By Zasha Hayes
The LACCD Chancellor’s LGBTQIA Advisory Committee delved into establishing programs including safe zones for students in the queer community in their recent meeting.
The agenda for the meeting included welcoming remarks and comments on the George Floyd Case. To follow this, reports on the LGBTQ+ Certified Business Program and Queer/ Ethnic Studies Intersections and Curriculum were given.
In this discussion, guest speaker Chancellor Fransisco Rodriguez spoke on the intersectionality of justice and the services the committee is working on for students in the queer community.
These services include safe zones, providing special development training for faculty and staff, mental health services, learning communities, student pubs and hangouts and furthering curriculum development for courses focused on the community.
Rodriguez said, “What we’re trying to do with the allocations and resources is create a climate and a culture; a positive change that embraces and supports the LGBTQ community and students. We’re doing this with a focused sense of leadership starting with our board of trustees. (We’re) spreading this idea throughout the state of California and leading by example without apology, without any sense that we should slow this down. In fact, we should accelerate.”
“There is a larger sense of purpose and social justice that includes the LGBTQ Community towards a more racially and socially just environment both here in LACCD and throughout the state and country,” Rodriguez said.
The meeting continued on with talk of bills that will be passed that will include ethnic studies that have LGBTQ elements in each class. Trustee David Vela went on to explain the resource allocation for an LGBTQ pilot program.
The state-wide budget is 10 million dollars and the amount of money that could be given out to students could reach up to $500,000 in scholarships.
The money would also be used in the services for the students of the LGBTQIA+ Community. Guest speaker Dean over Curriculum Dan Keller spoke on the different courses that will be available for transfer.
He also spoke of the updated curriculum for social justice discussions and how as the present, there is no real definition of what ethnic studies are.
Therefore the courses could be expanded upon in the district as not just studies on ethnicities, but culture, too.
Debrah Harrington spoke on the idea of expanding the definition of ethnic studies.
“I wanted to add on to the idea of intersectionality and thinking about the intersections with ethnic studies. I would like to see us advocate and see a relationship between queer studies, LGBTQ studies and ethnic studies because I do think that in many respects the way that we look at ethnicities on some levels you’re talking about the social construct of that,” Harrington said.
Guest speaker Ruben C. Smith from San Fransisco Community College helps expand the idea of spaces for students in the queer community as he is an expert in facilities.
Smith said he was teaming together with Long Beach to develop a program for target outreach, but things are just getting off the ground.
East Los Angeles College already has courses that promote ethnic studies on the queer community, Rin Kahla a professor of women and gender studies at ELAC, said.
Professor of Political Science Felipe E. Agredano showed a presentation as another part of the agenda came up.
This part of the agenda was the Faculty Liaison Report and the Lavender Graduation. The report and presentation gave the viewers a look at the activities for the queer community each campus in the district has currently.
The rest of the meeting focused on the graduation and the online space queer students can go to if they need help. The link for this student service is as follows. https://www.elac.edu/Student-Services/One-Zone
The Lavender Graduation will be on May 17. There are still tickets to be sold and seats to be filled.
The link to the event is as follows. https://2021lavendergrad.eventbrite.com These meetings are hosted quarterly and welcome those who choose to attend.