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Love Library hosts diversity advocate

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Love Library hosts diversity advocate

Photo courtesy of Jessica Savalla

Photo courtesy of Jessica Savalla

Photo courtesy of Jessica Savalla

by Jasmine Bermudez, Senior Staff Writer

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The San Diego State Love Library hosted a talk on Feb. 16 featuring the first black woman to sit on San Diego’s Unified School Board of Education, Dorothy Smith.

Love Library Media Officer Jessica Savalla said Smith was invited to speak at SDSU because they wanted to celebrate her achievements.

“She was instrumental in breaking down a lot of the segregation and unfair rules that were happening in San Diego education in the schools,” Savalla said. “Dr. Smith helped write new policies to make education equal for all students.”

Savalla said hearing talks like Smith’s is great for students because it helps them get inspired to make changes for themselves.

“Dr. Smith gives students an example of how you they can identify problems and figure out solutions,” she said.

English junior Kayla Kindred said Smith talked about the different policies that she has tried to change, and how driven she is about motivating students and minorities to get an education.

“She was really an advocate for minorities to learn and providing the tools they need to be successful,” Kindred said.

Kindred said it was important Smith shared her experiences with the SDSU community.

“As a minority I don’t see that much representation here on campus,” Kindred said.

Kindred said she sees Smith as a role model.

“She is an African American woman and so am I,” Kindred said. “If she paved the way, so can I.”

Hospitality major Lorena Miranda said Smith inspired her.

“I feel like sometimes I have so much going on in life that I forget about how important learning is, and I don’t go to class and I’ll dread waking up in the morning,” she said. “She gave perspective on how important education is.”

Miranda said she doesn’t think everyone realizes what minorities have gone through to get where they are today, and that they should cherish their education.

“I did not even know half of the things they had implemented that were an issue back in the day,” she said. “I think we take advantage of what’s given to us and having her here helped us remember that.”

After the talk, students were led to the special collections department of the Love Library where University Archivist Amanda Lanthorne pulled curated selections of African American history for an open house.

“I wanted to make sure that students got to see the range of materials we have relating to African-American history and social movements,” Lanthorne said.

Special Collections staff member Lucas Vuresch said special collections contains pieces of African-American history ranging from the 1800s to now.

“We are in the classroom so much,” he said. “Hearing from someone who is still alive and talking about how that person addressed problems and then looking at these archival things brings it to life.”

SDSU Outreach Librarian Gloria Rhodes said Smith’s message was spot-on.

“Dr. Smith is just a wonderful mentor, friend and advocate for all things good,” she said. “She got here, saw a need and went to work.”

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