To ensure that Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) are inherent throughout Schoolcraft College’s framework, the college selected Christopher Hunter as its Director of Equity and Engagement. He reports directly to President Glenn Cerny, and his first day on the job was last Jan. 10.
Christopher’s passion for fighting for justice is fueled by his own life experiences and his parents’ experiences. His mother and father were born in the 1930s. They endured Jim Crow laws in Mississippi, then redlining and institutional racism when they came to Detroit in the 1950s.
“Although I always felt my purpose was to bring social change, I fed on their experiences, wisdom and pain,” said Christopher. He grew up on the northeast side, attending Detroit Public Schools and graduating from Osborn High School in 1997. He then furthered his education at Wayne State University (WSU).
“Through the outstanding mentorship from my Dean of Students, Phillip Carrington, I attended Wayne State University, earning my bachelor’s degree with dual majors in Political Science and Africana Studies,” Christopher added. “It was there where I activated my calling to advance systemically minoritized students. My work in IDEA began with the TRIO Educational Talent Search Program under Dr. Charles Green, Jonas Hill, and Dr. Allia L. Carter, now the Executive Vice President and COO for Virginia Union University.”
After graduation, Christopher worked with a host of youth-serving and community outreach organizations. Those included Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, the Harriet Tubman Center, Don Bosco Hall, and C2 Pipeline at WSU. He, then, landed at Oakland University’s (OU) Center for Multicultural Initiatives (CMI).
Christopher credits the leadership of CMI Senior Director Omar Brown-El and OU’s Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer Glenn McIntosh. He said they prepared him for his new role at Schoolcraft College. For him, the opportunity to make a genuine difference during these difficult times was especially appealing.
THE INSPIRATION FOR BRINGING ACTION TO IDEAS
“In the 1960s, the world saw the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., among many others,” Christopher said. “This 2020s, the world still sees the assassinations of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd done with the same ill-minded hatred 60 years ago.
“There are also attacks against the Latinx, LGBTQ+ and Asian communities. The indigenous Americans, whom we still disrespectfully refer to as ‘Indian’ and to whom all this land rightfully belonged, don’t reap the benefits. Women are still fighting for equal opportunities and fair wages.
“Let’s not forget that in 2022, not 1952, we are still fighting voter suppression that targets Black and Brown communities. As Malcolm X said, ‘We have to go to the root, we have to go to the cause, dealing with the condition itself is not enough.’ The root of systemic injustice began in this land in 1492.
“Reeducation or re-understanding needs to occur to break humankind’s inhumanity towards humanity. We must dismantle the institutions of racism and hypocrisy in America to heal and advance our communities. This position, like the one I left to come here, lays the groundwork for that paradigm shift.”
If you want to find Christopher, his office is likely the last place to see him. Instead, he’s out on campus getting to know Schoolcraft College students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members on a one-to-one basis.
“I am excited to work with people of all identities at Schoolcraft College and the surrounding communities to drive change,” Christopher said. “Dr. Cerny gets it. He is passionate about seeing change in Schoolcraft’s culture.” Christopher explained that Dr. Cerny assembled a Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Task Force made of extraordinary leaders.
Shifting great ideas into concrete actions drives Christopher. He said he appreciates his wife and daughters for sharing with him the rest of the world and empowering his purpose in his work.
JOB NO. 1 FOR THE NEW DIRECTOR
“Job 1 is assessing the needs and opportunities by meeting with students, faculty, and staff to understand their experiences and respond with action,” Christopher added. “They are essential to the growth and success of Schoolcraft College. It means creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed and included — making sure there is representation in every aspect of this great institution.”
He said Schoolcraft College has amazing programs, and that his focus also on increasing efforts excluded populations for all students. He also wants everyone to know he is everyone’s advocate.
“I’m here to serve you, and I’m here to fight for you,” Christopher said. “Change is coming, but it will be a marathon and not a race. The mission of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access must involve everyone to guarantee its success. You will see me, and I want to hear your ideas when you do.”
To learn more about Schoolcraft College, please go to schoolcraft.edu