Santa Cruz Countywide Black Student Union

Join Us!

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education is proud to announce the first ever Countywide Black Student Union. If you are interested in being a part of the SCCBSU please fill out this application to join our weekly meetings. We will send you the zoom link when you fill out the form. Meetings are every Tuesday, where we come together on discord to play games, talk about school, think about future plans and learn about one another! If you have any questions on how to join the SCCBSU you can contact Celeste Gutierrez at

The Countywide Black Student Union is a safe space for, but not limited to, students who identify as Black/African/African American/Biracial & so on. We foster a healthy environment where students connect, reflect, inform, and heal through group conversations or 1-on-1s. Although there are facilitated topics/themes/conversations, our student members typically begin to feel comfortable bringing up what they feel is necessary. From conversations about hair products to generational PTSD, we ensure our student's voices are heard by their peers and their community. To ensure inclusivity, we offer safe spaces for a middle school group, a high school group, and for adults/educators.

We're here to

Build Community

Empower Future Leaders

Practice Self Care & Self Love

Uplift Voices

Events & Announcements

Weekly Sessions

Wednesdays 4:15pm-5:15 via zoom - Middle Schoolers

Wednesday 5:15pm-6:15pm via zoom - High Schoolers

Please complete this form to receive the zoom link!

1. Restorative Justice

We are committed to collectively, lovingly, and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.​

2. Empathy

We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.

3. Loving Engagement

We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.

4. Diversity

We are committed to acknowledging, respecting, and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.

5. Globalism

We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world.​

6. Queer Affirming

We are committed to fostering a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.

7. Trans Affirming

We are committed to embracing and making space for trans siblings to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

8. Collective Value

We are guided by the fact all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location.

9. Intergenerational

We are committed to fostering an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with capacity to lead and learn.

10. Black Families

We are committed to making our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” that require them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.

11. Black Villages

We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.

12. Unapologetically Black

We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting the same for others.​

13. Black Women

​We are committed to building a Black women affirming space free from sexism, misogyny, and male-centeredness.

Meet The Participants!

Quentin Barnes (He/Him)

Cypress High School, 12th Grade

Hi, I'm Quentin, your friendly neighborhood BSU President. I like to chill out and listen to some nice bossa nova music, and my favorite food at the moment is some really good orange chicken. I also enjoy reading and I'm trying to pick up gardening too. If you ever have any questions feel free to ask, and my DM's are open as well

Fernanda (She/Her)

Mission Hill, 6th Grade

Hi I'm Fernanda. I like to dance and listen to 90's music. I also enjoy reading. My favorite author is Elizabeth Acevedo. I might be in a leadership role when more people join!

Meet The Team!

Celeste Gutierrez (she/her/ella)

Student Leadership & Engagement Coordinator

Celeste Gutierrez(she,her,ella) has lived in Santa Cruz County for the past 25 years. She possesses over 10 years of experience working with youth across a variety of fields including education, employment, and the criminal justice system. The principle of nonviolence is very near and dear to Gutierrez’ heart. She uses this principle to motivate and align herself with different projects. As a result, aside from inspiring many youth, in 2021 Celeste was nominated as an Ally to Queer Youth Award & was the recipient of the 2017 Santa Cruz County Trial Lawyers Association Award for her contributions to the legal community. Celeste both advocates for & models inclusivity by displaying the rainbow flag in her office, communicating her pronouns, and fostering work/educational environments that are safe spaces for all youth groups. She also implements the importance of creating shared power amongst youth & adults through horizontal power structures in which decision making is equally shared.

While nurturing communal spaces that are free of discrimination, Celeste ensures that the voices of minoritized groups are amplified; including yet not limited to currently and formerly incarcerated youth, children & adolescents who have experienced violence, individuals prone to situational related limitations all while keeping in consideration the environment & our relationship to earth.

If you'd like to connect with Celeste please feel free to call her at (831) 466-5713 or send her an email at