Mark Brown and Amanda Thomas, hosts of GRC's Fresh Perspectives podcast sit on stage with a green, red, and yellow background. Godfrey Drake, GRC men's basketball coach, is behind them.

Equity Statement

The Green River College Promise:

We commit to be an anti-racist institution where all students, faculty, and staff receive the access, resources, and services needed to achieve their educational, career, and personal goals. Green River College makes social and economic justice, equity, and inclusion our highest priorities.

The Green River College definition of equity encompasses all identities, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, economic status, gender identity, sexual identity, disability, religion/spirituality, immigration status, age, and culture. We understand individual needs vary widely, and the effects of discrimination and historical oppression must be taken into account while aiming for equitable opportunities and outcomes for all.

Let this be a call to action to all members of the Green River College Community: everyone must contribute to this on-going effort to achieve equity for all.

Black Excellence at GRC

During the month of February, we commemorate Black History Month, recognizing the enduring contributions, leadership, activism, and resilience of Black and African American individuals both past and present within Green River College, SE King County, and the nation.

While Black History Month is observed nationally annually, Black history is American history and members of the Black community at GRC make a difference every day of the year.

Kit Alson, interim VPEDI

Meet Cathy "Kit" Alston

Interim Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Cathy “Kit” Alston was recently announced as interim Vice President of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. She first joined Green River College in 2017 as the Director of Workforce Education. Since 2020, she has serve as Dean of Transitional Studies and Wellness and Health Science, Wellness & Education Divisions. Prior to GRC, Kit worked at South Puget Sound Community College, Hopkinsville Community College and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Kit recently shared her journey to GRC and how she found inspiration along the way as part of our 2024 Women's History Month Q&A series.

Read more from Kit

Building an Umoja Community at GRC

In support of being an anti-racist institution, Green River College is applying to be a member of the Umoja Community. If successful, GRC would be the 4th such program in Washington State.

Umoja (Ooo-moe’-jah), a Kiswahili word meaning unity, is a community and critical resource dedicated to student success through enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. Umoja Communities serve more than 5,000 students annually, with more than 70 colleges participating nationally.

“Bringing Umoja to GRC is a huge statement about our support for our Black and African American students,” Katrice Cyphers, co-chair of GRC’s Black Caucus and project lead for Umoja, said. “It says, ‘we see the data of how we’re not recruiting or retaining Black students’ and that we’re willing to do something about it.”

Through its community-based design, Umoja connects students and community members to share the cultural and educational experiences of African Americans and other students.

Learn more about the Umoja Community at GRC

Godfrey Drake, GRC's mens basketball head coach, and players

Coach Godfrey Drake nets 100th win with Green River College basketball

Green River College’s Godfrey Drake reached a career milestone after earning his 100th victory as the Gator’s head men’s basketball coach, making him the fastest coach in GRC’s men’s basketball history to reach 100 wins.

But as the shot clock ran down in GRC’s recent 87-58 victory over Centralia College on Jan. 27, 2024, Coach Drake’s focus was on his team’s performance rather than any records.

“I honestly wasn’t paying attention to that record until a parent brought it up to my attention,” Coach Drake said. “It caught me off guard and took me back to the beginning and just how much the team had to buy in to get here.”

In his six seasons leading the Gators, Coach Drake has guided the team to three NWAC Championships and is on their way to a fourth, an impressive turnaround from his first season at GRC in 2017 when the program finished 4-10 in the Northwest Athletic Conference and 6-22 overall. But for Coach Drake, victory on the court wasn’t the only way to win as a team.

Learn more about Coach Drake's journey to success

Fresh Perspectives Podcast

Hosted by Amanda Thomas & Mark Brown

Green River College's Black Caucus presents the Fresh Perspectives podcast. This podcast explores the topic of race-related experiences in our culture from diverse perspectives. Hosted by GRC's very own Amanda Thomas, Director of Workforce Education, and Mark Brown, Director of Learning and Innovation, Fresh Perspectives focuses on Black Love/Self Love, current events of Black Higher-Ed, and the experiences of Black students, faculty and staff within our college community.

Fresh Perspective has received regional and national honors for outstanding achievement in design and communication at community and technical colleges from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR), which represent more than 1,700 members from nearly 650 colleges across the United States and Canada.

Fresh Perspectives was awarded a silver Medallion Award by NCMPR District 7 in Nov. 2023 and being a finalist for the 2024 Paragon Awards, which will be announced at the NCMPR National Conference on March 18, 2024.

Follow Fresh Perspectives

Carter G. Woodson portrait

What is Black History Month?

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALF), the story of Black History Month begins in Chicago during the summer of 1915 when Carter G. Woodson traveled from Washington, D.C. to participate in a national celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois. Thousands of African Americans travelled from across the country to see exhibits highlighting the progress their people had made since the destruction of slavery.

As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.

By the time of Woodson's death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. At mid–century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all colors on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first Black History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued Black History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of Black history all year.

(Excerpt from an essay by Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University, for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, read more).