Urban Initiative Update

Diversity Council Celebrates Black History Month

Dr. Louis Jenkins

In honor of Black History Month, the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) Diversity Council hosted a discussion entitled “Social Justice, Faith, and the Pepperdine Community” as a part of the committee’s biannual Multicultural Issues Impacting Community Speaker Series.

The event was held on February 17 at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus. Panelists included Dr. Erylene Piper Mandy, a former adjunct professor at GSEP and the president and CEO of the Center for Cross Cultural Competence, and Dr. Louis Jenkins, a professor of psychology at the School of Science and Technology at Loma Linda University and a GSEP Distinguished Alumnus. Their discussion on social justice challenges from a historical and contemporary perspective was moderated by Dr. Spring Cooke, visiting professor in the Education Division, and followed by a reception.

Dr. Erylene Piper

“Black history month started as an effort to correct the systematic disregard of African American voices in the telling of U.S. history,” said Dr. Daryl Rowe, a professor of psychology at GSEP and an expert in cross-culturalism. “Although the country has just elected its first African American president, there is still a pressing need to acknowledge the rich contributions to our society from all of its members. In particular, the nefarious treatment of African Americans in the establishment of this country calls for ongoing recognition. The Diversity Council was interested in bringing in speakers who could offer a unique perspective on how our University has fared in this capacity within the Los Angeles basin.”

GSEP designed this event so that the student body and members of the school’s surrounding communities could better understand the critical importance of social justice to the development of the fields of education and psychology. Attendees gained a fuller appreciation of the necessity to consider social justice, faith, and cultural context in their development as educators or psychological practitioners.

The next Diversity Council-sponsored event, “Inspirational Journeys: Preparing Women for Lives of Purpose, Service, and Leadership,” will take place on June 9 at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus. Panelists will include dean Margaret Weber; the associate dean for student affairs at Pepperdine’s Seaver College, Tabatha Jones; and Mónica García, president of the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the nation. Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, associate professor of psychology, will moderate.

The Diversity Council is a subset of the Urban Initiative, an umbrella program developed to prepare students for long-term work in underserved urban communities. Goals are to develop a new generation of education and mental health professionals with the skills and will to work in culturally and ethnically diverse urban settings, and impact future legislation affecting education and mental health services.

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