This past weekend San Bernardino Valley College celebrated 90 years of excellent service to the community and they selected ninety students to honor who have attended SBVC over these years. I was one of ninety people honored at this gala event held on campus.
As I sat in the gymnasium that had been transformed into an elegant room fit for dignitaries with emcees actress Lindsay Wagner, the “Bionic Woman,” and Mark Seay, the former professional football player, elected officials and community leaders, I thought of people and issues associated with the college.
It was in June of 1949 when Carl Clemons, a member of St. Paul AME Church and close friend, graduated in a class of 266 from SBVC. I thought of Lois Carson, the first Black to be elected to the Community College Board of Trustees in 1973 and was denied the chairmanship position because of her race in 1977. It was Lois Carson who asked me to get involved with Win Carl, Personnel Director at SBVC, to develop an Affirmative Action Program.
The affirmative action efforts have led to a campus that now has students of all races graduating from a nursing program that would not accept African-Americans, Latinos, Asians or Indians during the sixties and led to the resignation of its program director. The current President Diana Rodriguez is Latina and the college has a diverse Board of Trustees.
I had to leave early but had a wonderful time with some great people.