Celebrating Black History Month

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February 1, 2022 | Events, President's Office

Black History Month: Celebrate Your Blackness - A Tribute to All Things Beautiful About Black CultureDear Guttman Community:

As a Black college president, I will always be cognizant of the people and communities that we serve and intend this message to be the beginning of a more systematized effort to acknowledge all our histories and lived experiences. Throughout this Black History Month, you will see many announcements, events, and calls to celebrate our Blackness and I encourage you to make time to do so.

Colleges and universities in the U.S. have begun documenting long legacies that reinforced and sometimes created oppressive environments for Black people. Prior to my arrival, our community came together to give voice to and understand the racialized experiences that students, faculty, staff, and administrators faced. We have an opportunity, as a relatively new institution, to seize this moment and create new legacies of care, belonging, and trust. This month may be an exciting time to revisit conversations that faded into the background and galvanize around supporting each other through what bell hooks calls an ethic of loving kindness. Allowing our community to re-engage the complexity of the Guttman experience can help shape a vision and tangible future for our students, colleagues, and communities we serve.

Throughout this upcoming year, we will build out the work we have begun in our 2022-2027 Strategic Plan. As you know, our first Strategic Pillar is Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. We have committed to elevating our DEIB work, which will serve as the foundation for every effort at the College. We are conducting the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Climate Assessment to examine the structural conditions of our institution and inform our decisions, while centering data and best practices. Additionally, Guttman now has a seat on the University Advisory Council on Diversity (UACD), a group that advises the Chancellery on ways to deepen the University’s commitment to creating and sustaining an inclusive workforce.

Angela Davis reminds us that, “we have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society,” so I am sharing a list of texts that may spark reflection and conversation in our communities.

Black History Month Reads

Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities, Craig Steven Wilder

Killing Rage Ending Racism, bell hooks

How to be Anti-Racist, Ibram Kendi

I Am Not Your Negro, James Baldwin

Beloved, Toni Morrison

How We Get Free, Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor

Becoming, Michelle Obama

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, Nikole Hannah-Jones

Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny, Hill Harper

The Best Is Still Yet to Come,

Dr. Larry, Johnson, Jr.
President