Black History is much more than one month

Mary J. Lomax-Ghirarduzzi

February 2023

Dear Pacificans,

February is Black History Month and University of the Pacific has planned a robust calendar of speeches, music, theater, health clinics and more to celebrate African American heritage and culture, provide learning opportunities and bring awareness to critical social issues.
This celebration of Black history comes at yet another time of outrage and tragedy as we mourn the loss of more lives nationwide with the recent escalation of mass shootings, along with the brutal beating and death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tenn., by police officers. Tyre was a son, father, photographer and skateboarder from Sacramento, California.
Events throughout the month will highlight Black art, culture and dynamic speakers who will share their lived experiences and their dedication to advancing social justice. Here are some of programs that will be offered:
Black History, Black Theater Ft. Macelle Mahala | Feb. 7
An Evening with LaRussell | Feb. 10
Exploring Swana | Feb. 15
Community Health Fair | Feb. 18
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf | Feb. 21
Equity-minded leadership | Feb. 28
Additionally, at the center of our work is an in-depth learning series for the Pacific Community that kicks off Feb. 9. I am proud to present Pacific’s first Anti-Racism Challenge for all students, staff, and faculty at all three campuses. Gamification of DEI education is created at Pacific with cutting-edge social justice capacity-building for a broad audience. This is the first university-wide course offered on Canvas for every Pacifican. Participants will receive a badge each week after submitting a non-graded reflection. There are nine weekly badges plus a colorful Burns Tower badge for those who complete the challenge.
The purpose of this series is to build Pacific’s capacity for awareness, compassion and understanding toward social justice and racial equality in a community atmosphere that welcomes—and thrives on—the richness of all perspectives and experiences. Enroll in the Anti-Racism Challenge today. 
I’d like to invite you to engage in the variety of educational offerings we have planned. My hope is these endeavors will broaden our understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging by advancing acceptance, kindness and peace within the Pacific community throughout the year.


Mary J. Lomax-Ghirarduzzi
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Professor of Communication