Hands Across California
California’s community college system is the largest in the nation—112 colleges spanning the state and providing education and job training to nearly 3 million students every year. Yet every day, students struggle to pay for the cost of an education and face the difficult decision of giving up their educational dreams for lack of funds.
The Foundation for California Community Colleges partnered with Ken Kragen, architect of “We Are The World,” “Hands Across America,” and “NetAid,” to create a once-in-a-generation event that brought California together in support of community colleges and their students.
On April 17, 2011, just a month before the 25th anniversary of the original “Hands Across America,” which saw 6.5 million Americans join hands from California to New York in a continuous line through 17 states, Hands Across California created a unified statewide spectacle illustrating the impact of community colleges in the state. The event raised funds to benefit the California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment, creating vast public awareness of the value of our colleges to their communities and spawning unprecedented corporate partnerships, philanthropic investments, and community involvement supporting all of our colleges and students statewide. The Career Ladders Project team was in strong attendance!
The event was endorsed by Jonathan Lightman, executive director of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges. He described California’s community college campuses “as the world’s largest experiment in educational democracy.”
This event literally joined nearly all of the 112 community colleges in California in a vast statewide human line stretching from San Diego to Sacramento and reaching into the Inland Empire, Central Valley, and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles regions.
Hands Across California involved hundreds of people—students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and supporters of California’s community colleges—and stretched many miles across California.
Written by CLP Staff
Photos by Dan Figueroa