University reaches out to black community
- February 15, 2007
Bishop Bob Jackson with President Qayoumi.When CSU Chancellor Charles Reed takes the pulpit in Oakland on Super Sunday, he won't be speaking to empty pews.
The Acts Full Gospel Church of God in Christ is expecting about 3,000 members to turn out for the Feb. 18 event, said Bishop Bob Jackson, pastor and a CSUEB alumnus.
As part of a CSU effort to increase the number of African Americans seeking higher education, faculty, administrators and CSU presidents will visit Bay Area churches during February in a massive outreach effort.
Cal State East Bay's Super Sunday contingent will visit 14 predominantly black churches in Oakland, Richmond, Vallejo, Pittsburg and Hayward. President Qayoumi will speak at the Center of Hope Community Church and the Greater St. Paul Mount Baptist Church, both in Oakland. On Feb. 11 he spoke at the First Baptist Church in Pittsburg and on Feb. 25 will visit St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond. On Feb. 25, the CSU will stage a similar event in Southern California. After services university staff are on hand to answer questions about admissions, financial aid and what parents can do to get their kids to college.
"I'm happy to know Cal State East Bay is taking measures to encourage African American youth to take part in the higher education offered here in California," said Jackson.
Cal State East Bay provides an opportunity to earn a quality education right in the students' backyard, he said. Students can still live with their families, and that's important to urban youth who benefit from keeping close to their community support system.
"It also provides role models for African American and Latino students to see others in their community who are going to college," said Jackson.
About 12 percent of Cal State East Bay's student body is African American, and in the CSU system as a whole blacks make up 8 percent. Total African American CSU applications for fall 2007 are up 12 percent. But university leaders say that's not enough.
Jackson's church, one the largest congregations in Northern California with more than 7,000 members, hosted Super Sunday last year. His church also has a school with 289 children, ages preschool to 8th grade. Most are college bound. Jackson said parents in his community appreciate that the university is coming to them and showing that it welcomes their children. That was the most positive outcome from last year's Super Sunday, he said, when President Qayoumi spoke at his church.
"I don't think parents thought about Hayward as a place for their young people," he said. "Many had heard it isn't a welcoming place for urban youth and they'd be treated badly. They found out that's not true at all."
Jackson credits the outreach efforts of Sonjia Redmond, Cal State East Bay's vice president of Student Affairs, with forging a good relationship with his congregation and others in the East Bay.
Jackson said he is grateful for the education he received at Cal State East Bay. The things he learned four decades ago still help him today in his ministry, especially what he learned of human behavior in his psychology classes.
"I wasn't even thinking about Christianity then," he said of his years on the Hayward campus. "I never dreamed of the Lord lifting me up to be a pastor."
African American Scholarship recipients in 2006.Jackson graduated from CSUEB with a bachelor's in psychology in 1973, after serving four years in the U.S. Air Force and transferring from Merritt College. He later earned a master's in theology from the International Seminary in Plymouth, Fla., and in May 1998 an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the Sacramento Theological Seminar and Bible Institute.
The Super Sunday event is part of Cal State East Bay's outreach efforts during Black History Month. On Feb. 24, the university will host the African American Education Summit on the Hayward campus. That free event - with the theme Education: Live the Dream! - will present a day of seminars on all aspect of getting into a university and financing an education. Parents, prospective students, school counselors and administrators are encouraged to attend.
The event is the second recent community education conference on the Hayward campus. The university also hosted the Latino Education Summit on Jan. 27.
"As with our Latino event, we're encouraging entire families to participate and learn about college admissions, financial aid, scholarships, and of course, our campuses and programs in particular," said President Qayoumi. "As a state university, we realize that we have a responsibility and an opportunity to help meet the needs of our region, ranging from employment and work force preparation to education, economic opportunity, and multicultural inclusion."