One Book event focuses discussion on discrimination

Blake Burton, Reporter

Bakersfield College hosted a One Book event on Sept. 12 where they discussed discrimination.

BC Professor Paula Parks hosted the event. The focus of the event was civil rights and the injustice of being a student and in everyday situations.

Speakers Jeanie Hill and Robert Reader, both former BC students who became educators, talked about their lives,  how they grew up and the struggles they went through.

Hill explained how she was raised in the church and that she was a preacher’s kid and that had a lot of responsibility. She said while being raised up in the hood she gained communal sense and friendships.

“If you can look up, get up,” she said.

Robert Reader, Jeanie Hill, and Dr. Paula Parks sit at table and talk on Sept .12
Robert Reader, Jeanie Hill, and Dr. Paula Parks speak at One Book event on Sept .12 (Blake Burton )

Reader explained that growing up he didn’t really get to go to church. His mom passed away when he was 6 years old. When he was really young, he didn’t really know where to go. He said that the community or neighborhood raised him. The people he was raised with were good people with good habits which he picked up on. He worked in the cafeteria to have food to eat.
When he was in high school, he had teachers and counselors saying that he wasn’t cut out for college, and that’s what fueled him to work even harder to get into college and graduate.

“You can be who you want to be,” Reader said.

Hill said that she experienced discrimination when she ran for Miss Kern County and won. She didn’t receive any of the benefits that came along with it as the other participants she was running with. The other participants received scholarships and were even given clothes to move on to being Miss California. She explained even though she didn’t get support from the city or the event, she was given support by the church she was raised in. The people in her church even ran into their own closets to make sure that she had everything she needed.

Reader was discriminated against was when he and some friends went to eat inside of a restaurant. They were having a discussion and someone at a nearby table said that “these n-words are educated.”

Reader said people should,  “Put your brain in gear before you open your mouth.”

Student Aaron Beal said, “Some of the things they said sounded like it should be in a movie but hearing their stories provided more motivation to go forward in life and in school.”

Another student, Alexis Brown said, “It was very motivational and both speeches touched my spirit.”

Malachi Braxton agreed. He “felt really inspired after the event” and he was “very touched by the speakers.” He also said that this event would give him motivation to get through the rest of the semester.