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Kevin Powell’s Talk About the Hip-Hop Generation Inspires Merritt Community

25 September 2014

Kevin Powell at Merritt 9-23-14Facebook-Button

Many of the more than 250 students who filled the Student Lounge on September 23, along with other community members, to hear activist, writer, and public lecturer Kevin Powell speak on “The Toolkit for Educating the Hip-Hop Generation,” may have been lured by their instructors with promises of extra credit. But by the time they left the room, some long after the main presentation was over, extra credit was the last thing on their minds.

Powell’s inspirational remarks, which focused on numerous topics, challenged the audience to close the generational gap by understanding the history, elements, and power of hip-hop and to use it as a constructive force in our communities. After his talk, he vowed to stay in the room until he answered every last question and heard every comment.

For sophomore Michael Turner, who stayed nearly two hours after the talk, Powell’s remarks struck a nerve.

“He always kept coming back to connecting to the young audience in the sort of way we could understand on our day-to-day terms and what we are going through,” says Ferguson, who studies social sciences and plays on Merritt’s basketball team. “He told us to open up our minds and explore the different options in life. He played sports in school, too, but he said his mother took him to the library all the time and he discovered he wanted to be a writer. ”

In fact, Mr. Powell would go on to attend Rutgers University, become a senior editor of Vibe magazine, write articles for numerous national magazines, and author 11 books (with two more in the works). He has traveled and lectured in 48 of the 50 states and throughout the world. Based on his own experiences, one of his main points of advice to the audience was to, “Read, study, travel, be in a position of power, and love yourself. Because you can’t talk about a empowering the community if you don’t love yourself first.”

Lasana Hotep, Dean of Special Programs, and a longtime colleague of Powell’s, says that connecting with students is what his friend does best and what has made him such a popular speaker and author.

“Kevin Powell’s message was timely, and he spoke directly to some of the contemporary challenges faced by our communities, says Dean Hotep. “Merritt College truly benefited from having him to engage and inspire us.”

And it seems the feeling was mutual. Two hours after his talk was over, Powell was still in the room, talking to students, signing books, and having photos taken with whoever requested one. And the next morning the posting on his Facebook revealed what a memorable experience it was for him to get to know the Merritt community. In part, he wrote:

“Merritt College is truly a college for the people, all people. They are at various stages of life in this two-year college to pursue their dreams no matter what, and regardless of past hardships. The people of Merritt College lifted me up in more ways than they could imagine. They kept thanking me, but I must thank them for the reminder of why my life is dedicated to the service of others. Nothing makes me happier than helping people to help themselves. I was especially moved by the comments and questions, by the spirit and energy in the room as we discussed hip hop, community, race, racial identity and racism, manhood, violence, the prison-industrial complex, how we raise our children, and so much more. I need to salute Lasana Hotep, one of the most brilliant scholars we have in America, and a dean at the school, for bringing me to Merritt.”

–Susan May

Top: Kevin Powell (Photo credit: Barbara Dimopoulos)
(L-R) Instructor Jason Seals, Dr. Audrey Trotter, Kevin Powell, Debra Jacks, Lasana Hotep
(L-R) Kevin Powell with long-time friend and colleague Lasana Hotep.






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Merritt co-hosts Oakland Mayoral Candidates Forum on Jobs, Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

9 September 2014

Mayoral Forum

The candidates for Oakland mayor will be at Merritt College on Wednesday, October 1, from 6-8:30 p.m in the Student Lounge to give their perspectives on developing and sustaining our local economy. The event is free and open to the public. It is being co-sponsored by the BWOPA Oakland/Berkeley Chapter (Black Women Organized for Political Action), The Training Institute for Leadership Enrichment, and Merritt College.

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Merritt Celebrates Latin Heritage Month with Activities on October 7

9 September 2014

Join the Merritt College community on Tuesday, October 7, from 12:30 to 4 p.m., to celebrate, validate, and honor the important Latin historical contributions to the United States as part of Latin Heritage Month. Activities, including music, art food, danza, speakers, and soul  healing, will take place in the Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale Student Lounge, Room R-110. Latin Heritage Month is traditionally held from September 15 to October 15. The date of September 15 is particularly important because it is the independence anniversary for many Latin American countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Mexico’s Independence Day is on September 16 and Chile’s Independence Day follows on September 18.



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Find Out About Peralta’s Study Abroad Program

9 September 2014

If you’ve been thinking about studying abroad but have lots of questions about it, come to the Study Abroad Fair on Wednesday, October 1, from 11 am.-4 p.m., at Laney College’s Quad Area. You’ll get all of your questions answered and also have the opportunity to speak to former Student Abroad students who will be talking about their own experiences.

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New Priority Registration Campaign from California Community Colleges

8 September 2014



The California Community Colleges system has launched its new Step:Forward website to help students learn how they can get priority registration status. Along with the informational website, there are cool videos that show enthusiastic students talking about priority registration, orientation, assessment, and education planning. The videos can all be seen here. 

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Students Become Video Stars for the Day!

7 September 2014


September 4 was an exciting, star-studded day at Merritt campus as a 10-member video crew taped more than 30 students in multiple locations around campus (click here for more photos). Though you won’t see the video on MTV,  you will see it soon on the Merritt College website, especially if you are a new student. It will be the new, state-mandated online orientation that will give some students an option of going through the mandatory orientation on their computer  at their convenience. Thanks to Debra Jacks and Dean Lasana Hotep of Student Services for organizing and overseeing the comprehensive details of the shoot and to all the students (and some staff) who participated. Pictured above is Birhon Quizhpe, Puente student and ASMC Senator, see other photos below.

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Apply for Scholarships and Grants Available for the Fall

3 September 2014


More than a dozen scholarships and grants for students with a deadline of October 13  are being offered for the fall, it was recently announced by the Peralta Colleges Foundation.There are also Classroom Enrichment Grants available for faculty and staff. See the list in the flyer below. To apply and to see more information, go to There will be more scholarships in Spring 2015.
Fall 2014 JPEG anouncement of Scholarships

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Need More Units? Register for a Late-Start Class!

2 September 2014

Even though registration is over for full-term classes, there are still plenty of short-term classes to take from September to November. Just click here to see the entire list of classes (as of September 12). 20140515_Merritt_IMG_8011

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Parents Get Support from CalWORKs Program to Reach Academic Goals

27 August 2014

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Claire Crosetti, Merritt’s CalWORKs coordinator, assists new students at the program’s orientation while keeping their children busy. The program helps families with dependent children pursue their academic goals by providing case management services to students who are enrolled in classes and receiving public assistance so they can become self-sufficient in the workforce. To get additional information or to schedule an appointment, please go to the website or call MerrittWORKs at (510) 436-2651 or (510) 436-2469.

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Register Now for Late-Start Fall and Spring 2015 Medical Assisting Programs

16 August 2014

20140429-MerrittMedicalAssisting-006Enroll now for late-start Fall and Spring 2015 Medical Assisting classes. For the Fall, “Medical Assisting: Office Administration” is offered as a late-start class and will run from September 16-December 18. Registration is open up to the first day. For the Spring, registration is open from now through January 5 for: “Medical Assisting Training,” which runs from January 15-May 24, and registration is open from now until December 10 for  “Medical Assisting Office Administration, ” which runs from January 14-May 24. See flyers and application form by clicking here for the Medical Assisting website. 

For more information, call Jon Murphy at (510) 436-2611 or cell (510) 436-2611.



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