Historical Methods 2020
On October 14th, 2020 Whittier College held an opening event in its first-ever virtual homecoming ceremony welcoming its students and alumni to the virtual poet campus. This event took place over Zoom, the popular video communication platform widely used by schools and universities during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. The online forum was called “No Going Back — Next Steps to Equity and Justice at Whittier College, Los Angeles, and Beyond,” the latest in an ever-evolving dialogue over race and class since the murder of George Floyd, the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement and the creation of the Black At Whittier Instagram page which all highlight the systemic racism within our country and communities.
Not only is this homecoming unique due to it existing online regarding the circumstances of COVID-19, but it also steered away from traditional celebrations and instead used the event as a platform to discuss the marginalization of minorities in the Los Angeles area — emphasizing the institutionalized changes that must be made concerning race relations especially in the age of COVID-19. The discussion was between Whittier College alumni Miguel Santana ’91 and Andrea Shorter ’88 while moderated by Associate Professor Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez. Santana and Shorter joined their alma mater’s virtual homecoming event due to their involvement in the Committee for Greater LA and their “No Going Back” initiative which looks at COVID-19’s effects on unemployment, homelessness, youth trauma, and systemic racism within the Los Angeles community. The goal of the Committee for Greater LA is to reinvent Los Angeles by pursuing racial and economic equity through system change.
The Committee for Greater LA can be compared to the Community Service Organization, formed in 1947, in Los Angeles. CSO, a Chicano founded civil rights organization, worked to improve conditions for all minorities within Los Angeles and advance their shared goals by advocating for civic engagement.
The Committee For Greater LA, September 9, 2020. https://nogoingback.la/.
Bernstein, Shana. "From the Southwest to the Nation: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Los Angeles." In Sunbelt Rising: The Politics of Space, Place, and Region, edited by Nickerson Michelle and Dochuk Darren, 141-63. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. Accessed October 22, 2020. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46nqmj.8.
Backus y Herrera, E., Salinas, D., Ochoa, I., & Blevins, C. (2020). Student Life: Poet Virtual Homecoming. Historical Methods 2020 Retrieved from https://poetcommons.whittier.edu/covid/13