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John R. Lewis College Dedication Celebration
May 6, 2022 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Join us on Friday, May 6, 2022 at 4 p.m. as we celebrate the official dedication of John R. Lewis College. The event will take place in person, at the Quarry Amphitheater on campus and will include a lineup of powerful speakers and performers.
UC Santa Cruz, with our mission to provide access and opportunity to all, strives to honor Representative Lewis’ legacy through educational experiences with transformative power that give our students the tools they need to change their own lives and the world.
John R. Lewis College is UC Santa Cruz’s youngest and one of the most diverse colleges. Of its roughly 1,500 undergraduates, more than 60 percent grew up speaking another language either in addition to or instead of English, and more than 30 percent are first-generation students, the first in their family to attend college. John R. Lewis College is home to a series of robust programs designed to realize its founding themes of Social Justice and Community.
A college in John Lewis’ name is a profound honor and a great responsibility for UC Santa Cruz. Our campus community will strive daily to live up to the legacy of Representative Lewis, to answer his call to create a more just and fair society, and to leave the world a better place than we found it.
John R. Lewis College will seek new avenues for social justice impact while building upon strong foundations. The college’s curriculum and programs were designed from the outset to provide learning opportunities, both inside and outside of the classroom, that empower students with crucial skills, knowledge, and perspective to build a more just and equitable world.
We are honored to be hosting LaTosha Brown, Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter, Black Voters Matter Fund and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute. In strong resonance to the values and life’s work of John R. Lewis, LaTosha works tirelessly to catalyze voter registration, voter turnout, and political power in Black, often-marginalized communities. She is an award-winning organizer, philanthropic consultant, political strategist and jazz singer.
LaTosha possesses over 20 years of experience working in the non-profit and philanthropy sectors, which she leverages to inspire action promoting political empowerment, social justice, economic development, leadership development, and civil rights. She is a nationally recognized voice speaking truth to power, raising consciousness, and leading from “a deep love for humanity, democracy and justice.”
We are excited to welcome Terisa Siagatonu, an award-winning poet, teaching artist, mental health educator, and community leader born and rooted in the Bay Area. Her presence in the poetry world as a queer Samoan woman and activist has granted her opportunities to perform and speak in places ranging from the White House (during the Obama administration) to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, France. The most memorable moment in her career was receiving President Obama’s Champion of Change Award in 2012 for her activism as a spoken word poet/organizer in her Pacific Islander community. Terisa is an alumna of John R. Lewis College, and wrote her first poem in her dorm room in House 6/Angela Davis.
We are thrilled to have Wisdom Cole, UCSC alumnus and civil rights advocate and national organizer, who will also be speaking at the dedication of John R. Lewis College. As the NAACP’s National Director for Youth and College Division, he works to train and mobilize young people across the country in effective local, state, and national organizing tactics and tools to build political power. Noted as one of Complex Life’s 32 Young Activists Who are Changing the World,” Wisdom has been featured on NPR, VICE, NBC Washington News, The Brooking Institute, and The Economist as an advocate for youth voter turnout through issue-based campaign organizing.