UC Davis chancellor and his mom speak candidly about race, role models and today's concerns
As Black History Month comes to a close, UC Davis Chancellor Gary May posted a video in which he honors his mother and addresses past and present race struggles, integration and his own experiences in overcoming prejudices.
"My mom was among the very first African Americans to integrate the University of Missouri.," the chancellor wrote in a Facebook post with the UC Davis-produced video. "She modeled determination in ways I will never forget."
Not lost in the timing of the video, posted on Tuesday. Women's History Month begins on Thursday.
May speaks about overcoming a personal humiliating experience that happened to him as a young boy at a mostly white school.
"I think that was my first time sort of realizing, acknowledging, feeling, understanding that I was different from the other kids," he said.
His mother, Gloria May, also talks about the history of racism from her perspective.
"Sometimes I see a repetition of some of those things and that's why I'm very concerned about the climate today."
May was the engineering dean at Georgia Tech when he was selected as the seventh chancellor of UC Davis by the Board of Regents last year. He replaced Linda P.B. Katehi.
"You know, nobody is born racist or prejudiced - you have to learn that. And if you can learn that, you can also learn not to be. And so I'm hopeful that UC Davis, in particular, is a place where people learn to be tolerant of each other and learn to accept one another and uphold the principles of community," May says in the video.