San Jose State University
Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Feb 22 Newsletter
Good Trouble Series - The Divine 9

Taking Up Space With Dr. B!

Black History Month originally called Negro History Week established in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of Association for the Study of African American Life and History, was created as a way not to limit celebration of the Black experience to a week/month, but to educate and show the rest of the nation how the Black community was excelling and contributed to the strength of the country. The month of February was selected because it was the birth month of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

As a member of an Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, a historically Black fraternity founded in 1911 at Howard University, he worked with his fraternity members early on to help promote the Black community's achievements during his early years with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Woodson understood the importance of his fraternity not only promoting and supporting that Black community, but that they were important to educating and enlightening non Black people about the lack community’s past, present, and future.

Every year there is a theme for Black History Month and this year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness #BlackHealthMatters. We often view health and wellness as taking care of our physical selves, but for Black people being in community contributes significantly to our health, wellness, and overall well being. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (2022,February) discusses the importance of community:

When we intentionally create a community for the purpose of a shared goal, it can deepen relationships, create feelings of belonging, and provide support for the health and wellbeing of all members. Community is a gateway to better understand our own lives and the lives of others and creates an essential foundation for people working toward common goals.

One of the ways traditionally that Black individuals have created community for ourselves is by becoming members of historically Black fraternities and Sororities. These nine organizations (often referred to as the Divine NIne) were founded during a time when Blacks were not allowed to join similar social organizations on college campuses. The organizations all members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC):

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, founded at Cornell University in 1906
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, founded at Howard University in 1908
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, founded at Indiana University in 1911
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, founded at Howard University in 1911
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, founded at Howard University in 1913
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, founded at Howard University in 1914
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, founded at Howard University in 1920
  • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, founded at Butler University in 1922
  • Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, founded at Morgan State University in 1963.

They provide a lifetime of support and extended family for their members. Membership does not end when one graduates from college and individuals are able to become members after the complete their undergraduate education. They foster development, contribute to college student retention, create leaders, and contribute to the positive growth of the Black community. As a third generation member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, I fondly think about my childhood surrounded by members of Divine Nine, the instant community I have found as I have relocated for different professional experiences, the sisterhood that is developed anytime I meet a new Soror and how all of these experiences have contributed to the person that I am today.

This month ODEI’s Good Trouble Video Series features some of SJSU’s Black Faculty and Staff who are members of the Divine Nine. Dr. Travis Boyce and Henderson Hill III both members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Felicia McKee-Fegans a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and Coleetta McElroy a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. We hope that you enjoy hearing about their experiences and what their organizations mean to them.

To close, though February Black History Month we hope that you remember that Black history, Black joy, and Black excellence can not be confined to 28 days a year.

Black History Themes (2022, February). The Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Retrieved February, 2022, from

Community Building. (2022, February). National Museum of African American History and Culture. Retrieved February, 2022, from

National Pan-Hellenic Council

ODEI in Action Banner
  • In addition to the workshops and consultations Dr. craig John Alimo does on campus, he also was able to help out a couple of non-profit organizations who are doing good work:
    • “The Collab Lab Tech Talk: First Take/Second Look” Workshop addressing unconscious bias in Tech for non-profit organization: The Collab Lab. The Collab Lab helps early career engineers gain practical experience by working on teams on real world projects.
    • Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center “Community of Practice” in both January and February. The community of practice provides dialogue practitioners to share questions, provide solutions and connect with each other.
  • Open House: As a part of SJSU Weeks of Welcome, ODEI hosted a meet and greet for the campus community on February 16, 2022.
  • Dr. Patience Bryant started her role as the president of the Association of Student Conduct Administration, presenting at their annual 2022 conference.
  • A Day without Immigrants - Un Dia sin Inmigrantes occurred on Monday, February 14, where organizations like SIREN, LUNA, Papeles Para Todos, SomosMayfair created spaces for folxs to speak in favor of a comprehensive immigration reform. Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas participated in both rallies.
Black History Month Banner
As Black History Month comes to a close, remember that Black history is our history. It's American history. And it cannot be confined to just one month. If you have not already, participate in some events, learn something new, explore the community. Here are some resources to check out.

Some Things to Watch This Black History Month and Beyond on

  • Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities
  • Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands
  • We'll Meet Again: Freedom Summer
  • Nas Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop
  • Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heard

Black History Month in the Bay

27 Black-Owned Bay Area Businesses to Support Now & Always

Black History Month: 5 Bay Area events you won’t want to miss

Upcoming Events

The Black Health & Wellness Run, Walk & Roll 5K
In recognition of Black History Month and its theme Black Health and Wellness, the Department of African American Studies, Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center (SRAC) and the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC) will host a 5K run, walk, and roll on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 9 am (runners) and 9:30 am (walkers and strollers).

Registration for the race will begin at 8:30 am at the Smith and Carlos statues.
It's free to participate; and shirts will be available on a first come first serve basis.
#BlackHealthMatters: Black Health and Wellness Beyond Black History Month
At this special virtual roundtable scheduled for March 23, 2022 (time TBD), African American Studies, ODEI, and Faculty Development will bring together Black and African American community members at SJSU to share their research, insights, and best practices when it comes to health and wellness.
  • We encourage all faculty, staff, and students to consider submitting proposals for brief presentations that explore a variety of topics, including but not limited to:
    • Physical and/or mental health
    • Community-based research
    • Personal reflections on health
    • Examples of radical and personal self-care
  • Apply to present

Recommended Reads banner
The readings and resources in this section are designed to help our campus learn about theories, frameworks, research and resources that are helpful in addressing our key goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion by building our intellectual muscle to help us see our world, analyze our world, and apply this learning from where we are to increase equity. The readings are chosen because they are able to overview or introduce complex concepts in ways that promote understanding among a wide variety of readers, occupational foci, and time constraints. 

Lightning Reads

Recommended Books
  • “Bibliophile: Diverse Spines” By: Jane Mount & Jamise Harper
  • “Investing in the Educational Success of Black Women and Girls” Edited by: Lori D. Patton, Venus Evans-Winters and Charlotte Jacobs
  • “Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America's Campuses” By: Lawrence Ross
  • “The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities” By: Lawrence Ross

Have You Heard Podcasts Banner
A whiteness that's only skin deep
Listen to the stories from people of color with albinism whose experiences challenge what many people think they know about race.

The 'double-edged sword' of being a Black first
Constance Baker Motley was the first Black woman to serve as a federal judge and the first Black woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court. A trailblazing civil rights judge who ruled in some landmark cases and helped pave the way for many to come after her. But Motley's life was full of contradictions and her many achievements also came with many costs.

Can therapy solve racism?
Listen to the stories of two Latinx people who tried to use therapy as a means to understand and combat anti-Blackness in their own lives.

Playing Pretendian : Code Switch
People lie about being Native American all the time – on college applications, on job applications, in casual conversation. But how do "Pretendians" hurt real Indigenous people and communities? And what does all that mean for people who aren't quite sure if they're claiming or reclaiming?

'Into the Depths'
National Geographic has launched a podcast in search of slave shipwrecks, untold stories. "Into the Depths" follows a team of scuba divers in search of undiscovered slave shipwrecks.
Student Parent/Caregiver Club
Are you or a student you know a parent or caregiver who's looking for a sense of community or leadership opportunities. Learn more about the relaunch of the Student Parent/Caregiver Club. All majors welcome!
Student Parent  Caregiver Group
The next info session is
Tuesday, March 1 at 5 PM
The Complexity of the "X" in Latinx
Do you know students that could use storage space on campus? Starting this semester, Student Involvement is launching the Commuter Student Locker Program! Students can enter our drawing for a chance to use a locker in the Student Union, located in the space near Student Involvement, FREE of charge for the Spring 2022 semester!
Commuter Student Free Locker Drawing
Zoom Reminder: Turn on Live Transcription feature
CONTACT US     •     408-924-8168
Kathleen Wong(Lau), PhD
Felicia McKee-Fegans, MA Ed
craig John Alimo, PhD
Patience D. Bryant, PhD
IG: @pdb_phd
TW: @pdb_phd
Fernanda Perdomo-Arciniegas, MPA
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San Jose State University
Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0007

Last Updated May 2, 2022