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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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Rachael Stewart, Brandon Gamble and Tonika Green receive a proclamation plaque from San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher recognizing SDSU's BRC. (Robson Winter, SDSU Associated Students) Rachael Stewart, Brandon Gamble and Tonika Green receive a proclamation plaque from San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher recognizing SDSU's BRC. (Robson Winter, SDSU Associated Students)

San Diego County Proclamation Celebrates SDSU’s Black Resource Center on 5th Anniversary

County Supervisors recognize the BRC for its promotion and development of Black student life at SDSU.
By Nandi Maunder

“Hey, family!"


Those are the first words you hear when you first enter San Diego State University’s Black Resource Center (BRC), spoken by Director Brandon Gamble as he walks to his office or is heading out to a meeting. 


At any given time, students are laughing, planning events, studying, or just hanging out while they wait for their next class. Music plays on the TV, sometimes sparking serious debate or an impromptu concert on crowded days. 


It’s been five years since BRC opened its doors as a haven for Black thought and a foundation for leadership and excellence. On Tuesday, San Diego County’s supervisors issued a proclamation recognizing the BRC.


“Be it proclaimed by Chairwoman Nora Vargas and all members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors on this 28th day of February 2023 that they commend the Black Resource Center at San Diego State University for outstanding service, leadership, and commitment to the community, and do hereby declare this day to be the ‘Black Resource Center at San Diego State University Day,” the proclamation reads.


“When we as Black people have an opportunity to collaborate and our own place to congregate, it builds into our mindset the promotion of Black excellence,” said then-Associated Students president Chimezie Ebiriekwe at the time of the center's opening in 2018.


For current Associated Students President Shawki Moore, “nowhere else on campus” can Black students and staff be “authentically Black” together and connect with those around them like in the BRC. 


“Once somebody feels safe on campus, you see their genius, their art start to come out, and that is the brilliance of the Black Resource Center,” Moore added, reflecting on the tight-knit community the BRC facilitates on campus. 


Family more than anything is exactly what the BRC has given its students, serving as the core of Black student life and leadership. 


The BRC is hosting an event to close Black History Month to be held Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 4-6 p.m. at the BRC. The event, “Let the Poet Speak,” is an evening of spoken word performances, free food and lively company. The event honors the BRC’s achievements and the university’s commitment to the success and well-being of Black students on campus. 


“Even if you don’t remember everything in the BRC, and you just remember ‘I really felt that love,’ and the impact is there,” that would be enough for Donnae Prather, BRC interim assistant director. Prather is one of many involved in event planning and student engagement since 2020 when he joined the staff as a graduate student. 


“I want a constant flow of giving back, and paying it forward,” Prather said, highlighting how the BRC has become a fixture of Black life at SDSU because of the genuine support students can lean on when they need it, outside of academics.


One of Amari Jackson’s favorite BRC memories comes from his freshman year, when he was sick with a cold, and came in to take a nap. He awakened with a sick pack laying next to him, filled with cough drops, medicine, and other goods to help him feel better.


“It felt good to know people in the BRC care, and they notice when you’re not feeling well, and want to help you. I’ll never forget it,” said Jackson, a graduating psychology student. 


As the BRC continues to offer student support at all levels, the impact has reached not only current students but has also carried alumni through postgraduate life and opportunities. 


For Alexia Oduro, who graduated in May 2022 with a degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, the integral backing she received as an undergraduate has led her back to the BRC. Oduro currently serves as the Equity and Retention Trainee for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity at SDSU, mentoring students in the BRC. 


“I feel like I’m continuing the things that people did for me,” she said, “People uplifted me and now I am in the position to give that back and continue the cycle of giving back.”



Fifth Anniversary Celebration 

Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 4-6 p.m.

SDSU Black Resource Center

5723 Lindo Paseo, San Diego, CA 92115