July 14, 2024 7:45 am

Black Scholars Fund Launched to Support Glendale Students

Black in Glendale has officially launched a fundraising campaign for the Black Scholars Fund, aimed at providing scholarships to Black graduates of Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) starting in 2025. Funds raised will be sent directly to the accredited colleges or universities that the students attend.

Tanita Harris-Ligons, founder of Black in Glendale, emphasized the fund’s commitment to action. “We’re putting our money where our mouths are,” she stated. “We are doing something about it.”

Ingrid Gunnell, Vice President of the Board of Education, was instrumental in initiating the project. As a mother of two Black GUSD alumni, she noticed the lack of programs and scholarship opportunities dedicated to the Black community, unlike those available for other groups. Gunnell recalled thinking, “Where are the events for Black students? Where is the programming? Where is the support?”

Harris-Ligons agreed, stating, “Just because they’re the smallest group in Glendale schools doesn’t mean they should not get any attention, any accolades or anything set up for them like a scholarship fund.”

Gunnell, after getting involved with Black in Glendale, proposed the idea of a Black Scholars Fund to its members and met with the Community Foundation of the Verdugos in January to facilitate the fundraising effort. “I wanted to start this scholarship because I believe our Black students need to have something targeted for them that lifts them up,” she said.

Both Harris-Ligons and Gunnell stressed the importance of uplifting Glendale’s Black community, considering the city’s history as a sundown town. While Harris-Ligons appreciates the City Council’s 2020 resolution acknowledging the city’s racist past, she believes true impact comes from action.

Mayor Elen Asatryan announced at a Tuesday council meeting that she would request an agenda item for the city to sponsor the Black Scholars Fund with a donation of at least $5,000. With the fund still in its early stages, having just been launched on Juneteenth, Harris-Ligons is exploring ways to engage the community. She plans to create unique events to promote the fund and Black culture, potentially partnering with glendaleOUT and the Glendale Latino Association.

Currently, the fund is for Black GUSD students only, but Gunnell mentioned the possibility of expanding to private schools if there is sufficient community support. Harris-Ligons highlighted the positive nature of the fund, saying, “The idea that students can actually see that there’s a scholarship fund for Black students, that says something and it means something.”

To donate to the Black Scholars Fund, visit bit.ly/4c52Dtl.