By Professor Steven “TheProf” Cleveland
A prominent topic on which Black Excellence Project founders related was their struggles as Black first-generation college students. When asked, “What is it like to be first gen?” Steven said, “it’s interesting: I don’t feel like it’s an isolated experience.” Reflecting on his father, Jerry Cleveland, Steven said that going to college felt “like a continuum of what my dad did. My dad got a GI bill he was never able to use because of racism he faced in Alabama which wouldn’t allow him to register for college. So, at six years old, my dad told me I was going to get a master’s degree.
By Edward Hill
In the fall of 2020, Professor Steven Cleveland approached me about interning in his class, HIST 385: Race and Modern American Nation, through CSUEB’s history department.
By Dr. Raquel Baker
Working with the Black Excellence Project (BEP) has been such a nourishing experience, helping me to build skills while also mentoring student researchers – all with the goal of building a culture of Black belonging here at CSU Channel Islands (CI) and in the CSU more broadly.
By Dr. Cookie Garrett & LaRon McCoy
The Sankofa Scholars program and The Black Student Success Center collaborated with the Black Excellence Project, the Alliance for Black Culture, and the African Ancestry Faculty and Staff Association to support Black students applying for scholarships.
By Leah Jones
I had the privilege of flying to CSU East Bay from CSU Channel Islands to attend the BEP Reception on May 4, 2023, in which four BEP associates and I described our roles and how we became connected to the venture. Upon arriving, I really did not know what to expect from the gathering. I only knew who the other speakers were and what I would say during my timeslot. Hearing Dr. Cleveland’s opening remarks about the project, I looked around the room and felt the meeting’s purpose
By Andrea Papillon-Wilkes
My experience working as the Sankofa GS course instructor has been quite fulfilling. Being a part of building a culture of inclusivity and equality is my purpose.