SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, CA – In celebration of the historical achievements of Black/African Americans for our country and specifically for our community, Pacifica Graduate Institute and its Alumni Association hosted a landmark celebration on Friday, February 17 at their Lambert Road Campus.
In keeping with this year’s national theme, Black Resistance, as chosen by The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (asalh.org), the Institute emphasized the message with a directive to: “Honor the Past, Embrace the Present, Celebrate the Future.”
“I am extremely proud of our Black students, faculty, alumni, Board of Trustees, and all of our people who have contributed to the illustrious history, growth, and success, not only of Pacifica Graduate Institute, but of our local community,” said Dr. Leonie H. Mattison, President & CEO of Pacifica. “I look forward to supporting, strengthening, and nourishing an equitable and inclusive environment that promotes, respects, and encourages diversity in its fullest sense.”
This year’s honorees included many community members who have advocated for change, equity, and common understanding, including: Audrey Gamble; Connie Alexander; Sojourner Kincaid Rolle; James Joyce, III; Isaac Garrett; Jordan Killebrew; Lawanda Lyons-Pruitt; Wendy Sims-Moten; Krystle Farmer Sieghart; Simone Akila Ruskamp; Leticia Forney Resch; and, Reverend Dr. Dave N. Moore.
As the celebration of Black History Month continues, it’s also imperative to acknowledge the centuries of struggles endured by black people and the work still to be done for equality and justice. Most recently, the shocking and heartbreaking brutality against Tyre Nichols—another atrocious act of violence against people of color—continues to be a visceral reminder of the plague of racism in our society and the work still left to do.
“We understand that feelings of anger, hopelessness, and despair are natural responses to tragedies like these, which is why it’s vital to connect as a community, not only to support each other, but to strengthen the bonds that benefit everyone in our local community,” said Dianne Travis-Teague, Senior Director of Alumni Relations. “Our Alumni Association’s CareLine [(805) 679-6163, or go to pgiaa.org] was established to help anyone in our community process and unpack thoughts and feelings that may emerge during times of crises.”
While Black History Month is a time to celebrate Black Excellence, the term used to describe the individual contributions, perseverance, achievements, and successes of the Black community, it’s crucial to carry that celebration forward into every month, every day, and every moment, shining a light on all facets of progress through strength, resistance, gratitude, joy, and hope.
“I am conscious that the world is watching as we unveil our renewed focus as a student-first institution where learners transform into leaders prepared to make positive and lasting impacts on their communities and the world,” continued Dr. Mattison, who is Pacifica’s first Black, female President/CEO.
Pacifica Graduate Institute invites everyone to learn more about the commitment to celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion during this year’s celebrations at pacifica.edu and pgiaa.org.
About Pacifica Graduate Institute
Pacifica Graduate Institute is a WASC accredited graduate school with two campuses located between the coastal foothills of the Pacific Ocean, a few miles south of Santa Barbara. The Institute offers masters and doctoral degree programs in psychology, the humanities and mythological studies all informed by the traditions in depth psychology. Pacifica has established an educational environment that nourishes respect for cultural diversity and individual differences, and an academic community that fosters a spirit of free and open inquiry. In the last 45 years, Pacifica Graduate Institute has graduated over 5,000 alumni and alumnae.
About Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association
The Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association (PGIAA) [a California 501(c) Nonprofit Corporation] embodies their motto: “Through Soul, Community Thrives” (Per Animam, Communitas Crescit) and seeks not only to provide alumni and the general public with opportunities for personal and professional growth, but also to serve as a path for making positive changes within society as a whole through service and education.
For more information, please visit pgiaa.org.