OUSD hosts popular 'Coffee With a Black Guy' founder James Joyce III at community forum


The community is invited to join James Joyce III of Santa Barbara, via Zoom, for “Coffee With a Black Guy” on Wednesday, Feb. 24, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The online gathering is part of an Ojai Unified School District series on inclusion and equity in schools.

To sign up to participate in the free online meeting, visit

Those who would like a translation service for the meeting are asked to email OUSD Superintendent Tiffany Morse at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Joyce, of Santa Barbara, founded his unique program in 2016 ( to bring together people from all parts of the community to have frank conversations about race and racism. The former aide to state legislators announced earlier this month that he is running to be mayor of Santa Barbara.

The program is hosted by Ojai Unified School District, which received a $20,000 grant last year as part of the state education September 2020 “End Hate” initiative to combat bias, bigotry and racism.

View news releases about the program at and and Dec. 4, 2020 OVN article.

This is the second of a series of OUSD "Engage to Impact: A Place at the Table" community meetings focused on “cultural proficiency.” It is organized by the “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion” branch of a school district advisory group formed in November 2019 called the Guiding Coalition

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While there are many definitions of “cultural proficiency,” they boil down to awareness of cultural influences on how we think and act.

 The outlined goals for the first “Engage to Impact: A Place at the Table” meeting on Jan. 18 were to:

"— Develop a common language and framework to increase our equity literacy skills.

"— Share strategies for effectively engaging

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challenging conversations across difference.

"— Clarify the role we all play in creating an inclusive and equitable school community where all students can blossom to their full potential."

At that meeting, Matthew Bolano, director of equity and inclusion at The Thacher School in Ojai, provided a slide show on diversity, equity and inclusion, with the following definitions:

Diversity refers to:

“• Representation and all the ways we differ.

“• In a school community context, we are referring to social identity representation along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age (dis)abilities, spiritual/religion, political beliefs and more.

“— Inclusion occurs when all community members are empowered, encouraged and free to bring their whole authentic selves ’to the table,' in order to create a community where all members can thrive and blossom to their full potential through a shared value of the richness of diverse ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives.

“— Equity involves a redistribution of resources and access and, according to the National Equity Project, ‘is the state that would be achieved if how one fares was no longer predictable by any social, cultural or economic factor.’”

Bolano's slide show can be downloaded from:

Another link provided at the Jan. 18 meeting is to a New York Times article on Smith College Professor Loretta J. Ross, who taught a popular class about combating cancel culture:

Members of the Guiding Coalition in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion group are:

Lori Hamor, Jessica Mendiola, Catherine McKinnis, Bronwen Cull-Michaels, Kara Hooper, Alex Mejia-Holdsworth, Delores Johnson, Lisa Griffiths, Sheri Usher, OUSD Trustee Jane Weil, Shannon Hull, Kelly Stone.

To view the introduction to the Jan. 18 Engage to Impact: Place at the Table meeting, visit:






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