Pasadena Sister Cities Committee for Dakar-Plateau will kick off its Zoom speaker series with Dr. Donald E. Grant of Pacific Oaks College from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, September 10.

Grant will discuss “Breaking Historical Cycles by Building Bridges.” To RSVP, contact Lena Kennedy at lkennedy@llkassociates.com or 626-765-6206.

According to the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee for Dakar-Plateau, many Americans believe the history of race in America began when the first enslaved people arrived in America from Africa in 1619. However, history demonstrates this is false and supports a dangerous narrative. For Pasadena Sister Cities Committee’s and Dakar-Plateau’s new relationship, understanding the history of anti-black racism in America is important.

“I was asked to participate in this discussion with the understanding that this is the first relationship Pasadena has had with a Sister City on the continent of Africa,” Grant said.

“There’s value in discussing concepts related to anti-black racism, and how it plays out in the building of relationships. When we talk about the history of race in America—and looking at the arrival of those who were enslaved—it’s important to understand that we often times forget there is a serious thought process of people who existed prior to those who were enslaved. I believe, and research demonstrates, that a part of the narrative of oppression is related to the identification of one’s origin.”

Grant will review this history to help the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee and the public understand how to best advance the synergies created by the committee and country’s relationship.

Grant said he believes that given the recent historical events, Americans should work on dismantling the oppression that creates trauma.

Pasadena Sister Cities Committee’s purpose is to create and strengthen partnerships between Pasadena and international communities.

Membership is open to the public and there are three categories: regular, student and honorary.

Regular members have full voting rights and are eligible to hold office and receive all PSCC communications. Full-time students may submit an application for approval. Memberships are $10.

Honorary members are voted in and they are entitled to vote or hold office.

For more information, email pscc2014@gmail.com.

An international speaker and author, Grant earned a doctorate in clinical psychology and serves as executive director of Mindful Training Solutions and Pacific Oaks College’s Center for Community and Social Impact.

Grant penned the book “Black Men, Intergenerational Colonialism and Behavioral Health: A Noose Across Nations.”

“When we talk about historical oppression and when we talk about the demographics of Pasadena, it’s really valuable that we have open dialogue,” he said.

“This specific Sister City relationship is a real opportunity for Pasadenians and members of diverse communities all across Los Angeles County to really have a model that shows all of the future benefits. I want to be able to honor the fact that we are finally paying attention very critically to the contributions of African Americans.”