By Juan Calvillo
Coraima Martinez is running for the student seat on the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees and is prioritizing student mental health.
She said any decisions that affect students need to have students as the main concern.
Martinez said she has three priorities when it comes to being on the Board of Trustees.
She said after classes went online last year most administrations lacked transparency as to how things would move on.
She said moving forward, students should be the first to be informed about how things will proceed.
“They weren’t informing us of anything and it felt like they weren’t having any leniency with us, when in reality, everybody was in the dark and we (students) just felt that they were holding out on us. And had they done better of communicating that to us then maybe the semester would have been a bit smoother for everyone else so the transition would have been easier,” Martinez said.
Martinez said conversations about how the district and colleges plan on safely reopening should put students’ concerns first. She said who better to ask how students wish to be supported if not the students.
Martinez said her goals are about helping all students, especially the districts Asian and Pacific Islander students.
With the increased racism that has cropped up across the country, Martinez is looking to make campuses feel safe when they finally reopen.
Martinez said mental health resources need to be made more accesible for students.
She said doing away with the stigma that accompanies mental health was about changing the conversation about who can search out help.
She said these resources shouldn’t be limited to those who have been diagnosed having mental issues.
“If you are stressed, if you are fatigued, if you are burnt out you can seek our mental health resources,” Martinez said.
Martinez said she was passionate about looking for ways to support programs that help students scholastically. She said the idea is about focusing on the programs that create retention for students.
She said programs like Extended Opportunity Programs & Services and Umoja programs would be the types she would like to help.
She said programs like the Dream Resource Center were important and by running for the student seat she learned were in bad shape.
“I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how the DRC’s have been underfunded and low staffed and how that has negatively affected our undocumented students through this pandemic,” Martinez said.
Martinez said her experience as a lead intern for the American Federation of Teachers 1521 gave her insight into the teachers from the district.
AFT 1521 represents the faculty in the LACCD. She is currently a student at East Los Angeles College and in her third year.
She is part of the ELAC Pathway to Law and is set to transfer from ELAC within the next year.
Martinez became interested in law when she attended Theodore Roosevelt High School.
She was a member of the law trial team there doing mock trials. Her work with the community and the DRC inspired her to look into immigration law.