SPC Promotes Unity and Diversity with NAACP and Local Artist

July 31, 2018

Public Information Officer


St. Philip's College is the only U.S. college engaging in recent consecutive years (2017, 2018) as educational partner for conventions that establish annual policies and programs of action for two of America's oldest and largest civil rights organizations.

NAACP is America's oldest civil rights organization and LULAC is America's largest Latino civil rights organization. The college supported a campus video viewed during the 2017 LULAC National Convention, celebrating the 30th anniversaries of the college's status as a Historically Black Colleges and Universities member institution and the college's Southwest Campus that is the hub of several globally recognized best practice workforce education and training programs. 

And while St. Philip's College hosted a campus tour for creatives from the NAACP's 2018 national convention in San Antonio, a mural commemorating "that Black and Brown communities stand together because our daily struggles and future liberation are tied together" was painted by a diverse team of up-and-coming creatives under the leadership of artist Yocelyn Riojas during that convention for inclusion in the 120-year-old college's archive.

The college hosted the top students of the Seattle-King County chapter's NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics program. The students visited after competitively performing in San Antonio in a bevy of categories ranging from fine art to STEM. Through the Bexar County Commissioner's Office and partners in the community, the students toured such Eastside San Antonio institutions as the college, Carver Community Cultural Center, AT&T Center and other city sites---The McNay, San Antonio Museum of Art and The Witte for its Ode to Juneteenth exhibition.

Once the students reached St. Philip's College, they learned of the college's timeline as a business, of President Emeritus Saint Artemisia Bowden and of its automotive technology program with alumni in demand as Ferrari, Firestone, Ford, General Motors and Audi employees.

Yvonne Benton is the advisor at the college who conducted the tour for NAACP visitors she had much in common with.

"I'm still reeling from the coincidence of the delegation being from my hometown," Benton said. "I volunteered to do it on the Thursday before the tour, with no special preparation or knowledge. I think I was able to connect the meaning of a historically Black and Hispanic serving institution to some individuals I know already come from a very multicultural environment, meaning they don't have institutions that are designated anything ethnically---they are just colleges. There are huge Asian populations, and there's no historic documentation of Black people specifically in Seattle's postsecondary environment at all. It doesn't exist. For them to come and see me---a girl from Seattle---enlightening them on my industry and how to select a college... it was a bit overwhelming, but very humbling for me. I had been contemplating taking my talents back to that environment. This was an opportunity to do that, but I didn't have to leave home. That was cool, for I saved $1,000---and I was able to touch a few lives. That's important for my hometown," said Benton.

Yocelyn Riojas is a Latinx designer, illustrator, and resistance artist passionate about empowering her community through creating a voice for people of color. Her art depicts themes of Latinx culture, women empowerment, and issues surrounding immigration. Texts from two of Riojas' Instagram posts below document her mural project themed Diversity is Resistance.

This week @jolttexas and I we will be painting this piece as a community mural at the @naacp National Convention in San Antonio to be installed at St. Philip's College. It's crazy to believe last summer I was doodling alone in my room and now within just one year I've grown so much as an artist all thanks to y'all.  ¡Te quiero mi gente!

Yesterday I got the opportunity to paint the mural "Diversity is Resistance" with the @naacp Youth College Division and @jolttexas to be installed at St. Phillips College in San Antonio. It is a statement that Black and Brown communities stand together because our daily struggles and future liberation are tied together. Thank you @tiffanydloftin and Derrick Johnson President of the NAACP for having us.

Find details on the Diversity is Resistance mural project at the artist Instagram pages, here | here | here.