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, 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.
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.