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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

City College hosts second-annual Black graduates celebration

City College’s Black graduates gather for a photo during the second-annual celebration of Black graduates event held in the Student Center Building Thursday, May 2, 2024.
Nick Shockey
City College’s Black graduates gather for a photo during the second-annual celebration of Black graduates event held in the Student Center Building Thursday, May 2, 2024.

City College Panthers student support programs ASHÉ Center and Black Student Success held their second-annual Black graduation celebration party on May 2 in the City College Student Center. 


Congratulating their Black student graduates who will be graduating spring of 2024, the celebration consisted of music, food, raffle tickets to win prizes, dancing, and socializing with friends and family.


General counseling student support specialist Donnaven Bradley was one of many who helped put the event together and said, “I felt like the traditional Black culture needed to be appreciated [and] supported a little bit better to keep them pursuing their dreams and goals. I really wanted to be that voice to help them succeed at whatever they wanted to accomplish and keep going.”


When the event started, Bradley, the MC of the night, welcomed the family of Taylor McClure, a student who had died on Jan. 14, 2024 who was supposed to be there with the 2024 class of City College celebrating with her peers, family and friends.


Celebrate Black Graduates MC Donnaven Bradley (left) gifts the McClure family a candle in honor of Taylor McClure Thursday, May 2, 2024. McClure, a student who died January of this year, was supposed to graduate with the class of spring 2024. A blown-up photograph of Taylor was available for guests to sign and write messages on. (Nick Shockey)


Bradley had the family members stand, giving them all a front-row table and the crowd applauded and shouted in her memory. The family was honored with a scented candle with signatures of friends written on it, they then used a small electrical light to keep the candle lit and burning during the ceremony.


A group within the Black Student Union put on a routined step performance that they had created for the event. The group also did a second performance, but this time a poet came out and gave a poetry speech to go along with the step routine.


After the performance, there was a big photo shoot of the graduating class taken by Express Photo Editor Nick Shockey. After the photoshoot, the MC directed all graduates to line up to be served as they walked around the food table. There were servers serving greens, baked chicken, sausage, mac-N-cheese, ribs, and roast with a cup of punch to wash everything down. There was also salad and vegan food as well.


City College staff member Harold Williams along with his daughter Naturee and son Jaheim pose at a pop up photobooth during the City College celebration of Black graduates Thursday May 2, 2024. Attendees had the option to pick from an assortment of different hats and signage to pose with. (Nick Shockey)


While guests ate, there was still music playing and socializing going on all around the room. After dinner was served, Bradley called for a few words of encouragement and congratulations from the City College Panthers administration team. City College President Albert Garcia came up first to congratulate Black graduates upon completing their goals of graduating, followed by Director and Manager of Student Services Davin Brown who also gave Black graduates words of encouragement and congratulations.


The celebration was then open to people mingling around with each other and socializing and dancing on the dance floor. Francena McClure, the mother of Taylor McClure even took a shot dancing on the floor as she tried copying one of the graduates Isacc Petros.


Francena McClure dances with City College graduate Isacc Petros during the second annual celebration of Black graduates event held in the Student Center Thursday, May 3, 2024. (Nick_Shockey)


“I think the event was very creative and fun even though strangers to me are involved, it still felt good,” said Intrigue Moron, a graduate in psychology. 


When asked about her future plans, Moron said, “I do feel for right now, I am all schooled out. I am planning on getting back into autistic therapy and dealing with autistic kids. With what I know now in psychology, I want to get back into something I love doing and helping in a field that I love.” 


Criminal justice graduate Charnee Burgin also attended the event and said, “Very nice event with good vibes, this is my first time participating in a school event, but I did enjoy it.” Burgin plans to continue her studies at Sac State in the fall 2024 semester.


City College president Albert Garcia shares words of encouragement and congratulations during Thursday’s second-annual celebration of Black graduates event held inside the Student Center May 3, 2024. (Nick Shockey)


There will also be another celebration coming up on Friday, May 10, 2024 welcoming all 2024 graduates of the Los Rios Community College District to come out and continue the celebration with a Celebration of Excellence and Achievement for students of African Descent, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Center of Praise Ministries in Sacramento.


This will be followed by a City College graduation ceremony on May 16 at Hughes Stadium for the class of 2024.

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About the Contributors
Robert Jay Harris II
Robert Jay Harris II, Staff Writer
Robert enjoys covering sports, feature stories or anything news-related. Ultimately, he loves writing and hearing what other people have to say. Robert is a storyteller, video gamer and advocate for coffee people, and his favorite place to go is Starbucks.
Nick Shockey
Nick Shockey, Photo Editor
Nick’s passion for documentary-style photography grew out of the pages of his childhood National Geographic subscription. In his early thirties, this interest then fueled his passion for urban photography in Sacramento.
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