Leadership & Equity Academy

The purpose of the Academy is to engage select members of BC's faculty and staff to explore pressing issues of social justice as well as understand the underlying historical and current social forces that have contributed to the injustice and inequity we experience today.

Institute for Social Justice Kickoff

View full gallery online: Institute for Social Justice Kickoff photos, by Jason Kobely

About Leadership & Equity Academy

LEA Cohort 0 Members

Gerald Cantu

Dr. Gerald Cantu began his undergraduate studies at Bakersfield College in 1997. After earning an A.A. in History and completing the IGETC curriculum requirements, he went on to study philosophy at Cal. In 2010 he was conferred a Ph.D. in Philosophy by UC Irvine. After his grad studies he returned to Bakersfield and decided to pursue a life of practice, serving individuals at-risk for homelessness at a local non-profit and pursuing social justice as an intern at the Dolores Huerta Foundation and a political activist generally. More recently, he has complemented his practical work in the community with teaching as a part-time adjunct faculty at Bakersfield College.

“The pursuit of social justice first became an imperative for me after the voters of California passed Proposition 187, which aimed to deny health care and education to undocumented individuals. My reaction to this was visceral. My thought was that people who were just like me were being stripped of their dignity and the opportunities to better their lives. After some time I decided to attend college and become educated. At that point I became keenly aware of the importance of getting a head start in one's education: children need to be reared in an environment which values education, which provides the appropriate role models in the form of parents and teachers, and which supplies adequate educational resources. Equalizing education opportunities begins, therefore, by addressing economic justice among those of us who are on the lower rung of the economic ladder—those of us, in other words, who probably lack a college education; who have to work inordinately to make ends meet; who may be struggling to purchase basic necessities, such as shoes, that allow our children to attend school; and who could scarcely afford to send our kids to college."

Marcus Duarte Smith

Being raised a middle class biracial child, I was never couched into either racial culture - I ate tamales and candied yams indiscriminately - naively thinking I was just like any other kid; however, I gradually became aware of how much of a social fact my skin color would be in my experience of this world. Feeling the blunt reality that is race, I have sought to redress issues of inequality, oppression, and subjugation faced by all groups.

In thinking of social justice, my interests are as vast as the ocean and as deep as love. For me Social Justice is an action that we must all take part in during the 21st century. As we see the growing income inequality coupled with the automation of jobs, we must not only remedy past inequalities but prepare to address the coming. Through the social justice institute I believe we can truly improve issues of disparity within the County of Kern.

Attending UCSB and CSUB, I have a B.A. in Philosophy and M.A. in Sociology. Currently an Adjunct professor at Bakersfield College, I plan to develop into an effective instructor and valued community member.

Gloria Dumler

Gloria Dumler began her undergraduate studies at Bakersfield College in 1972, where and when she also began her first involvement with groups fighting for social justice. She was one of the original members of Sisterhood, Bakersfield College's first feminist student club, and was also part of a group of students who tried to get BC's administration to recognize an LGBTQ student group. She is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and helped to establish a local chapter in Bakersfield. Other organizations she belongs to include Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. She is on the board of the Kern County chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a national group “dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all.” She transferred from Bakersfield College to California State University, Bakersfield, where she continued her involvement in social justice groups and where she received her Master of Arts degree, specializing in both Literature and Composition. She returned to Bakersfield College as a faculty member in the English Department in 1992.

"As an educator, I believe that it is particularly important for me to help to promote a more just society, one that genuinely values diversity and challenges social injustice wherever it occurs. I want to live in a community and country where we all recognize that people share a common humanity and deserve an equitable allocation of resources. No one should face discrimination because of his or her race, cultural background, age, religion (or lack of religion), physical abilities, gender, gender orientation, sexual orientation, or any other classification people are subject to."

John Giertz

This is John's 26th year of teaching communication studies at Bakersfield College. He received his Ph.D. in communication and rhetoric from Regent University in 2005 focusing on the Lincoln Douglas debates.

He has served as the Director of Forensics, helping the college debate team win three national championships.

He has also brought important debates to Bakersfield College, including an evening featuring Occidental Petroleum representatives from L.A. and a member of an anti-development group representing the U'wa, an indigenous people of Colombia.

John has also been fortunate to receive scholarship opportunities from our own Levan Humanities scholarships and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Murad Zikri

Dr. Murad Zikri, is a Tenured Professor at Department of Business & Information Technology; Bakersfield College, he hold several degrees and specialized diplomas in the field of Financial Planning & Investments, with; a Bachelor degree in Economics, Two- Master degrees in Business Administration, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration.

Professor Zikri received several distinguished investment & financial planning credentials and he is a: Registered Financial Consultant (RFC); Certified Mutual Funds Specialist (CFS); Registered Financial Planner (RFP); Board Certified in Mutual Funds (BCM).

He is also a: Member of The American Association of University Professors; Member of The International Association for Financial Planning; and Member of The International Association of Registered Financial Consultants.

Dr. Zikri, is in demand “Lecturer & Keynote Speaker” at several International Financial & Economic forums in Dubai and England. He is also a financial consultant and guest speaker at several leading universities in US: such as University of Southern California, University of Redlands, and Chapman University. He taught for the last 15 years continuously at Edwards Air Force Base for the MBA program with dedication and pride, serving our military personnel. He is a nominee and a recipient of several distinction awards such as; Professor of the Year Award and Excellence in Teaching Awards for several years. He is a founder and advisor of Bakersfield Business Leadership Academy, and Bakersfield College Libertarians Club, a student's organization that promotes leadership, equality, freedom of speech and academic excellence.