Shared from the 2018-01-31 Southside Reporter eEdition

GUEST COLUMN

Recognizing diversity in community impacts educational opportunities

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Flores

Since President Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, our nation has come together to learn about, reflect on, and celebrate the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout U.S. history.

America’s population is now more diverse than ever. Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, Native American — all of these, and many other cultures, have contributed greatly not only to San Antonio but our nation’s history.

At Palo Alto College, one of our strategic priorities is to create and sustain a culture of inclusiveness. With 83 percent of our students identifying themselves as part of an ethnic or racial minority group, we encourage our diverse community to embrace varying perspectives. Students are provided learning opportunities with a global perspective and are encouraged to celebrate our heritage through art exhibits, stage performances, musical performances, cultural events, literary readings, panel discussions, and more.

In celebration of this year’s Black History Month, Palo Alto College will kick off the month on Wednesday, Feb. 7, with a spectacular documentary called “The Way of All Flesh,” which recalls the life of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who died in 1951 and unknowingly made crucial contributions to science over the last 67 years.

On Feb. 21, Palo Alto College will also host a special evening reception and book signing with Attica Locke, an American author and screenwriter for the television series “Empire.” Locke, a native Texan, has called her most recent novel, “Bluebird, Bluebird,” a “love letter to black Texans.”

All events are open to the public, and a full list can be accessed online at alamo.edu/pac/BHM.

As we take time to learn about our nation’s history, it’s imperative to recognize the achievements and remember the struggles faced by African-Americans. By doing so, students at Palo Alto College will get a more holistic view of our nation’s history. And with that, we’ll all gain a better understanding that it’s really our differences and diverse backgrounds that makes our country great.

Mike Flores, Ph.D., is president of Palo Alto College, part of the Alamo Colleges District.

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