Community Scholars for Black Lives

On May 25, 2020, the world witnessed the modern day lynching of a Black man. His name, George Floyd, has been added to a litany of names of people who encountered similar fates. Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Rashard Brooks, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Meagan Hockaday are among the numerous Black lives lost to the use of deadly force by police and racially motivated acts of violence, oftentimes with no criminal repercussion.

Inspired by the challenge from North Central University to establish a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship, Cal Lutheran established the Community Scholars for Black Lives program to empower students to work in tandem with community leaders and create conditions for Black lives to flourish.

Through the Community Scholars for Black Lives program, two Cal Lutheran students will be engaged in work that embodies progress toward a just society where African Americans do not bear the brunt of racist structures and systems. The program features scholarship, mentorship, and community engagement.


Additional Insight about Community Scholars for Black Lives

The year 2020 brought the issue of race to the forefront on many different levels.  As students, you witnessed or heard about racial slurs and derogatory depictions of Black people on our own campus and while in the midst of working towards making Cal Lutheran a more welcoming place, the horrendous killing of George Floyd by police reminded us all of the gravity of racism in the U.S.  In response, millions of people have taken to the streets to rally for change, yet the number of people who lack understanding about the inequities confronted by Black people is daunting. Of those who do understand the issues, many feel helpless or hopeless. So where do we go from here?

Is your response to reflect, analyze, or do something? As an intellectual, your perceptions and responses to such moments are markers along your journey towards your personal development and growth. Where do you stand on issues? What will you do to ensure that you are able to thrive in a global society? As a scholar, these are times for you to critically examine the systems at play. As an emerging change agent, perhaps you have begun contemplating how you and your generation can work towards creating a more just society for people who are marginalized and dismissed.  We envision Community Scholars for Black Lives as individuals who embody all three, who utilize intellect and knowledge to bring about broader societal impact.

Community Engagement / Community Partners

Cal Lutheran has partnered with six organizations based in Ventura County that focus on the advancement of African Americans. Representatives from each organization will will weigh in on the selection of Scholars and will participate as advisors to Community Scholars. The Community Scholars for Black Lives program will further permeate the community as each organization awards scholarships to college-bound high school seniors.  Partner organizations are:

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Xi Iota Lambda Chapter
  • The Channel Islands Chapter of The Links, Inc.
  • NAACP Ventura County
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. – Psi Xi Chapter
  • Ventura County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Xi Kappa Omega Chapter.



Important Dates

Event Date
Application Period Opens July 27, 2020

Application Priority Deadline (applications accepted until positions filled)

September 20, 2020
Program Term October 2020 – April 2021

Application Webinar

Watch the video recording to lean more about the program and how to apply.


Community Scholars Benefits:

  • Fellowship Award in the amount of $5,000
  • Mentorship from faculty
  • Engagement with community organizations focused on African American progress
  • Travel funds to attend conference
  • Project budget up to $2,000
  • Recognition as Community Scholar
Community Scholars for Black Lives Program Goals
  1. Immerse students in activities and experiences designed to increase knowledge and strengthen skills toward improving the fate of the Black community
  2. Creatively raise awareness, educate, and train students and community members about systems and structures in need of change in order to alleviate oppression of Black people
  3. Increase interracial understanding and cooperation towards a just society for all, with an emphasis on justice for Black people
Student Eligibility
  1. Open to Cal Lutheran undergraduate and graduate students with at least one year of studies left prior to graduation
  2. Must be at least a sophomore during program year
  3. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or above

Must demonstrate evidence of interest in equity and justice: major or minor discipline, community service, demonstrated involvement in organizations focused on advancing racial justice or specifically focused on progress for African Americans


Community Scholars for Black Lives will be engaged in the following activities from October through April:

  1. Orchestrate a project that illuminates the issues of systemic racism and/or social structures that perpetuate oppression while posing potential solutions to these problems through projects that engage the Cal Lutheran and/or Ventura County community.
    1. Project Ideas:  Research paper, Community Forum, Speaker Series, Visual or Performing Arts, Educational Tour, Website, Film, Book Club
  2. Periodically meet with Mentors for guidance on project
  3. Participate in discussions and activities intended to increase understanding of issues impacting Black communities (i.e., community roundtable, contributions to Black Lives resource list,)
  4. Present oral reports of project outcomes at Cal Lutheran and at least one community forum
  5. Attend NAACP, NUL, CORE, or CBCF conference 
  6. Attend and be recognized during Cal Lutheran’s Black Graduation Ceremony

Questions? Send an Email 

How to Apply

Students who wish to apply to this program must submit the following materials:

  1. Completed application form
  2. Statement of purpose
  3. Project proposal
  4. Cal Lutheran transcript (unofficial transcripts are acceptable)
  5. Recommendation Letter

Submit Your Application


Statement of Purpose Essay Prompts

Write a single essay addressing the following prompts. Limit your statement to a maximum of three double-spaced pages, with 1-inch margins. Use Times New Roman or Arial, 12-point font.

  1. Share your educational background, involvement in campus organizations and community activities.
  2. What motivated you to apply to the Community Scholars for Black Lives program? Discuss how your participation in the program will help you achieve your goals.
  3. Describe your preparation for participation in the Community Scholars for Black Lives program as it relates to your education and experience.
  4. Discuss how the purpose of the Community Scholars for Black Lives program resonates with your own experiences or observations concerning issues disparately impacting Black communities, systemic oppression and racism.

Proposal Instructions

Limit your proposal to a maximum of five double-spaced pages, with 1-inch margins. Use Times New Roman or Arial, 12-point font.


  1. Summarize the purpose of your project
    1. What are the goals and objectives of the project?
    2. What are the outcomes (intended results) of the project?


  1. Why is there a need for this project?
    1. Include evidence/data that supports your statement of need


  1. Provide a description of the project.
    1. Describe the features of the project.
    2. Who is the intended audience?
    3. What is the timeline for major milestones in the planning and implementation of project
  2. Capacity
    1. What experience do you have with carrying out such a project?


  1. Include a line-item budget for your project
    1. Show how you arrive at your costs
Recommendation Letter

Submit one letter of recommendation from a Cal Lutheran faculty member.

  1. Contact your letter writer, tell the faculty member that you will be applying to the Community Scholars for Black Lives program (this should be your first step towards completing your application, thereby giving your recommender ample time to write your letter.)
  2. Send the name, email, title and department of your letter writer to In your subject line write: Reference Submission for (your name).
  3. We will send your letter writer an email with the instructions for writing and submitting your letter.
  4. Make sure you provide us with the name and email address of your recommender as soon as you begin your application.
Review Criteria
  1. The student’s motivation to become a Community Scholar for Black Lives is alignment with the purpose of the program (statement of purpose)
  2. The proposed project advances the goals of the Community Scholars for Black Lives Program
  3. The project is clearly explained
  4. The need for the project is clearly established with evidence
  5. Project activities and related work are realistic and achievable
  6. The timetable for major activities is realistic and likely to be attained
  7. The budget is realistic
  8. Applicant’s competence to carry out the project (academic achievement, educational background, experience)
  9. The letter from a faculty member strongly supports the student’s capacity and interest to achieve the goals of the Community Scholars for Black Lives Program
  10. The essay and proposal are free from distracting errors