At the community college, diversity is an overarching institutional goal, yet it remains elusive, especially in the full-time faculty ranks. This dissertation explored the individual and systemic barriers to hiring faculty of color. A phenomenological approach was used to examine the community college full-time faculty search process from the perception and meaning-making of 10 full-time faculty of color who actively advocate for hiring faculty of color. The participants represented five community college districts throughout California. This study utilized grassroots leadership and critical race theory as frameworks. An analysis of the participants’ interviews identified emergent themes around their experiences as racialized individuals in a historical and contemporary context, being faculty of color at their institutions, challenging and encountering color-blind ideology, and enacting agency as faculty of color grassroots leaders. The findings illuminate why it is important to engage in conversations about race, how it is a critical aspect of a faculty candidate’s identity, and that it should be considered in the hiring process. The findings also show that color-blind ideology is pervasive, despite institutional commitment to diversity and nondiscriminatory laws. Lastly, the findings demonstrated the grassroots leadership and agency in which faculty of color engage to strategically challenge the dominant ideology and advocate for hiring faculty of color. Based on the findings, clear recommendations are presented to combat systemic racism in hiring policies and practices at the national, state, and local levels. Keywords: faculty of color, grassroots leaders, critical race theory, community college, color-blind ideology, hiring practices.