Black History Month Staff Spotlight: Jabari Lewis

In honor of Black History Month, Lamar University will celebrate with a series of events organized and sponsored by a variety of organizations, departments, clubs and student organizations that highlight and pay tribute to the achievements of African Americans and important events that contributed to U.S. history.

In addition to university events, LU also chose to celebrate Black excellence by spotlighting several Black LU students, faculty and staff and the many reasons why they feel this month is important.

This Black History Month, Jabari Lewis, fitness and student development coordinator, shares what motivates him to be successful.

First/last name: Jabari Lewis
Current Title: Fitness and Student Development Coordinator
Department: Recreational Sports
Why does it feel important to celebrate Black History Month? 
I believe it is extremely important to celebrate Black History Month for several reasons. One reason to celebrate Black history is that it brings a spotlight to our past, present and future. Another reason why to celebrate Black History Month is to be able to learn about the many success stories that affect our everyday life.
What motivates you to be successful?
I believe student development is at the core when it comes to what motivates me to be successful. Throughout my time at Lamar University, I have been able to engage students with opportunities to develop. For example, being able to provide opportunities through physical activity, sports programs and employment opportunities to develop transferrable skills.
How long have you worked in higher education and what are you most proud of as a Black individual in your career field?
 I have been working in the field of higher education for the past six years: two years as a graduate assistant and the last four years in my current role as a coordinator. As a Black male in higher education, I am most proud of being able to provide a sense of community, provide wellness opportunities through campus recreation, mentor students and specifically mentor Black students. Being able to see a familiar face brings a sense of belonging, especially in my experience as an undergrad at a large institution like (Sacramento State).
How does Black history influence your professional or personal life?
 Black history influences my professional life to lead by example and to give back to the Lamar University community through mentorship and supporting students.
What advice do you have for the generations of Black students coming after you?
The advice I have for the generations of Black students after me is to be open-minded, take advantage of the opportunities that are offered, be involved as much as possible on campus and utilize all the support services that are available.   

Did you learn anything new about history in the Black community this year? (this could be personal or broader in a historical sense)
 I learned that in my home state of California, a city called Allensworth was the only California community to be founded, financed and governed by African Americans in 1908.