Addressing systemic racism and discrimination, and building a more inclusive and equitable culture are top priorities of the Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) board of trustees, the District, and Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura colleges. As part of this important work, the VCCCD is presenting its inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week, April 12-15. It will feature free virtual events, open to students and the community, designed to be thought-provoking, engaging and entertaining. The week is in tandem with the California Community Colleges’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Awareness Month.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion permeate all aspects of the District, from student services to hiring,” said Board Vice Chair Dianne McKay. “The communities we serve expect us to be leaders in DEI. We depend on everyone—students, faculty, classified employees and administrators—to maintain a culturally informed environment in which accountability, growth and mindfulness are of the utmost importance.”
“It is vital for everyone to understand the diverse perspectives within our community,” said Trustee Gabriela Torres. “Learning from each other brings empathy and understanding, which are integral to building a culture of social justice and learning that honors all people. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week is an important step for appreciating and valuing the experiences of diverse groups of people.”
Kicking off the week will be opening comments on April 12 by Moorpark College Interim President Julius Sokenu, Oxnard College President Luis Sanchez, Ventura College President Kim Hoffmans, Chancellor Greg Gillespie and Trustee Stan Mantooth.
As part of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week, Ventura College is presenting the Diversity in Culture Festival: Highlighting Social Justice Through Education and Performances in collaboration with Oxnard College’s Multicultural Week. The events will celebrate and promote awareness of the diversity at the colleges and in the community.
A sampling of events include “Love in the Time of Pandemic,” a musical performance with pianist and composer Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner, and Afro Fusion Dance with Yaminah Legohn. Keynote speaker Dr. Gina Garcia, associate professor in the Department of Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh, will present “Transforming Hispanic Serving Institutions.” All events will include live captioning and ASL interpretation services.
Moorpark College’s annual Multicultural Day will be held on April 13. The theme for this year’s event is Climate of Change and will be a salon-style presentation of student, staff and community contributions.
VCCCD is also supporting the statewide Black Student Success Week, April 26-30. The week’s webinars are open to California community college administrators, staff, faculty, practitioners and students.
To learn more about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week, visit VCCCD.edu/celebrate-diversity.