By Samiakin Allen/The Broadside
Meet Blakelee Evans, COCC’s newest afro-centric program coordinator and faculty member.
Blakelee received his undergraduate degree in the Humanities in Los Angeles. From there, he worked as an undergrad admissions counselor at Azusa Pacific University for about a year before accepting a new position as a Resident Director for a Humanities/Outdoor Education study away program.
Blakelee worked as an Academic Advisor during his time at the University of Denver, where he counseled students and acted as a liaison mediating any conflicts between staff and students.
Why did Blakelee come to Oregon specifically?
Blakelee said, “A friend of mine had invited me to come visit last summer, and when I went to climb Smith Rocks, I was sold!”
Avid rock climbers like Blakelee can understand the appeal of our various mountainous locations that Oregon has to offer as a reason to stay.
What is Blakelee’s favorite landmark here in Oregon?
“I gotta be cheesy! I love to write and read poetry, so I got to go with the symbolic route,” Blakelee said, “I love Brokentop. It’s so beautiful and I think that it symbolizes that anything broken can be beautiful.”
Blakelee moved to Bend last year and was quite happy to find out about the Afro-Centric position posted by COCC. He was overjoyed to once again get back into the field of Higher Education and focus specifically on equity work.
Blakelee plans to play a role in supporting and encouraging students, as well as providing resources and assistance in what they need.
What are Blakelee’s plans as the new Afro-Centric Coordinator?
“The biggest thing for me is to have food events, but it’s hard to gather around,” Blakelee said, implying that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, planning events like that will be difficult.
Food events aren’t the only thing that Blakelee has planned for the Afro-Centric community. During the upcoming month, which is Black History Month, many things are in motion. There will be a virtual program with Jelani Cobb, a Journalist from the New Yorker, which is included in this year’s Season of Non-violence. The virtual program will have presenters such as Mosley Wotta, Arielle Estoria, and Dr. Doug Luffborough throughout the event sharing their unique stories.
Resources that Blakelee offers are on his webpage found in the COCC’s Diversity & Inclusion page, where he includes links to organizations such as Embrace Bend, COBLAS (Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly), and Complex(ion) Online Magazine.
In coordination with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Blakelee hosts faculty-trainings on anti-racism practices and ways to apply anti-racism to your daily life.
Blakelee will assuredly bring great contribution to the Central Oregon Community College here in Bend, Oregon.