Black History Month lecture tackles inequality

The Sacramento region is well-known for its high levels of diversity. TIME magazine declared it the most diverse city in America in 2002 and Cosumnes River College was ranked the ninth most diverse public two-year college in the nation last year, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac.

While the city and college are quite diverse, that doesn’t mean that there still aren’t issues with inequality.

Guest lecturers from UC Davis sociology associate professor Bruce Hayes and sociology lecturer Jesus Hernandez tackled that very subject as part of CRC’s continued Black History Month celebration in their lecture “Race and Inequality in America’s Most Diverse City” on Feb. 19.

The inequality lecture was chosen and constructed by sociology Professor Nyenbeku George, who contacted and invited the guest lecturers to come speak.

“I began reaching out to other faculty at other universities,” George said. “In meeting with Dr. Haynes we began to have a conversation, and  I said ‘hey it would be great for you to come and have a talk at Cosumnes River College.’ He agreed  and the event was sealed.”

Extended Opportunity Programs and Services Counselor Jacqueline Mathis, a member of the Black History Month Planning Committee, said they looked to the faculty in order to plan events.

“We sent [messages] out to the black staff on campus, asking them ‘are you doing something’ or ‘do you want to be a part of this?’” Mathis said.  “They let us know, and we looked to see if it follows the theme for black history month for this year.”

The goal of the lecture was to inform students about racial inequality happening in Sacramento, Haynes  said.

“I was trying to give  background information about myself and about my research and  how I came to think of the link with race and communities and neighborhoods,” Haynes said.

Roya Fareed, a 20-year-old political science major, said she enjoyed the event.

“It was very informative and I think we don’t get to hear this stuff a lot,” she said. “We do talk about it in some classes, but it’s not emphasized and I think that it is important knowledge to know.”

Mary Matrisciano, a 47-year-old sociology major, said the part that really got to her was where they spoke “about  the mortgage  industry and the lending, because I am one of those ones that it did affect.”

Haynes and Mathis both said that students should take one thing from the lecture: knowledge. Haynes said that they should continue on in their education so that they can become informed and become engaged.

“I believe education is power,” Mathis said. “You have the knowledge to make judgements based on the information you have instead of on something that someone else said. You can make your own judgment.”