To prevent the pandemic from stifling one of the California State University’s (CSU) most empowering outreach programs, CSU Dominguez Hills President Thomas A. Parham and other leaders recorded videos for churches across the state for the annual CSU Super Sunday. Played during virtual services at predominantly Black churches on Feb. 28, their messages pressed the importance and accessibility of a college education for young students of color.
For more than a decade, the CSU’s top leaders have delivered Super Sunday messages in person during services, reaching more than 100,000 churchgoers annually. The event is produced by the CSU African American Initiative – a partnership between campuses and Black religious leaders with the goal of increasing college-going rates among their parishioners.
Parham’s message was shared via Zoom with the congregation at Grant AME Church in South Los Angeles.
“I come today to bring the simple message: A college degree can bring life-changing, transformative opportunities for you, for your family, and for your community,” he said. “It was brother Malcolm [X] who reminded us that, ‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.’”
Parham continued, “His assertion invites us to interrogate further what you are doing today to ready yourself for the college education process of tomorrow. It’s never too early to prepare for college, or too late to return.”
Tony Little, director of CSUDH’s Male Success Alliance, and Khaleah Bradshaw, associate director of external and community relations, also recorded virtual messages for Super Sunday. Little addressed the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, while Bradshaw spoke to the congregation at Glory Christian Fellowship International in Carson.
Little addressed some of the challenges the CSU system and the nation have faced during COVID-19.
“Together we face a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, tragic instances of racial injustice, and deepening division among Americans from coast to coast,” Little said during his video message. “But I want to share some joy with you today. Our 23 CSU campuses have not only endured, but have thrived. We have successfully transitioned to online instruction to protect our students health and safety, and to keep as many students as possible on track to their degrees.”
Bradshaw has been involved in Super Sunday for the past 12 years.
“It warms my heart to see Super Sunday continue to grow, even during these challenging times,” said Bradshaw. “Today, most of us here in the California State University system have dedicated our lives to passing the gift of a quality education on to you, to your children, and your children’s children.”