student to hold the Student Trustee position) and Cañada Class of 2021, had a different experience. She spoke about growing up around so many Black people that she wasn’t aware of the weight of her “Blackness” until her family visited Florida for vacation, and they received stares and were followed in stores.
Dontario Beverly, former BSU President and Cañada Class of 2020, knew that he was “different” because of how he was treated in school; how he would get in more trouble for behavior that other students exhibited, as well, but received much less harsh discipline. Finally, Candice Johnson, former BSU President, current Cañada employee and Cañada Class of 2011, noted that she gradually understood her “otherness” in elementary school, particularly when slavery was introduced during her Fourth grade Social Studies class. She was tokenized throughout the unit.
The event concluded with the panelists answering questions from the audience, such as what changes toward antiracism the panel would like to see at Cañada College.