Why We Need Black History Month
Cedric Deadmon (Graduate! Network Diversity, Education, and Inclusion Project Lead) invites you to explore Black History Month with usClick here or scroll down to read more >>

Upcoming Events
Join us on Tuesday, February 9, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Central Standard Time for our next Multimedia Club Chat & Chew. Our topic is the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Click here or scroll down to read more >>

Did You Know?

Among Comebackers working with the Graduate! Network, the percentage that were potential completers was nearly four times larger than in the general population. Follow our #comebackercampaign on Facebook and Twitter >>

What We're Reading
Micaela Rios (Graduate! Network Fellow) shares her key takeaways from "Racial Equity in Funding for Higher Ed," an article from Inside Higher Ed that highlights a growing gap in equitable funding for higher educationClick here or scroll down to read more >>
Why We Need Black History Month:
Come Explore with Us

by Cedric Deadmon
Graduate! Network Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Project Lead


Dr. Carter G. Woodson is credited with creating Negro History Week in February 1926, which ultimately became known as Black History Month. While the culture is grateful for Dr. Woodson and his vision, the fact is that Black History was being made long before 1926.

1619, the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Selma to Montgomery March, the March on Washington, and Black Lives Matter yield the progression of a people, a culture, a movement. Each of these historical markers represents 402 years and are a part of the collective DNA of a nation.

Black History Month is an opportunity to grow, learn, appreciate, and celebrate Black culture. Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King, Jr., Adam Clayton Powell, el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X), Thurgood Marshall, Daisy Bates, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Harry Belafonte, and Lena Horne were precursors for Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama, Craig Watkins, Stacey Abrams, and Michael Eric Dyson, just to name a few. If you know the former and not the latter, you will.  They are and will be familiar names that will make their way into the his-story and her-story history books and be studied with the same academic vigor as traditional American history. The latter are making Black history every day!  

Anybody who pays even a little attention to American social affairs, economic conditions, and politics knows that we still have much work to do for this nation to truly live out its creed that everybody is "created equal." Even with all the contributions made by Black people to the arts, education, politics, civil rights, sports, and the list goes on and on, barriers still exist. Black History Month is a chance to reflect, immerse, and connect with the past while giving apt attention to the future. Black History is our history: A history that should transcend race and ethnicity and should embrace the diversity and richness of our country. It should be embraced in our national dialogue about ingenuity, perseverance, and triumphs. It should also serve as a reminder of the atrocities, pain, and systemic inequities that exist on issues of social justice, economic inequality, criminal justice reform, and the devaluation of Black lives and properties.  

Since its genesis, The Graduate! Network’s driving force behind serving adult learners has been centered on equitable outcomes. Our work provides access, opportunity, and mobility to millions of adults seeking a better life for themselves and their families. The data tell us that most of these Comebackers are minority, Black and women. By embracing and empowering adults, we are creating a new generation of educated, economically mobile families. And who knows, we might just be helping lay the foundation for their name to be added to the history books. The Graduate! Network is vested in equity, but more so, we have faith and hope that each community not only talk the talk, but walk the walk of diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial reconciliation.   

So, it is in that spirit that we are proud to host a series of virtual events this month to learn, engage, discuss, and share the rich and sometimes painful history of a people. From virtual tours of The National Museum of African American History and Culture, to an open discussion on Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s 13th, which explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation's prisons are disproportionately filled with African Americans, we invite you into this space to be informed and inspired. To continue to stretch the limits of our conversations while closing the gap on racial bias and systemic inequities. Why is this important? Because his-tory and her-story not only can tell us where we have been and help us see the mistakes of the past, it can also help us learn where we need to go and, hopefully, not repeat those mistakes.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team looks forward to engaging with you over the next few weeks and welcomes your participation and support.
Upcoming Events: Black History Month
Tuesday, February 9

 Graduate! Network Multimedia Club Chat & Chew
Topic: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
When: Tuesday, February 9th, 12:00-1:00 p.m. Central Standard Time
Brief Description: Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture via a virtual tour. Bring your lunch and join us for a Chat & Chew discussion on your visit! 
Discussion Guide: Click here
Register Now

Stay tuned for more Graduate! Network events this month by visiting our website.
As we celebrate and reflect on Black History Month, the Graduate! Network’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiative has curated a list of readings, films, and other resources for our communities. Click here to access the list.
What We're Reading:
"Racial Equity in Funding for Higher Ed"

by Micaela Rios
Graduate! Network Fellow

According to an article published late last year by Inside Higher Ed, since the last recession the U.S. has made little progress on the funding gap for colleges that serve disproportionate shares of students of color.

In the midst of this pandemic, that gap may widen. So far, enrollment is down nationally, with community colleges seeing the largest decreases in enrollment.

A few important points from the piece:
  • Inequities have continued in the financial help from Congress through the CARES Act. While $14 billion in aid was provided to higher education, CARES money was distributed based on the number of full-time enrolled students. Community colleges are more likely to enroll part-time students as compared to four-year universities. 
  • According to an analysis by Ben Miller from the Center for American Progress, community colleges received only about 54 cents for every dollar received by public four-year institutions.
  • Community colleges serve diverse student populations with diverse needs. Six-year graduation rates are lower at community colleges when compared to four-year universities. 
Maureen Murphy, president of the College of Southern Maryland states, “Higher education funding is built on a 19th-century model, where a full-time student goes through a degree program in a prescribed amount of time. That doesn’t translate to what the 40 percent of undergraduates in the country need. Parity would mean our mission would be recognized as just as important as research universities. Our students aren’t lesser by any means.”
Read the Article

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Photo credits | Question mark by Matt Walsh on Unsplash; calendar by Manasvita S on Unsplash