John R. Lewis College Grand Opening Celebration
Join us on Friday, May 6, 2022 at 4 p.m. to celebrate the official opening of John R. Lewis College. The event will take place in person, at the Quarry Amphitheater on campus and will feature a line-up of powerhouse speakers and performers.
UC Santa Cruz, with its mission to provide access and opportunity for all, strives to honor the legacy of Representative Lewis through transformatively empowered educational experiences that give our students the tools they need. to change their own lives and the world.
John R. Lewis College is the youngest and one of the most diverse colleges at UC Santa Cruz. Of its approximately 1,500 undergraduate students, more than 60% grew up speaking another language in addition to or instead of English, and more than 30% are first-generation students, the first in their families to attend university. 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 the name of John Lewis is a profound honor and a great responsibility for UC Santa Cruz. Our university community will strive daily to live up to the legacy of Representative Lewis, to answer his call to create a fairer and more equitable society, and to leave the world a better place than we found it. .
John R. Lewis College will seek new avenues to impact social justice while building on a strong foundation. The college curriculum and programs have been designed from the outset to provide learning opportunities, inside and outside the classroom, that enable students to acquire skills, knowledge and a perspective essential to building a more just and equitable world.
The Tosha Brown
We are honored to welcome LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, Black Voters Matter Fund and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute. Resonating strongly with the values and work of John R. Lewis, LaTosha works tirelessly to catalyze voter registration, voter turnout, and political power in often marginalized Black communities. She is an award-winning organizer, philanthropic consultant, political strategist and jazz singer.
LaTosha has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors, which she uses to inspire action that promotes political empowerment, social justice, economic development, leadership development and civil rights. She is a nationally recognized voice who speaks truth to power, raises awareness and leads “a deep love for humanity, democracy and justice”.
We are thrilled to welcome Terisa Siagatonu, 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 given her the ability to perform and speak at venues ranging from the White House (during the Obama administration) to the United Nations Conference on climate change in Paris, France. The most memorable moment of 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 Island community. Terisa is an alumnus of John R. Lewis College and wrote her first poem in her dorm at House 6/Angela Davis.
We are delighted to have Wisdom Cole, UCSC alumnus and civil rights advocate and national organizer, who will also speak at the grand opening of John R. Lewis College. As National Director of the NAACP’s Youth and College Division, he strives to train and mobilize youth across the nation in effective local, state, and national organizing tactics and tools to build political power. . Considered one of The complex life 32 Young Activists Changing the World,” Wisdom has been featured on NPR, VICE, NBC Washington News, The Brooking Institute, and The Economist as an advocate for youth electoral participation through the organization of issue-based campaigns.