Posts Tagged: Black
LeChé McGill and the UC ANR Black and Allied Employee Resource Group organized an outstanding, thought-provoking series of virtual events for Black History Month.
Shelley Jones-Holt, Imani Mitchell, Sonia Lewis and our own Mary Blackburn delivered presentations for ANR employees about the history behind critical race theory, the complexities of Black representation in film and the ongoing struggle to secure voting rights. The first two webinars are posted on the Learning and Development Website and the third will be posted soon.
Black History Month webinars:
Feb. 9, 2022 – Critical Race Theory (video) - Shelley Jones-Holt
Feb. 16, 2022 – Black Representation in Film (video) with Imani Mitchell
Feb. 23, 2022 – Voting Rights & History (video) Sonia Lewis; resources included in the recording: What Trauma Taught Me About Resilience, Dear Black Women Let's Talk About Healing, Frederick Douglas and the Right to Vote, Voter Rights and Voter Suppression: Election 2020
The Black and Allied Employees affinity group has organized a series of events to celebrate Black History Month.The events will be held on Wednesdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m., Feb. 9 through Feb. 23. The purpose of the events is to learn more about the legacy of systemic anti-Black racism in our country, as well as celebrate Black culture and the progress that has been made.
On Feb. 9, Shelley Jones-Holt, Founder/CEO of Leadership Legacy Consulting, will give a presentation on critical race theory.
Jones-Holt has served the educational field for over 20 years as a pK-Adult teacher, principal, district office administrator, superintendent, college faculty and executive leadership coach. Her emphasis on cultural and racial historical literacy is foundational to engaging in a restorative approach to uncomfortable conversations about controversial topics such as race and identity oppression. She believes that adults and children can become literate in history, culture and academics simultaneously by focusing on what we read, how we build empathy through cultural proficiency development and change the future for all through our understanding of the past. Jones-Holt earned a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley, a Masters from Sacramento State and a doctorate from USC. She has received numerous awards and acknowledgements for her work in equity leadership including being named the 2016 Equity Administrator of the Year by ACSA (Association of California School Administrators).
She is now serving as a racial and educational equity consultant providing training, facilitation, coaching and support to equity driven teams and organizational, legislative, and educational leaders across the nation. She is the founder of Leadership Legacy Consulting, LLC and of the nonprofit Family Legacy 5 focused on providing technical, adaptive and educational support to educators and leaders at all levels. She has expanded her reach to also empower families through family leadership training for all and establishing apprenticeship and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth to thrive in their areas of passion and interest. She has written articles on culturally responsive equity leadership and the five pillars of generational family leadership to support individuals, leaders and families taking strategic action against all forms of oppression through our understanding of systemic racism, developing cultural proficiency, being intentional in our equity leadership and raising culturally proficient families. Jones-Holt's belief is that anything is possible with a focus on your vision, your leadership, your legacy and our support. The real work can only be done by looking inside ourselves first without shame, blame or victimization!
On Feb. 16, filmmaker Imani Mitchell will speak about Black representation in film.
Born and raised in Sacramento, Mitchell was introduced to the performing arts through theater and has performed professionally within Northern California for the last 10 years. She has appeared on stage at B Street Theater, Capital Stage, and Celebration Arts. Most recently, she directed a production of PIPELINE at Celebration Arts and currently serves as a member of their board.
Outside of the theater, Mitchell is dedicated to the art of filmmaking and developing her craft as a writer and director. In 2019, she founded her film company IAM Studios and wrote and directed her first film, “Whirlpool” (soon to be available on Amazon Prime). Mitchell created IAM Studios with the mission to employ and support talent of color and showcase stories that represent the diversity and complexity of the Black experience. Currently, her second film, titled “I Remember Yesterday,” is in postproduction with a plan to be released in April 2022.
On Feb. 23, Sonia Lewis, founder of ASCRIBE Educational Consulting, will speak about the history of voting rights in the U.S.
Lewis is a California native. Her educational background includes degrees in history and psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, a Secondary Teaching Credential in Social Studies and a master's degree in education from San Francisco State University.
After spending nearly 20 years in the traditional classroom teaching History/Social Studies and managing a small magnet program, she founded ASCRIBE Educational Consulting. Their focus has always been geared towards educational/racial equity and resource distribution. Since 2009, ASCRIBE Educational Consulting has centered the development of programs and writing of curriculum for marginalized and vulnerable student populations. In addition, her work involves speaking and training around the topics of equity, race relations, and social justice. When she is not working, you will find her loving, nurturing, and advocating for six boys, seven bonus children and two granddaughters.
To register, visit https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=36589.
When agricultural advisors came to the Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico during the 1940s, they lined the irrigation ditches with concrete, in the name of boosting efficiency and productivity. But in single-mindedly focusing on water delivery, they neglected to consider how the previously inefficient seepage sustained nearby fruit trees.
Their actions, as well-intentioned as they might have been, disrupted the local ecosystem and killed the trees that had fed many generations, according to A-dae Romero-Briones, who identifies as Cochiti and as a member of the Kiowa Tribe.
“In my language, we call the extension agents ‘the people who kill the fruit trees,'” said Romero-Briones, director of the Food and Agriculture Program for the First Nations Development Institute, a nonprofit that serves Tribal communities across the mainland, Alaska and Hawaii.
The historically tense relationship between Indigenous peoples and government-affiliated programs is one of the many complex dynamics discussed in a six-part webinar series, “Racial Equity in Extension,” facilitated by UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.
Making communities of color in the agricultural sector more visible is a priority for Victor Hernandez, a sociologist and outreach coordinator for the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. Hernandez, who has organized “Growing Together” conferences for Latino and Black farmers, is trying to get more farmers of color to participate in the upcoming 2022 Agricultural Census.
“If we cannot quantify the demographic, we cannot justify the need,” emphasized Hernandez, explaining that his office uses the data to direct resources that advance equity in service, program delivery and distribution of funds.
A legacy of mistrust
At the same time, however, Hernandez also acknowledged the challenges in registering growers of color for the census, conducted by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. (According to Brodt, USDA's most recent agricultural census, dating to 2017, counts approximately 25,000 producers of color among 128,535 total producers in California.)
“Many of us that are considered socially disadvantaged or historically underserved…a lot of times our peoples come from [nations with] oppressive governments,” Hernandez said. “And so when you come to the United States and you begin to build your life here, to go and engage with the federal government is not the first knee-jerk reaction.”
On top of government mistrust and fears of deportation or detention, other immigrant groups have seen mainstream agriculture – borne by the “Green Revolution” wave across the globe – replace deep-rooted cultural practices, said Kristyn Leach of Namu Farm in Winters.
“It just makes these small farmers distrust our own knowledge, the knowledge that's existed for centuries – before the kind of current iteration of agriculture that we're situated within right now,” said Leach, who works to preserve the agricultural heritage of her Korean ancestors, and facilitates a farmers' collaborative called Second Generation that adapts Asian crop varieties to climate change.
According to Romero-Briones, a collective memory of supplanted culture also lingers in Indigenous communities. In the Cochiti Pueblo, “primarily a subsistence agriculture community” with a long history of corn cultivation, their practices are distinct from those in the mainstream – including regenerative and sustainable agriculture.
Building relationships takes commitment
Given that legacy of cultural displacement and appropriation, how do extension professionals and other agricultural advisors slowly rebuild trust with communities of color? For Romero-Briones, it begins with a genuine respect for Indigenous practices, and she urges interested people to contact their local tribal historic preservation officer to begin strengthening those connections and understanding – beyond a couple of phone calls.
“As someone who works with Indigenous people all day, even I need to recognize sometimes I have to meet with people up to 12 times before we actually start talking about the work that I initially wanted to talk to them about,” Romero-Briones said.
In a similar vein, Chanowk Yisrael, chief seed starter of Yisrael Family Farms, encouraged listeners to reach out to members of the California Farmer Justice Collaborative – an organization striving for a fair food system while challenging racism and centering farmers of color.
“To use a farm analogy: we've got this ground, which is the farmers of color who have been neglected for a long period of time,” said Yisrael, who has grown his farm in a historically Black neighborhood of Sacramento into a catalyst for social change. “It's not just going to be as simple as just throwing some seeds and things are going to come up; you're going to have to do more – that means you got to get out and do much more than you would do for any other community.”
Investing time in a community is one thing – and backing it up with tangible resources is another. Technical expertise is only the “tip of the iceberg,” Leach said, as historically marginalized groups are also seeking land access and tenure, more affordable cost of living, and access to capital.
“All of those things are actually much bigger burdens to bear for most communities of color than not having the knowledge of how to grow the crops that we want to grow, and not knowing how to be adaptive and nimble in the face of climate change," Leach explained, highlighting California FarmLink as an essential resource. (“Understanding Disparities in Farmland Ownership” is the next webinar in the SAREP series, set for Nov. 19.)
Bringing diverse voices to the table
Another key is ensuring that farmers and farm workers of color are represented in management and decision-making processes. Samuel Sandoval, a professor in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources and UC Cooperative Extension specialist in water management, develops outreach programs in English and Spanish for everyone from farm workers to the “boss of the boss of the boss.”
“It has to be changed,” he said, “because at the end, the person who is going to operate the irrigation system and turn on or off the valves, the person who is looking if there's a leak or not – that's the person who's not being informed, or has not been informed on purpose.”
That exclusion of certain groups can lead to a loss of invaluable knowledge. Leach said there is a real danger in ignoring the wisdom of communities that have contributed so much to the foundation of food systems in California and around the globe.
“These really kind of amazing, sophisticated and elegant agroecological systems that we don't often legitimize through the scientific language and perspectives aren't seen as being really technically proficient – but, in many ways, they're more dynamic and more resilient than the things that we're perpetuating right now,” she said.
As a concrete example, Sandoval said that while extension advisors and specialists conduct studies to remedy a plant disease, farm workers might be developing – separately and in parallel – their own solutions by asking for advice from their social networks via WhatsApp, a phone application.
A reimagining of collaboration, Sandoval said, would include (and compensate) people working in the field for sharing their perspectives – bringing together academics and farmers, integrated pest management experts and pesticide applicators, irrigation specialists and those who do the irrigation.
A need to look within
Concerns about inclusion and validating alternate sources of knowledge apply also to the recruitment process in extension. Leach said that she has seen listings for advisor jobs that would require, at a minimum, a master's degree – which would automatically disqualify her, despite her extensive knowledge of Asian heirloom vegetables.
“When you look at a job description and you see ‘Asian crop specialist,' only required qualification is a master's degree, and then somewhere down the long list of sort of secondary desired, recommended things is some knowledge of Asian crops or communities…you know that just says a lot in terms of what has weight,” Leach explained.
Before organizations can authentically connect with communities of color, they should prioritize diversity in their own ranks, said Romero-Briones. First Nations Development Institute had to ensure that they had adequate representation across the many Tribes that they serve.
“Before we start looking out, we have to start looking in,” she explained, “and that means we have to hire Indigenous people who know these communities.”
For extension professionals and other members of the agricultural community in California, the UC SAREP webinar series has helped spark that introspection and a meaningful reevaluation of institutional processes and assumptions.
“These discussions have been tremendously illuminating and eye-opening,” Brodt said. “But hearing and learning is just the start – it's incumbent on us, as an organization and as individuals, to take action to ensure that farmers of color and their foodways are truly respected and valued.”/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>
UC Davis Harassment & Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program for reporting instances of harassment and discriminatory practices or behaviors, as well as the virtual Black History Month and Juneteenth events that took place this year. Though these efforts have been endorsed and supported by UC ANR higher leadership, the newly recognized Black and Allied Employees affinity group has been spearheading these efforts behind the scenes since 2019.
Black and Allied Employees, also known as BAE, began as a small group of coworkers – present and past employees – who discussed patterns of anti-Blackness within the UC ANR workplace and what changes could be made to address them. When the uprisings of 2020 began, the group requested a meeting with UC ANR leadership, and began to meet with them on an occasional basis to bring attention to these patterns and to advocate for substantive, systemic changes to make UC ANR a safer and more welcoming environment for Black employees.
The group continues to advocate for accountability, parity, and fair and equitable recruitment, promotion and retention. BAE members also aim to provide a safe space for Black and African Diaspora employees to obtain support around workplace concerns, as well as professional development and growth opportunities.
Since BAE has been formally recognized as an affinity group at UC ANR, the group has been accepting new members. Non-Black allies are welcome to join under the condition that the space remains safe and supportive to Black members. The group currently meets once per month on Friday afternoons.
If you would like to join BAE, please fill out this interest survey. We look forward to connecting with our colleagues throughout the state.
Baur named Western IPM Center director
After leading the Western Integrated Pest Management Center through the global COVID crisis as acting director, Matt Baur has been named permanent director effective July 1 to lead the center into the post-pandemic future.
Baur, an IPM practitioner and entomologist by training, had been the Western IPM Center's associate director since 2014.
“Like everyone, the center had to change the way we worked during the pandemic and some of those changes are likely to continue into our future,” Baur predicted. “The region we serve in the West is huge – Guam to Colorado, Alaska to New Mexico – and the remote technologies and virtual platforms we all became familiar with in 2020 can help us connect across those miles.”
Baur's goals for the center are to build on its successes and expand its outreach to serve new areas and audiences, promoting smart, safe and sustainable pest management across the region to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West.
“The vision of the center is “A healthier West with fewer pests,'” he explained, “and that's something I care about deeply. I have two sons and promoting integrated pest management is one way I help protect their world.”
Baur sees a need to reconnect with the people who research and teach IPM, and plans to attend meetings and conferences for all the scientific disciplines involved in pest management. He also plans to expand the center's connections to communities that have been under-represented and under-served in the past.
“I believe it's vital that we not only listen to but represent all the stakeholders in the West affected by pests and pest-management practices,” Baur said. “There are voices we haven't heard and communities we haven't served well in the past, and I am very happy to have the opportunity to change that. Integrated pest management can be a way to promote environmental and social justice, and as a regional IPM center, we can be leaders in that.”
Before joining the Western IPM Center, Baur worked as a research scientist at DuPont/Pioneer and was a research assistant professor at Louisiana State University. He received his doctorate in entomology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his bachelor's degree in biology from UC San Diego. He is a licensed pest control adviser in the state of California.
Baur is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com. – Steve Elliott
Shum named director of Business Operations Center
Su-Lin Shum joined UC ANR as director of the Business Operations Center June 14, 2021. Shum will oversee the consolidated Business Operations Center in Davis.
Shum brings over 25 years of experience in financial management, budget oversight, and financial operations and analysis within the UC system and beyond. Throughout her career, she has specialized in finance and business services while serving as the director of finance and business services at Sierra College, the director of budget and finance at the UC Berkeley Library, the interim assistant dean for Finance and Administration at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, and project manager and principal budget analyst at the UC Davis Budget Office.
While living in Canada, Shum served as the executive director of strategy and operations at the Pacific Carbon Trust Environmental Investment Agency and as director of corporate planning, reporting and program reviews/audits at the British Columbia Office of the Auditor General.
Shum earned an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, and a BA from the University of British Columbia.
Shum is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kawakami named associate director of statewide programs operations and RECs
Heather Kawakami rejoined ANR as associate director of statewide programs operations and research and extension centers on June 7.
Kawakami, who has worked for UC since 1992, served as chief business officer for the Nutrition Policy Institute in 2017 and 2018. She has also worked in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, most recently as the business unit manager for the Department of Plant Sciences.
She earned a BA in medieval studies with a minor in Latin from UC Davis.
Kawakami is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com.
Haghverdi receives UCOWR Early Career Award
Amir Haghverdi, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in irrigation and water management in the Environmental Sciences Department at UC Riverside, has been selected to receive the 2021 Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) Early Career Award for Applied Research. The national award recognizes outstanding early contributions in applied research related to water and promise of continued professional growth and recognition.
Haghverdi's research focuses on developing and disseminating scientific knowledge, practical recommendations, and tools for sustainable urban and agricultural water resources management. His approaches include field research trials, laboratory analyses, and computer modeling to identify opportunities for synergy between research and extension activities. His main research themes include irrigation water management, root zone soil hydrology, and precision agriculture. He is also interested in applications of advanced data acquisition and mining techniques, including remote sensing, GIS (geographic information systems) and GPS (global positioning system) technologies, machine learning, and wireless sensors.
UCOWR is a consortium of academic institutions and affiliates invested in water resources research, education and outreach.
4-H wins Diversity & Inclusion Award
The 2016-2019 UC 4-H Latino Initiative is the recipient of the Diversity & Inclusion: Expanding the 4-H Audience Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals.
Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, statewide 4-H director, and 4-H advisors Steven Worker, John Borba, Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, Russell Hill, Katherine Soule and Liliana Vega, and Lupita Fabregas, former 4-H Youth Development assistant director for diversity and expansion, developed, implemented and evaluated culturally responsive program models to attract and retain Latino youth, families and volunteers into 4-H.
The project focused on seven counties – Kern, Merced, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Sonoma – selected to represent rural, suburban and urban communities. The number of Latino youth participating in the 4-H program increased more than 250% in three years. Youth enrollment statewide grew from 1.1% of the school-aged population in 2016 to 1.9% at the end of 2019. All counties achieved parity – within 80% of Latino youth in the population – by the end of year three (except Orange County which withdrew in year two). Read more about the UC 4-H Latino Initiative at http://4h.ucanr.edu/Resources/Latino/.
The NAE4-HYDP Diversity & Inclusion Award recognizes outstanding effort and accomplishments in achieving, expanding and/or sustaining diversity in the NAE4-HYDP organization, programs, and/or audiences.
The UC 4-H Latino Initiative team will be recognized at the NAE4-HYDP Conference in Memphis, Tenn., on November 16 or 17.
WEDA honors California Dairy Quality Assurance Program
The Western Extension Directors Association presented a 2021 Award of Excellence to the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program - Environmental Stewardship: A Public Private Partnership.
Launched in 1997, the program is led by Deanne Meyer, UCCE livestock waste management specialist, UCCE advisors Betsy Karle, Jennifer Heguy, David Lewis, Jeffery Stackhouse, Nicholas Clark, Randi Black and Daniela Bruno, and Denise Mullinax of the California Dairy Research Foundation.
The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is a voluntary partnership between the dairy industry, government and academia. It has been proactive in addressing environmental concerns, setting up a voluntary certification project before the adoption of water quality regulations that targeted nitrogen management. To protect California's air and water quality, more than 700 dairy farms have completed an on-site, third-party evaluation of their facility's manure management.
Uhde named Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellow
Katherine Uhde, UC Master Gardener Program coordinator in Santa Clara County, has been selected as one of 50 Bloomberg fellows to receive full scholarships to earn a Master of Public Health through the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Uhde's project will focus on environmental challenges. She is working with Lucy Diekmann, UCCE urban agriculture and food systems advisor for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, to develop project ideas that address public health practice needs.
“Generally, the project will focus on environmental health and wellness in Santa Clara County and the Bay Area,” Uhde said.
U.S. Golf honors Harivandi
Ali Harivandi, emeritus UC Cooperative Extension turfgrass advisor, recently received an Ike Grainger Award from the United States Golf Association.
A UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulturist based in Alameda County who specialized in turf, soil and water for 33 years, Harivandi served on the USGA's Turfgrass and Environment Committee and Green Section Research Committee. He is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert on recycled water use on golf courses and other landscape sites. His expertise in soil and water quality have been important to the USGA.
Each year, the USGA presents the Ike Grainger Award to individuals who have served the Association as a volunteer for 25 years. These dedicated men and women tirelessly give back to the game through a variety of roles.
Harivandi was instrumental in encouraging the committee to seek out research to develop warm season grasses with greater drought tolerance and grasses that will some day be able to remain green during the winter in areas where bermudagrass has historically gone dormant.
Garvey wins ACE photo awards
Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC Davis communications specialist for UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won silver and bronze awards in a photography competition hosted by the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). ACE announced the awards June 22 at its virtual conference.
She captured the silver with a Canon MPE-65mm lens and posted the image at https://bit.ly/3cUx358 Aug. 10, 2020, on her Bug Squad blog.
“The purpose of my image is to draw attention to the dwindling monarch butterfly population,” wrote Garvey, who creates habitat for monarch butterflies in her family's pollinator garden. “They are on life support.” The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation reports that overwintering monarchs have declined 99% in coastal California since the 1990s.
In addition to the silver award, Garvey won a bronze award for her photo series of male and female Gulf fritillaries, Agraulis vanillae, “keeping busy.” Her post, “Fifty Shades of Orange, with a Touch of Silver,” appeared July 13, 2020, on her Bug Squad blog at https://bit.ly/2Q6cU3q.