Cañada College Celebrates Cultural Center Opening and Appointment of Director of Equity

Mon, 11 September, 2023 at 3:47 pm

Wednesday, August 16 marked a significant milestone in the Cañada College community with the opening of Cañada’s Cultural Center. The Cultural Center’s mission is to create spaces of healing, joy and critical engagement through learning, awareness and advocacy to empower the campus community to become culturally responsive advocates for justice and liberation. The Cultural Center is a testament to the resilience, determination and collective vision of Cañada College. It is a dedicated space on campus where voices can be amplified, identities celebrated and dreams nurtured. 

A group of students holding letters that form the word "Cultura" outside the new Cultural Center

Visitors to the Cultural Center are greeted by an array of colorful cultural fabric and art, including papel picado, a celebration of culture and identity woven into every delicate paper cut. The Cultural Center will be home to campus workshops, lecture series and meetings centered around culture, social justice and liberation.

The Cultural Center was packed with students, classified staff, and administrators on August 23 as they learned about the Japanese legend of the maneki-neko (welcome cat) and how this beckoning cat can be seen in front of homes and businesses all over the world today. David Johnson from the Cañada Facilities team shared his experience living in Japan. Participants shared their own cultural practices in gesturing for someone to join them and welcome people into their own spaces and homes. All participants painted their own maneki-neko and learned the history of mochi ice cream while eating the sweet treat. It was a fun and educational way to welcome people into Cañada’s new Cultural Center space! 

Director of Equity. Dr. Kealoha and a student wearing purple shirts holding food

As we gather within the walls of the Cultural Center, we honor the persistence of our students, the dedication of our administration and the transformative leadership that helped to create a space of diversity, empowerment and inclusivity. The journey continues, and with it, the commitment to shaping a brighter future for our campus community.

At the forefront of this new space is Dr. Michiko Kealoha, Cañada’s inaugural Director of Equity. Dr. Kealoha has committed 15 years of service to higher education, coupled with her advocacy for justice and liberation. In addition to leading the Center for Student Life and Leadership Development at Cañada College for the past 10 years, and serving as a Board of Directors member for multiple state and national educational organizations, she was an active leader in creating Cañada’s Cultural Center, the College’s Equity and Antiracist Planning Council (EAPC) and building college planning and programming around equity and antiracism. Dr. Kealoha has also served as an adjunct professor at both Cañada College and University of San Francisco, and has published multiple works on liberatory praxis and bias response.

We invite the campus and greater community to stop by to visit the Cañada College Cultural Center in Building 17, Room 107. 

Event attendees posing for a photo inside the Cultural Center

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