The student news site of Skyline College.

The Skyline View

The student news site of Skyline College.

The Skyline View

The student news site of Skyline College.

The Skyline View

New podcast celebrates Black voices of CA Community Colleges to empower Black students

Danny Morrison hosts the new “EDUCATE. ELEVATE.” podcast.

The California Community College’s Black and African American Student Success center has released a riveting podcast called “EDUCATE. ELEVATE.” It features inspiring personal stories from Black students, administrators and alumni of CCC’s on how they overcame challenges to persevere in their higher educational journey.

“We at the Chancellor’s Office remain steadfast in our commitment to support our Black and African American students by breaking down barriers standing in their way of a quality higher education and to close equity and achievement gaps,” said Chancellor Sonya Christian in the Chancellor’s Office student media teleconference on Feb. 14.

With two episodes released so far, the podcast focuses on uplifting Black people, especially Black men. The stories illustrate how African American students moved forward beyond life’s obstacles and refused to let myths they heard prevent them from achieving their academic goals. 

“We are especially hoping to reach Black males with this effort as this population has had a significant enrollment decline. It is part of an expansive effort to illustrate how California’s Community Colleges are empowering the next generation of Black leaders,” Christian said. 

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Danny Morrison, the podcast’s host, is extremely passionate about uplifting the Black community. He knows the feeling of how dreams of reaching something greater may seem unattainable, and the struggle to just survive. 

“The COVID pandemic hit us particularly hard. In fact, across California, the number of Black students attending community colleges dropped by 25%,” Morrison said in an opening statement from the first episode. 

One of these compelling stories is about Oakland native Jesse Williams, a CA Community College alum and recent graduate of UC Davis. His dream school was UC Davis, but a high school counselor told him he would never get accepted.

“In high school I didn’t make the best decisions,” Williams said in the second episode. “I had a 0.9 GPA, and I didn’t think there was any future for me. I was working three jobs and my mom was super sick.”

After his mom passed, he felt the need to step-up and get a degree to carry on the family name. 

“I didn’t know how to study so I Googled how to study in the library,” Williams said.

Once he began applying himself and getting support from mentors at his community college, he flourished and was able to transfer to UC Davis.

“Community college was that small school for me, and it prepared me for Davis,” Williams said. “17-year-old Jesse was for sure not getting into UC Davis, but at 22? Yeah, that kid was ready. He was ready, he had the tools. He had the support staff and everything.”

The podcast emphasizes busting myths that people in the Black community may have heard about going to college.

“There’s no such thing as college material because everyone says, ‘Oh, I’m not ready yet,’” Williams said. “You make the decision to tell yourself, ‘This is the class I’m going to take. This is where I’m gonna go. This is where I want to go.’”

Watch the full podcast to hear more uplifting stories on the “I Can Go To College” YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts or on the Black and African American Student Success page

“You decide you’re college material. You define yourself. Don’t let others define you,” Williams said.

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