Rise to the Challenge, Answer the Call

Placing our children front and center, in the fight for equity and justice!

Greetings and welcome! Oh, all the places we can go, if only children are exposed to educators who care. Just look at Vice President Kamala Harris and Amanda Gorman, our youngest Inaugural Poet. As our goal is to ensure Black children are receiving fair and equitable outcomes, let us know if you have information to share or need our help. Together we can make a difference!  Happy African American, African, Black History Month!


Top Stories/Updates

Thank you, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

As we honor Black History Month, join us in celebrating this year’s 2021 Theme, The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. For more information and to participate in free online events, visit ASALH’s website.

Why Black Educators Matter!

As a Black educator, I have personally witnessed the mistreatment of Black children in relation to other children. From the moment they step into the classroom, our children are stamped guilty before they open their mouths. In spite of dwindling numbers in San Diego Unified and throughout the county, Black children face disproportionate amounts of disciplinary actions as early as preschool. For our Gifted and Talented students, they, too are often overlooked or in some cases, viewed as exceptions to the norm. Just the other day, my Black Professor reminded me of the High School Valedictorian in Mississippi who was asked by the Principal of the school to share her honor with a white classmate along with the impact of integration and, the overlooked reality of resegregation in urban and suburban schools.

Here is a little-known fact: One of the downsides of Brown vs. The Board of Education is the impact it had on the Black Teaching Force. Dr. James Anderson points this out in A Tale of Two Browns: Constitutional Equality and Unequal Education: “Moreover, the manner in which Brown was implemented [by closing Black schools and firing Black teachers], particularly in the South, devastated the careers of Black educators, placed many Black schoolchildren in hostile racial climates, dashed the hopes and dreams of those who expected full equality, and constructed painful memories of the African American experience.” (Chapter One, page 16).

With School Reopening Plans underway, parents are divided on whether or not districts should allow students to return back to campus. Pediatricians here in San Diego weighed in as well. Understandably, the uncertainty can cause anxiety for the fearful and frustration for those wanting their children to return right away. Yet for Black parents, the amount of mistrust many are experiencing on top of COVID is painfully concerning and needs attention. The NAACP San Diego Branch Education Committee will provide a series of recommendations and resources on sending children back to school in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, we are aware there are phenomenal teachers, counselors and administrators who deeply care about our children. We praise teachers and administrators who sacrifice their own lives to help improve outcomes for all children. Just take a look at the Principal in South Carolina who rarely sleeps —leading his school by day and restocking shelves at Walmart by night to help his students and their families during the pandemic. Mr. Henry Darby’s selfless acts will bring tears to your eyes.

Then there is Jacqueline Dungee, a Principal at Loving Elementary Charter School in Detroit. Growing concerns for her students’ safety and well-being during the pandemic led her to begin knocking on doors to physically check in. More on Principal Dungee can be found on: https://www.today.com/video/detroit-principal-knocks-on-doors-to-make-sure-students-at-home-aren-t-left-behind-85136453995

We salute these selfless educators for the compassion they display to Black children and quite honestly, to all children. An educator teaches and leads children regardless of race, ethnicity or ability because that is what culturally competent leadership is all about. These are just a few examples of Why Black Teachers Matter! If you know of a local Black Educator in San Diego or throughout the county that we should recognize let us know right away!

Update in the Search for Sweetwater Union High School District Superintendent

By a 4:1 vote on Board Item L-5, the Sweetwater Union High School District Board of Trustees will conduct an Open Superintendent Search for the District. Dr. Paul Gothold has placed Dr. Yolanda Rogers in charge of the search process. We are looking forward to improved outcomes for our students and families in Sweetwater. The NAACP will continue to work with SDCOE as a voice for our community. On February 9. 2021, the district Board of Trustees held a special board meeting with Dr. Yolanda Rogers, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources at SDCOE to discuss next steps on the process. Special appreciation and gratitude to Board of Trustee Frank Tarantino for ensuring that Black Minds Matter Advocacy Group and the Filipino Council were added to the Advisory Committee. Good news for the Community as we want to ensure improved outcomes for all children.

Community Calls for SDUSD to Hire Outside Search Firm

The NAACP San Diego Branch joined AAAE and other community organizations here in San Diego to call for an Open Superintendent Search. The coalition, led by the Association of African American Educators (AAAE) included Parent Quality Education (PQE), ACLU San Diego and Imperial Counties along with community members, including Deborah Maxie and Lallia Allali. Although the coalition preferred the District hire a reputable outside firm, Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, when asked what her vision encompassed for an Open Superintendent Search explained the process, which includes an Advisory committee that will have input in every step of the way. After listening to Dr. Whitehurst-Payne, it was evident that in order for our voices as Black Parents, Youth, Families, Educators and Community members to be fully included, that the NAACP San Diego Branch ensures it takes action to be on that list. There were 13 Public comments on this item, including a comment from the NAACP San Diego, Education Chair.

On February 2, 2021, thirteen public comments on Board Item E.1 were presented, including a comment from the NAACP San Diego Branch Education Chair who requested that our branch, along with our coalition partners be added onto the Advisory committee. After hearing comments, the SDUSD Board unanimously passed Item E.1, proposed from Dr. Whitehurst-Payne and Board President Richard Barrera. Dr. Whitehurst-Payne’s vote included an amendment to add community members and organizations, which was the primary reason for our support and was accepted.

The NAACP San Diego Branch’s request in large part seeks to ensure that representation of African American, Black, Somali, biracial, Indigenous, Latinx, Filipino, Arab, and quite frankly, all marginalized groups are represented on this committee. Furthermore, we ask the Board’s inclusion of organizations like San Diego State University, includes working with specific departments like SDSU’s, Division of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity (Dr. J. Luke Wood). We also suggest including input from Black faculty at UCSD’s Department of Education, like Dr. Thandeka Chapman as well. We will keep you posted on progress and welcome support.

Black Lives Matters Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize!

Standing up for social justice and advocating for equality is a human right. Since 2012, after the death of Trayvon Martin, young activists formed the Black Lives Matter, which over the years has evolved into a movement that has not only impacted our nation, but quite obviously, our world. Perhaps then it’s no surprise that someone outside of the United States would nominate the BLM Movement for a Nobel Peace Prize! That someone is Mr. Peter Eide, a lawmaker and member of Norway’s parliament has nominated Black Lives Matter for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr. Eide, stated he had nominated Black Lives Matter “for their struggle against racism and racially motivated violence.” He also noted that it was “BLM’s call for systemic change” that has forced “other countries to grapple with racism within their own societies…” We congratulate the Black Lives Matter Movement for rallying and unifying people across the world in our fight for equity and justice.






The Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) is a program providing scholarships and professional development opportunities directed at furthering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in students from underrepresented communities. If selected, the student will receive a $40,000 scholarship award. This award will be disbursed in the amount of $10,000 per year, for four (4) years, and will go directly to the institution in which the student is enrolled. Selected students will also receive internship preparation and placement, leadership training, mentoring and access to the AIChE student networking opportunities. This program is administered by HBCU Week Foundation, Inc. The mission of HBCU Week is to encourage high-school aged Youth to enroll in HBCUs, provide scholarship dollars for matriculation and sustain a pipeline for employment from undergraduate school to corporate America.


  • Applicant must be a high school senior (graduating class of 2021)

  • Applicants must be completing or have completed high school successfully with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

  • Applicants must be accepted as a full-time student at a college or university for the upcoming academic semester.

  • Applicants must plan to pursue studies at a historically black college or university (HBCU).

  • Applicants must plan to pursue studies in a field associated with STEM, MIQA, technical or operation manufacturing.

  • Applicants must be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States.

  • Applicants must complete and submit a scholarship application by February 15, 2021.


The HBCU Week Foundation will form a committee and award the scholarship based on a comprehensive evaluation process. Areas reviewed by the committee include but are not limited to the following:

  • Academic accomplishments
  • Reference letters
  • Financial Need
  • STEM and future career aspirations
  • Community Involvement

The multi-year scholarship will be reviewed annually and is contingent upon satisfactory academic performance in a full-time course of study at an HBCU.


  • Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Math
  • Computer Science



The Frederick Douglass-James Madison Fellowship is a privately funded, $24,000 graduate fellowship offered to a person of color who is a United States citizen and who is a secondary level teacher or prospective teacher of American history, American government For more information visit: https://www.jamesmadison.gov/fellowship-information/frederick-douglass-james-madison-fellowship  You must apply by March 1st!


Upcoming Events


We cannot mention Black Lives Matter without nodding to the importance of how Black Minds Matter. The NAACP CA HI State Conference has partnered with SDSU’s Dr. J. Luke Wood, Dr. Frank Harris III and Dr. Joseph Johnson, Jr. to present on the impact of suspensions and expulsions statewide against Black children as early as preschool. You don’t want to miss this symposium that is calling for statewide policy changes in education as it relates to Black, Brown, Indigenous children, including our Foster and Homeless youth. Added presenters include California Secretary of State, Dr. Shirley Weber, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, UCLA’s Dr. Tyrone Howard and Cal State, Los Angeles, Dr. Melina Abdullah. For more information and to register visit: https://bit.ly/36rfZ3c


Students & staff of the Black Panther Party Oakland Community School share lessons on liberated teaching & learning!

February 17, 2021 from 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM PST

Registration and Organizer Information:

The Black Teacher Project (BTP), is a program that sustains and develops Black teachers to lead and reimagine schools as communities of liberated learning. BTP’s vision is that every student will benefit from the diversity, excellence, and leadership of an empowered Black teaching force.

This Black Teacher Project (BTP) event is a Black racial affinity space, if you do not identify as Black, please refrain from registering to honor the safe and sacred experience we are trying to create. Please register through this Eventbrite page to receive a link to the Zoom meeting the morning of the event. The event will also be recorded (breakout segments will not be recorded).


Join us for the 4th Annual San Diego Black College Expo in partnership with San Diego County of Education on Thursday, February 18th 

‘‘LIVE” online.

Click here to sign up!

·  Students can meet one-on-one virtually with the actual college recruiter

·  Students can Get ACCEPTED on the spot to an HBCU

·  Scholarships on the SPOT over 5 million in scholarships from our HBCUs

·  Application FEES waived

·  Win Cash and Prizes throughout the day at the Stage

·  Win over $5,000 in scholarships from NCR/SDCOE

·  Received a FREE admission to the California West Coast Black College Expo Friday and Saturday, February 19th & 20th  

For additional information, sponsorship/partnership opportunities visit  www.thecollegeexpo.org or call 877-427-4100 or email  info@thecollegeexpo.org


For more education information, visit sandiegonaacp.org/education