A friendly face at the door gives a warm welcome into a space resembling a living room. Music plays as people share food and talk, while others studying diligently.
For Kyler Nathan ’17, the Black Resource Center reminds him of being home. The family vibes drew him into the space as a freshman at UC San Diego, among the first students to use the newly opened community center in 2013. The need and purpose for such a space were made more than apparent after a series of racially motivated events in 2010 roiled the campus community—most notably the “Compton Cookout,” an off-campus party that used racial stereotypes to mock Black History Month. The public demonstrations and student outcry that followed came with demands for university administration to show greater support of diversity. Among the institutional changes effected was the creation of a formal space to cultivate community for the Black population at UC San Diego.
“The Black Resource Center, and all campus resource centers, are really important for students who come from underrepresented populations,” says Nathan. “I was raised in South Central Los Angeles, and I was always surrounded by black and brown faces. I was drawn to the Black Resource Center because I could see myself represented and just exist without a need for explanation.”
Before the space was established, Black students did not have a dedicated place to connect. Porsia Curry ’08, current director of the Black Resource Center, spent most of her time at the Cross-Cultural Center, yet it didn’t have enough room or resources to meet the specific needs of each marginalized community. She sought out the Black Student Union and joined the Student Affirmative Action Committee to make more connections with others.
“The Black Student Union was a great place to be in community, but we only gathered once a week,” explains Curry. “Now, the Black Resource Center is open all day, all week. And we have three full-time staff members who are dedicated to cultivating student belonging and success.”
The Black Resource Center today promotes scholarship, leadership and community for all while emphasizing the Black experience. Open to all students, faculty and staff, the center hosts numerous programs, from the Peer Guidance Program, designed to aid the academic, social and cultural adjustment of incoming first-year students, to Black Fridays, a weekly social to discuss Black culture. An internship program is also offered, designed to build leadership skills and experience in creating student retention programs.
Learn more at brc.ucsd.edu or connect with the Black Alumni Council: contact Paula Thomas ’87