Microsoft to Support San Antonio College’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Center
March 24, 2023
Funding supports programs that promote equal treatment, opportunity for all
Microsoft has awarded a grant to the Alamo Colleges Foundation that will help San Antonio College (SAC) advance the work of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Center (TRHT) on campus.
The center works to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate the SAC community’s unique cultures to confront racism and establish equity-minded practices.
The grant will fund several initiatives, including a scholarship fund for indigenous and Native American students; furnishings for the TRHT Campus Center; special events; the development of podcasts and collecting oral histories; creating an equity resource library; and artwork that commemorates the local Native American and Urban Native community.
“When we met with Microsoft, we told them about the services and support we offer and how this is an opportunity for us to really begin doing the work of equity through narrative change and the institutional transformation of truth-telling,” said Mona Aldana-Ramírez, Director of Student Success for Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence at SAC.
“Microsoft is committed to supporting the communities we operate in through strategic partnerships and hyperlocal projects that directly impact community needs,” said Alex Icenogle, Program Manager at Microsoft. “We are excited to work with leading institutions like San Antonio College to promote equity and inclusion in our society.”
The Microsoft grant helped SAC host a regional powwow of indigenous people on campus for the first time ever in February.
The grant will also support a new TRHT scholarship fund that is now under development. When Aldana-Ramírez met with a local Native and Indigenous group, she learned that of the many scholarships SAC offers students, there were none earmarked for this population. It’s an oversight that the Microsoft funding will help correct, she said.
“What truth-telling and narrative change allows us to do is to say we’ve discovered an inequity,” she said. “There are a lot of other things we need to uncover. That’s what TRHT is about.”
The grant will also fund events such as the observance of Native American Heritage Month on the SAC campus. While SAC hosts events for Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month, SAC honored Native Americans for the first time last November. TRHT Center staff also began planning events to mark Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“Racial healing and transformation builds relationships and understanding that there is this myth, this false hierarchy, that one group or set of people is more important than the other. This isn’t true,” Aldana-Ramírez said.
SAC’s TRHT Center was launched in January 2022 through a collaboration between the Alamo Colleges District and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). It’s one of more than 70 TRHT Centers across the country designed to prepare the next generation of leaders to break down systemic racism and dismantle belief in a hierarchy of human value. A dedicated physical space for the center is expected to open at SAC in 2024.
“One of the things that this center will do is ensure that all students are included and welcomed onto our campus,” Aldana-Ramírez said. “The events and activities that will come out of there will definitely offer a lot of opportunity for students to find the humanity in each one of us.”