In 2020, CCA celebrates a 50 year commitment to the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, indigeneity, and the perspectives and experiences of people of color.

In 1969, Sarah Fabio spoke to the Student-Faculty Institute regarding integrity, "It seems that CCAC or any school, art schools included...should have some responsibility to the needs of the people—all the people, including racial minorities." By the end of 1970, the college had created a Division of Ethnic Studies and an Institute of Black Studies.

Michael Wright, a former student at San Francisco State during the Third World Strike of 1968, was hired by the college as professor of Black History in 1969. Shortly after, in May 1970, Wright submitted a resolution to the Academic Council that the college establish a Division of Ethnic Studies that would include a Black Studies Institute. After much negotiation the college's Academic Council voted to approve the resolution, establishing the college as the only art institution with programming based in Ethnic Studies in 1970.

In 2020, CCA is again the only arts and design college in the US with a designated program based in the discipline of Ethnic Studies. The newly renamed Critical Ethnic Studies (CES) program builds on decades of work. The recent change from Diversity Studies to Critical Ethnic Studies, led by current CES Chair Shylah Hamilton, expands the "move away from multiculturalism, which centers the white experience, toward the Critical Ethnic Studies model in which the marginalized are at the center of discourse (and) allows us to realign ourselves with a discipline, to grow and include the voices of globally silenced peoples.”

At a time when widespread social and political change is being called for, when systemic racism is being challenged, when cis-normative, imperialist, capitalist, white supremacist patriarchy is being critically examined, and when a global pandemic is forcing us to rethink community and identity, we all have work to do. Let's celebrate the college's long investment in this work and also honor being in a moment when the work is not yet done.