Black History Month offers a time for reflection, transformation

“Black History Month is a time for celebration, and also for recognition of and commitment to change, to transformation in our own lives, for our students, and in our union,” Cecil Canton, CFA Associate VP-Affirmative Action North, said at a CFA gathering last week.

Over the past two years, CFA has taken steps to open minds to the possibility that the union can help both CFA members and our institutions to do better in the pursuit of racial and social justice.

It’s not a moment too soon.

Hate crimes in the nation’s largest cities increased for the fifth consecutive year in 2018, according to a report being prepared by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSU San Bernardino. And California is not exempt; hate crimes spiked in Los Angeles and in San Francisco last year.

“Hate crimes are among the worst aspects of racism,” said CFA President Jennifer Eagan, “but they are not all that we must address. If we hope to live in a just and peaceful community of people, we must face up to our own biases and attitudes and learn to overcome them. We can do it if we try.”

Campus CFA Chapters are holding Unconscious Bias workshops and ‘Lunch-and-Learn’ events for faculty who are ready to tackle what can be a challenging but ultimately meaningful learning process.

“We all have our biases, no one is completely immune to the social ills around us, and even the best among us are not aware of the full extent of it until we do the work to become aware,” Canton said.

He added, “That’s why CFA”s Council for Affirmative Action has conducted Unconscious Bias workshops on many campuses—to help us. It takes courage to challenge yourself, and if you do, you will find it empowering.”

Please contact your campus CFA Chapter to learn about participation in a workshop.

CAMPUS BLACK HISTORY MONTH EVENTS IN FEBRUARY: Organizations throughout the 23 CSU campuses also are holding Black History Month events and CFA encourages faculty to attend.

“The events that take place on every campus in February are a tremendous opportunity to gain perspective in a nation struggling with a resurgence of openly racist attitudes,” said Charles Toombs, CFA Vice President and Chair of Africana Studies at San Diego State.

“I urge faculty members, particularly those of us who have never been to such an event to take advantage of one right on your own campus,” he says.

Click here for a sample of events on CSU campuses.