Chairs were set up at the center of campus, students and faculty gathered together, and special guests patiently awaited in their seats as Cypress began to kickoff the month long celebration of Black history.
On Thursday, Feb 7th, Cypress College hosted their Black History Month ceremony near the library. Attendees included Cypress College faculty and students such as Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, AS Vice President Gricelda Weed, and Dean Eldon Young.
Special guests included motivational speakers such as Elder Karen Persip, Pastor E.M. Williams and performances by St. Luke Holy Church, and dancer Solé Deckard, with the ceremony starting off with a welcoming remark by Dr. Annette Letcher, in which she thanked both the audience and special guests for their attendance before introducing one of the event’s organizers, Legacy Coordinator Regina Rhymes.
After Dr. Annette Letcher welcomed the audience, Cypress College student Kaejon Barnes asked the audience to please rise with hands over hearts for the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. When the Pledge of Allegiance came to an end, Tanya Washington joined and led the audience in the Black National Anthem.
Washington wooed the crowd with her eloquently hit high notes and joy as she proudly sang the anthem. Following the anthems, Cypress College president Dr. JoAnna Schilling reflected on the idea of a world without the contributions of African-Americans and paid her respects to those such as Barack Obama, Beyoncé, Spike Lee, and W.E. Dubious.
After reminding the crowd of great contributions from these public figures, Schilling elaborated on Cypress College’s core values of Excellence, Integrity, Inclusiveness, and Collegiality. Schilling, concluded her message with a Cypress phrase “Buen Cypress,” which means that we take this educational journey together.
In the midst of the ceremony, AS Vice President Gricelda Weed shared a few statistics with the crowd, one of them including the fact that in the year of 2006, zero African Americans were apart of the Cypress College administration, therefore placing an emphasis on conclusiveness. Weed also advised students to “use AS as a platform to change [the] status quo.” Following Weed’s message, Cypress College student Jacqueline Rothschild shared her testimony with diversity being the center of her message.
St. Luke Holy Baptist Church members took the crowd away with worship songs such as “Every Praise” by Hezekiah Walker and sermons from both Elder Karen Persip and Pastor Eric Williams that encouraged the embodiment of righteousness. After, a praise dance was performed by dancer Solé Deckard.
The ceremony ended with Fayelyn Cox reciting, “Ain’t I a Woman” written by Black Feminist and social activist, Bell Hooks.
Upcoming Events the Black History Month Planning Committee will be hosting this month can be found on the Cypress College home page under the experience tab.