Black History Month

Representation, Identity and Diversity

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their true central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.

Month Long Celebration, Year Long Presence

Moorpark College celebrates Black History Month, and Black History Awareness all year long! With a wonderful line-up of virtual presentations for February 22. Just visit the agenda above for links to register for each event. There are also resources available on this page to refer to in class and in the community. The BHM Committee is proud to include 14 newly installed Black Profiles Of Courage banners along Raider Walk. Combined with this project are 4 X 3-inch sets of printed trading cards; each one of an historical figure and a brief biography.

profile of courage with walker on front

BHM Committee

Banea Sumpter, Timothy Lumas, Gerald Richardson III, Ka Ren Mac Calla, Analisa Jugan, Ranford Hopkins, Dina Pielaet, Micaiah Satterwhite, Trinity Hooper, Tamarra Coleman, Cynthia Barnett, Lauren Snowden, Pauline Nassar

MC Black Student Union Mission Statement:

  • Serve and unify the students of the African Diaspora at Moorpark College. 
  • Identify relevant issues and initiate appropriate action in order to reduce or eliminate any impediments believed to be adverse to students and their continued well-being and matriculation. 
  • Provide enriching experiences and assuring continuing development of a progressive environment which is conducive to underrepresented students in their quest to obtain a great qualitative and meaningful education.
  • Challenge its membership to actively address political, social, and cultural injustices while at the same time celebrating and acknowledging the advancement of people of color at Moorpark College. 
Martin Luther King Image

A Letter From Dr. Julius Sokenu

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr would have turned ninety-three years old today. For many of us, our knowledge of Dr. King comes from the history books, movies, and testimonials of those who worked alongside him in the American Civil Rights Movement. What we know of the public figure also emerges from his own speeches and writings. We know that Dr. King confronted white supremacy, unfair labor practices, and he challenged America to live up to its ideals. Today, he is recognized as an “icon of democracy,” but in the 60’s and 70’s, he was a controversial figure. Dr. King was a disruptor. He organized coalitions across various lines including race, economics, gender, sexual orientation and religious o fight inequity, and he challenged false narratives about Black, Brown and working people.

The third Monday in January now marks Dr. King’s birthday as a national holiday, and the Dr. King Memorial stands majestically on the National Mall in Washington, DC. However, the twenty-year struggle to establish a federal holiday in honor of the slain civil rights leader was not initially embraced by all. Finally, in 1983, President Reagan signed the holiday into law, and it was first observed three years later by the federal government, but was not adopted by all fifty states until 2000. To this day, it is celebrated in Alabama and Mississippi alongside Robert E. Lee Day, which honors the Confederate general.

Dr. King continues to inspire us today, and his legacy is as relevant now as it was on April 4, 1968 when he was assassinated. As his daughter Berenice observed, the authentic King “was resolute about eradicating racism, poverty and militarism.” In his May 1957 “Give Us the Ballot” speech, he referred to the right to vote as one of “the highest mandates of our democratic tradition.” As the Voting Rights Act of 2022 stalls in the U.S. Congress even while many state legislatures make it harder for people to vote, the nation grapples with the dual ideals of maintaining election integrity and providing access to the voting booth.

Living Dr. King’s message means we must work to dismantle systemic racism, invest in social and economic equality and reject injustice. Moorpark College lives out Dr. King’s message through civic engagement, service learning, and by modeling inclusion and resilience.

One of the commitments we make in our college’s Vision Statement is to “nurture a civically-minded campus dedicated to engaging and improving our community and democratic republic through a culture of civil discourse and practice.” King recognized the intersectionality of social justice movements. He said, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” He believed that unless we motivate one another to live the ideals of America, unless we truly listen to one another and acknowledge the other’s humanity, we cannot have an authentic democracy.