The 1-minute, 58-second video is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yITodD_xUQE and available this weekend at the SCC website, www.solano.edu. It comes amid the rash of race-based hate crimes nationwide, particularly against Asians, controversy over the teaching of critical race theory and, among many other things, the Friday sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, for the May 25, 2020, murder of George Floyd, a Black man, which set off protests across the world.
Images of what appear to be students, faculty and administrators populate the video. They comment off the refrain-like phrase, “In the fight against racism and hate …,” ranging from “I will not pretend that racism doesn’t exist” to “and if necessary, I am willing to get into good trouble” (a partial quote used frequently by the late civil rights icon John Lewis) to a final one by Superintendent-President Celia Esposito-Noy: “We commit to doing better, to being bolder, and to contributing to a climate where hate is unacceptable and mindfulness and compassion are the norms,” with the last words in unison being “We are Solano College.”
Tom Gachis, 30, of Vacaville, owner of James Thomas Media at jamesthomasmedia.com, said the video, which had its genesis a few months ago, sprang from the wishes of “some school higher ups,” who “wanted to make a statement” about where the college community stood in regard to racism and hate while adhering to its overall mission of educating its students.
The key idea about its creation was the agreement “that they didn’t want to follow the trend of other colleges,” Gachis, an alumnus of SCC and Chico State University, said during a brief interview Friday. “They wanted to be as authentic as they could. The college is very diverse and they want to make that known.”
Most of the brainstorming occurred between him and Lisa Neeley, a dean who heads the Fairfield-based campus’ career technical education, but, he added, “We were pretty much guided by Celia.” David Williams, vice president of academic affairs, also contributed to the project, added Gachis.
Still, he and Neeley worked together “to come up with a concept of how we wanted to represent the college,” recalled Gachis, a Berkeley native who grew up in Vacaville and graduated from Will C. Wood High. “We came up with the story and all the different types of shots we put together.”
“The biggest thing we wanted to get across is that we’re authentic,” said Gachis, who edited the video.
In January 2016, he started his business, which now specializes in content and web development, while at SCC. He eventually started making commercials for the San Francisco Giants baseball team and promoting concerts in San Francisco. He said the college found ou” he was a talented video creator who also has worked with local government agencies and the Solano Economic Development Corp., among other clients.
One of his SCC instructors, said Gachis, asked him to create a sport broadcasting program (now a recognized state program, he added). He gained additional experience working for Fox Sports as an intern.
During an SCC class, the radio broadcasting professor was so impressed with a speech Gachis gave that he asked him for help in creating a video.
“That’s why I have an affinity for the college,” he said. “It changed my career path.”
Since working for the Giants, Gachis has expanded his commercial-making to include projects for the Bottle Rock concerts in Napa, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Jelly Belly in Fairfield and one in collaboration with Lyft, the online ride-hailing service.
In a SCC press release issued Thursday, Gachis, who said he also serves as the school’s public information officer, wrote that the college “will continue to be a place that advocates for social justice,” adding, “In the video, Solano Community College faculty, staff, and student leaders pledge to fight against racism and hate, and stand together in solidarity as a diverse, inclusive community.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .