The mere imparting of information is not education.”
We Honor Black History and our Black Community
February is celebrated as Black History month in the United States and in 2021, as we begin another month, facing an intensifying pandemic that has disrupted lives and livelihoods, and the wounds and infections of racial injustice and oppression fester unabated... celebration seems distant, even moot.
But it is not.
It is a crucial time to revisit (or for many of us, visit for the first time) the origins of this acknowledgement and celebration of the histories and lives of Black people in the United States. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) provides a timeline of the origins of Black History Month with a look at the work of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is credited with establishing the "first Negro History Week" (February 1926).
It is also a time to acknowledge and celebrate the history and labor of Black members of the TCC family.
Our Own History at TCC
The labor for racial justice and the path to becoming an anti-racist institution
Aligning with the 2021 theme of The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity, we, the TCC (Tacoma Community College) family, would like to reflect on some of our own history and how our Black family members have and continue to labor for racial equity and eliminating barriers of oppression.
Specifically, there are two documents that showcase historic moments in our timeline, one encapsulating the revolutionary (student) labor of TCC's early days, providing context for reflection. The second, a living and dynamic piece from the current leadership at TCC, calling on us all to accept the responsibility to engage in dismantling white supremacy.
11 Demands by James Walton
The first document, the 11 Demands, made by TCC's Obi Society (the future Black Student Union) is presented here by TCC's Dale Coleman, from his work The Open Door: A History of Tacoma Community College.
On Monday, May 5th, 1969, a group of 71 students and community members entered the office of President Ford. At the helm of this demonstration was Jim Walton –TCC's Obi Society chairman and future Tacoma City Manager. Walton presented Ford with a four-page document, which contained a list of 11 demands “necessary to eliminate the racist conditions that exist on campus.” The demands of the Obi Society were as follows:
- The use of Obi Society funds for financial aid for TCC students with demonstrable need
- The recruitments of 200 non-white students for the 1969- 70 school year, with Obi acting as chief recruiter
- Financial Aid for the newly recruited students
- The provision of $25,000 in funds for counseling and tutoring
- The addition of a black studies course in the TCC's associate degree graduation requirements
- The institution of a black literature class at TCC
- The institution of a political science program focusing on contemporary Africa
- The inclusion of black perspectives in sociology, psychology, history, English and economics
- The establishment of a black studies department
- The dismissal of all “incompetent and bigoted instructors”
- The disarming of campus security officers
The presentation of the 11 demands to President Ford was the culmination of a year's worth of campus activism and engagement, from a passionate group of student activists who, through sheer determination and earnestness, brought to the forefront.
2020: TCC's Eight-Point Plan
The second artifact is a living document, created as a response to the events in 2020, the “Continued brutality and the murdering of Black people by police” and in support of TCC's mission:
As the community's college, we create meaningful learning, advance equity, and strengthen student and community success
The Eight Point Plan
- Establish a Presidential Task Force to identify, develop, and advise on actions that articulate our college's commitment to access, equity, inclusion, and diversity, for systemically non-dominant populations, especially black students, staff, and faculty.
- Review and revise all its institutional policies, using an anti-racist lens within the next five years.
- Intentionally hire individuals with a history of service and/or teaching, with systemically non-dominant populations.
- Work to ensure that issues of racism, oppression, social justice, and cultural diversity that impact systemically non-dominant populations, and Black people and their communities (local, national, and global) in particular, are reflected in Instruction.
- Implement multiple opportunities for professional learning on equity minded hiring, the promotion of racial justice, unpacking implicit biases, Whiteness, anti-Blackness, racism in education, and racial battle fatigue.
- Offer Affinity Groups to provide a structure for our campus members to affirm and learn about various identities. Affinity Groups will identify and implement actionable change, especially (but not limited to) anti-racism and solidarity among groups, particularly oppressed groups.
- Intentionally feature and center ideas, scholarship, and works by systemically non-dominant (especially those from Black communities) scholars, students, artists, and communities.
- Allocate and secure existing and additional resources to ensure this plan's success.
The Eight Point Plan to Address Recent Events Affecting Black Students & Employees at Tacoma Community College was released in 2020 and shows how TCC will move forward in fulfilling our mission.
As Titans, let us all take some time and acknowledge and celebrate Black lives and history... this month and each day moving forward.
In creating this plan, we acknowledge that our Black students and employees are not the only ones that experience injustice. Many groups have been promised but denied equality and their full human rights. The overarching goal of this plan is to begin to create balance in educational outcomes at TCC for everyone, starting with our Black community members.”
Office of Student Engagement Events
- Friday, February 19th 3pm - 4:30pm - Dr. Carl Mack
- Wednesday February 24th 6pm - 6:30pm - Mumu Fresh
- Friday, February 26th 3pm - 4pm- Zuzu African Acrobats Dance
- Saturday, February 27th 3pm - 4:30pm - Crystal Aikin
Other Local Events and Activities for Black History Month