Black History Month Q&A: Robert Shields
Riverside, Calif. (Feb. 24, 2023) – In honor of Black History Month, we are highlighting staff and faculty members who are a pivotal part of California Baptist University and embody what it means to Live Your Purpose every day.
Dr. Robert Shields, associate professor of computer information technology and director of curriculum development (online), said as a Black member of Lancer Nation he seeks to share culture and to inspire others to be their authentic selves.
We asked him what Black History Month means to him and how that plays a critical part in how he lives his purpose each day.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
During Black History Month, we acknowledge the creativity, culture, hard work and triumphs of people within the African diaspora around the world, including African Americans. As a descendant of African people stolen from their native land and enslaved in North America, I acknowledge the courage and resiliency of my ancestors in the face of death, oppression and brutal treatment. Black History Month is also a time for African Americans to review their past, reflect on their achievements and plan for future progress. By acknowledging and knowing this part of American history, we can work to prevent history from repeating itself.
Who has served as an inspiration to you?
My dad recently gifted me a memoir of his life. My father overcame many obstacles as a Black civil engineer and leader in county government. He has always been a devoted father and excellent role model. I am inspired by his life and his dedication to our family.
Why is it important that we celebrate Black History Month?
It is important to acknowledge the struggles and contributions of Africans and African Americans during the month of February and all year long. For example, many may be unaware of the critical roles that African Americans have played toward the formation of the United States of America. By acknowledging the truths of our past and committing ourselves to the eradication of racism, we can move forward as a society toward racial healing and the construction of more equitable systems.
How do you live your purpose in your role at CBU?
I seek to show CBU students that God is the source of every good thing, including technological innovation. As a Black member of the CBU family, I also seek to share my culture and inspire others to be their authentic selves. Let’s prepare our students to be shining lights in a dark world while using their diverse gifts and perspectives to solve problems.