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LAVC Black Scholars Supports the Academic Success of Valley's Students of Color

In honor of Black History Month, we are highlighting the efforts of our LAVC Black Scholars program to help increase the academic success of African-American students at Valley College by providing providing a mentorship-based learning community on campus. This month, it is also coordinating LAVC's Black Heritage Week activities including a The Hate You Give screening with panel discussion on February 25, a keynote address by Nate Howard of Movement BE on February 26, a Black Heritage Cultural Celebration on February 27, and more.

LAVC Black Scholars Supports the Academic Success of Valley's Students of Color

Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) established the Black Scholars Program as part of the college's equity initiative to help increase the retention and matriculation of its African American students.

The Black Scholars program is a mentorship-based learning community created to foster greater culturally relevant engagement, sense of belonging, and academic success for LAVC students of color. Its mission is to create a holistic and responsive Afrocentric environment that promotes the successful course completion, semester-semester persistence, certificate and degree attainment, and/or transfer to a four-year university for LAVC African American students.

Under the leadership of Student Services Dean Llanet Martin, the program has expanded its programmatic activities over the past few years that are designed to support cultural and community awareness, leadership, professional development, social and cross-cultural enrichment, and retention.

Black Scholars also offers its students free academic counseling, book grants, monthly meet ups, cultural activities and events, California college tours, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) tours, and an African American Celebration for graduating students. Last year, it organized Woke Wednesdays, which is a foundational three-part series focused on elevating critical and social consciousness through cross-cultural engagement programming that include Open Mic and SpeakEasy activities.

"I would especially like to thank Dr. Martin as well as our network of administrators, faculty and staff that serve on our Black Scholars Advisory Committee for their unwaivering support towards our mission," noted Dr. Elliott Coney, counselor and coordinator of the LAVC Black Scholars Program. "In the last year, we have made tremendous strides in creating partnerships that not only facilitate campus-wide representation but aid in the success for all students of color at Valley."

Black Scholars also coordinates activities that engage the campus community throughout the academic year, including the college's annual Black Heritage Week, which is a series of culturally-focused events designed to celebrate the African American experience. This year's Black Heritage Week is held in collaboration with Student Equity, Associated Student Union, Student Services, Music Department, Ethnic Studies, Library Department, Black Student Union, and Professional Development, and the theme is "Black Scholars Rising". The following is a list of the 2019 Black Heritage Week activities in February and March:

  • Los Angeles Black College Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Saturday, February 2 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Entry Fee: $7-$8 or free with College ID.

  • The LAVC Library is presenting a Black History Showcase from February 11-28 on the first floor of the Library and Academic Resource Center. There will be a table display highlighting various books that celebrate and reflect Black Heritage, as well a Virtual Black History Showcase on the Library website.

  • The Cookout featuring a BBQ fundraiser, games, activities, mixer, and an ASU Club Day on Wednesday, February 20 at 11 a.m. in Monarch Square.

  • A Comedy Show hosted by Comedian Kennelia Stradwick and other comics featured on BET, VH1, and Comedy Central on Thursday, February 21 in the Music Recital Hall (M106); doors open 1:30 p.m.

  • Harambee Conference at CSUN on Friday, February 22 gives students an opportunity to discover the cultural legacy of African-Americans in the pursuit of higher education and learn about exciting opportunities available at CSUN. Lunch will be provided.

  • The Hate You Give Screening and Panel Discussion on Monday, February 25 at 1 p.m. in Monarch Hall. The 2018 film based on the novel by Angie Thomas, follows events in the life of 16-year old black girl, Starr Carter, who is drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of a childhood friend.

  • Black Heritage Distinguished with keynote speaker Nate Howard of Movement BE on Tuesday, February 26 at 1 p.m. in Campus Center's Fireside Room. Professional speaker, poet, educator, and social entrepreneur, Mr. Howard has been featured on NBC, TEDx, LA Times, Free TC Album-Ty Dolla$ign, and various other news and media platforms.

  • The Black Heritage Cultural Celebration featuring a performance by African Soul International, African dance, drum circle, music, and soul food on Wednesday, February 27 at 1 p.m. in the Student Services Plaza.

  • An HBCU College Caravan and Fair on March 6.

In the coming months, Black Scholars will experience many more firsts for the program. It will welcome the college's first cohort of the Umoja Program this fall. Umoja (an African word meaning "unity") is a state-supported program designed to enhance the cultural and education experiences of African American and other students. Through the support of VIPC, the Umoja program is able to build greater infrastructure of resources to support the success of our African American students and add a new tenure track counseling position. 

In addition, the Mosaic Center will have its first expansion of services with a brand-new dedicated space for the Black Scholars Program, called the "Black Scholar Village" in Campus Center (CC) 102. The campus community will be invited to a soft opening of the new space later this month.

"The ultimate goal of Black Scholars Program is to bridge equity gaps for our students of color, and to help those students reach their educational aspirations," said Coney. "Our success is clearly demonstrated by our Black Scholars who are now attending UC, CSU, and HBCU institutions. I am so proud of Angelique Dormevil and Tiffany Pitts who are at UCLA, Ronnel Evans who is at UC Santa Barbara, Tyrone Carter and Kayode Oriola who are at CSUN, Aaron Bullock who is at Florida A&M, and Charence Jackson who is at Xavier College!"

For more information on the LAVC Black Scholars program, visit the LAVC Black Scholars webpage.


Image: LAVC Black Scholars graduates with Elliott Coney, counselor and coordinator of Black Scholars, at Commencement 2019


Posted by: LAVC PR Office on 2/1/2019 5:00:02 PM