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What Black History Month Means to me

Unsung Heros

A Tribute to my Aunt

Inez Tatum. A Sojourner for a Family

My Hero by Jamal Oakley

Black Student Union Reflections of the Year

Foothill Nigerian Student Faces Racism in Los Altos

Cofounder San Jose-SF Freedom Train Inspired by Mom

Diversity Watch 2000

Foothill Student Receives Lewis Latimer Award

The Celebration of African History Month

George Washington Carver Award Given

East Bay Artist Donates Art to Foothill College

Students, Faculty and Staff March on Foothill

by Selena LeBlanc

"African American History Month is a time for me to celebrate existence in spite of a past history that could have wiped us out. It’s a time to reflect on ancestors who lost their lives in the battle and struggle in this jungle we call a world. It is because of my ancestors that I continue to have the strength to go on.

"This month will be now and forever dedicated to those of us who have gone on and to those of us who are still here in battle, struggle and jungle. Let’s celebrate a history that can never be taken away. A race of people that will not fade—even during the toughest battles."

Introduction by Selena LeBlanc, Student "The heroes in my life are those who have taught me to be who I am to day. They are my family, teachers, counselors, friends, strangers and enemies. There are too many inspirational people to name, but in spirit they know who they are. Many of my heroes have given me determination to succeed, inspiration, wisdom and love. I sincerely thank them all today, tomorrow and forever.

Who are your unsung heroes? Those people who have made a positive impact on your life or the lives of others? Unsung heroes may never have achieved national fame or glory, but they have touched lives and touched hearts, contributing to the success of our people, our families and ourdiverse communities.

In honor of African American History Month, these articles will feature stories about unsung heroes and heroines among our faculty, student and community ranks. As you read the following stories think about the heroes or heroines who have made a difference in your life. No act or legacy of positive influence is too small for recognition. Read on!”

by Selena Le Blanc

When I was three years old, Aunt Amanda always made me feel special. She listened to my needs and made me feel like a star. As I stood dressed up in her grown - up stage clothes, Aunt Amanda would smile and tell me that I could be anything I wanted to be. She said that I was the captain of my ship and that I controlled my own destiny. She also said that I should never let anyone stand in the way of what I wanted.

When I was five years old I remember Aunt Amanda took me to a parade in San Francisco. She then told me to wait in the crowd along with one of her friends.With a twinkle in her eye, Aunt Amanda said that she had a surprise for me and then disappeared. A few moments later I looked up and there she was performing on the center of a huge parade float with her amazing voice.Auntie Manda was a famous vocalist/songwriter in Vancouver, Canada, and also well known in the Bay Area. Her lyrics raised the social and political consciousness of many people with songs like Martin Luther King Had a Dream and Where Have My Friends Gone, a tribute to Aids victims. She has continued to be an inspiration in the lives of many people and her recordings will touch the lives of future generations. In September 1999, Aunt Amanda died after a three-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Her last song, Illuminate Your Love to the World, was written during her final days.
Inez Tatum:
A Sojourner for Family
Davida Vance Lee, Foothill Counselor

When I was asked the question, "Do you know anyone who you consider an unsung hero?" I could not help but think of my birth mother’s oldest sister, Inez Tatum.What makes her a real heroine in my mind? Allow me to share these few facts.

After my maternal grandmother died in 1944, Inez became responsible for raising her younger sister who was my birth mother. After my birth mom’s death in 1960, Aunt Inez raised my four siblings and me. When my grandfather remarried and had a new child, Aunt Inez also raised this new little addition to our family. Although the five of us were not her responsibility, Inez devoted her life to raising us. She is one who I know and have come to love as my dear mother.

When all odds were against us, my mother Inez always kept the faith! She gave unselfishly to all of us and never once complained! When we talk about it now, she says, "Dee, I really enjoyed raising all of you." While many people felt that Inez should have separated or abandoned my brothers and sisters, Inez and her husband, Bill, chose to keep us together. As a result, we were able to establish family bonds and grow to love and appreciate one another.

My professional achievements are due largely to the support and encouragement I received from Inez. When I wanted to give up on my struggles and college, she would always place a note in my coat pocket, which I would find later on during the week that read, A Quitter Never Wins. Deep inside of myself I could not accept the concept of being a quitter and so I never gave up on my studies. Did it pay off? It certainly did.

Today, I am counseling and teaching at Foothill College. Had I quit, I would not have this story to share with you nor would I have found such a fulfilling career. Now at age 84 years, Inez continues encouraging future generations to persevere.

My Hero
By Jamal Oakley,
Foothill College Student

Several things come to mind when one says hero. But one person in my life who I can say wholeheartedly fits the bill is my late great – grandfather, Mack Dillard. In addition to being one of the hardest working men I will ever know, he found a way to be the man of his family. As long as he was alive, he was the main link in the chain of command. He was a loving man who ran a successful business, worked full time receiving numerous accolades, was an accomplished handyman, raised a family, adopted children, made life comfortable for as many as he could, and had a good time doing it.

If there is anything my grandfather left me, it was a formula of how to do things the way they are supposed to be done. A system of how to get the most out of whatever you are doing. And it can be summed up in one of my grandfather’s most famous sayings: Do it right the first time, or don’t do it at all. Mack Dillard, you are loved grandpa.


Technology Needed for Continued Success and Development

Dedicated Foothill College African American student, single parent and active community member in need of a new or used lap top computer. If you would like to make a donation or charge a reasonable fee please contact the African American Network at (650) 949-7668.

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