Luz Reyes-Martin, Director of Communications
“Going to the Howard University Homecoming was like coming home to family.” That was the unanimous opinion of eight Santa Barbara City College Black Student Union (BSU) students who flew to Washington D.C. to visit one of the most prestigious of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the country.
“Everyone welcomed us with open arms at every event,” said Biology major Tiffany Love, one of the students who traveled to Howard October 19 -22. Ashley Velasquez, a Philosophy major and member of the Women’s Volleyball team agreed, “I’ve never experienced anything like it, such a strong sense of community.”
Most of the students agreed that there is a lack of black community in Santa Barbara, and that black students sometimes feel unrecognized. For Interior Design major Terrance Johnson, “It is important to be around people who look like you. It was an emotional experience to be surrounded by so much black excellence.”
Black Excellence is what HBCUs are all about. Defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965, an HBCU is “…any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency…” Howard University has its share of notable alumni, including Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, current California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and former Governor of Virginia, Douglas Wilder, the first elected African-American governor.
Having grown up near Howard, BSU President Saturne Tchabong brought the idea of the trip to Luis Giraldo, Director of Equity, Diversity and Cultural Competency, who initially provided funding for four students plus an advisor. Wishing to give more students the opportunity, Ms. Tchabong and fellow BSU member Krystle Farmer submitted a proposal to the Foundation for SBCC, requesting additional support. The proposal was approved and the Foundation agreed to match the funds provided by the College Student Equity Committee, financially enabling eight students to make the trip. When the costs went up unexpectedly at the last minute, a GoFundMe campaign raised the extra dollars needed in one day, thanks in large part to donations from SBCC faculty and administrators.
Thanks to that support, Women’s Studies major Timura Berry reported, “I was able to show my two children that anything is possible. The sky’s the limit when it comes to our goals and dreams.”
The visit inspired future goals and dreams for the entire group and they encourage
SBCC to see that the tradition continues in years to come, with visits to other HBCUs
in addition to Howard. Looking forward to a career in medicine, Tiffany Love envisions
the day when she will come back to SBCC as a doctor and be able to say, “Look what
we started…now it’s our turn to give back.”
SBCC BSU students in Washington, D.C. to attend Howard University Homecoming
SBCC BSU students Julia Johnson and Tiffany Love