Experience

LMC talks political results

Campus reacts to Trump

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LMC talks political results

Cassie Dickman, cdickman@lmcexperience.com

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After the 2016 presidential election results were called and a campaign season that has been described as “divisive” and “nasty” came to a close and many people found themselves unsure if they have a place in this country’s future, the Contra Costa Community College District wanted to reassure all of its community members that the district’s commitment to them had not been altered, despite what is going on nationally.
Two separate, yet similarly worded, emails signed by the District’s three college presidents and District Chancellor Helen Benjamin were sent out to students and employees Thursday, Nov. 10 to address concerns about how the election would affect them— particularly with regard to equity, inclusion and equality for students and society.
“What has not changed is the foundation our district is built upon. We welcome and support diversity, and we hold a space for students, faculty and staff with a wide range of history, experiences and perspectives to engage in a civilized and peaceful manner,” said the email addressed to district employees. “This is not only a core value of our district but an aspiration embedded in our vision and mission to serve our students and communities.”
The district leaders also wanted students to know that all the previously offered programs and assistance will still be available to them.
“As public institutions of higher education, we will continue our work to ensure every one of you has full access to our colleges and centers, as well as to the support needed for you to succeed in your studies,” said the email addressed to students. “We are also deeply committed to protecting the rights of our undocumented students to attend our institutions and receive state aid under the provisions of AB 540, enacted in 2001, and the California Dream Act, signed into law in 2011.”
These pledges are reflected in the district board’s “Diversity” and “Equity in Student Achievement” policies, which are meant to make sure all areas of the three-college district are welcoming and able to help everyone succeed, and the email sent to district employees urged all staff, faculty and students to implement and follow them.
Despite the emails being sent out district wide, Los Medanos College President Bob Kratochvil wanted to specifically address his college’s concerns directly and calm the tensions and strong emotions this campaign season has created. He urged students to take time to reflect and come together so LMC can move forward.
“We need to recognize that many among us are deeply troubled by much of the messaging — around tolerance and divisiveness — that seemed to emerge throughout this election, and that we have students and colleagues who may feel anxious concerned or even fearful about the future,” he said. “It is important for us to hear and support each other.”
Kratochvil stressed the need to adhere to the college’s culture of respect, inclusion, diversity and academic freedom. Several activities aimed at upholding these principles were held the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday following the election — a “safe space” rally (see accompanying story), a “Place to Talk” event and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) informational workshops — and he said similar future events were in the developmental planning stages.
At the “A Place to Talk” event, put on by Student Life Tuesday, Nov. 15, members of the LMC community were offered an opportunity to talk about how the election was affecting them.
“There has been a lot of frustration and anger, sadness and all types of different emotions that were stirred up throughout this week and last week so we wanted to provide an opportunity for all of you to get together and really to express how you’re feeling,” said Student Life Coordinator John Nguyen to attendees.
ALLIES President Akila Briggs, who is also a student ambassador and LMC Library worker, chose to shut off all of her electronics and go to sleep at about 7 or 9 p.m. on the night of the election because she didn’t want to watch the various states bounce back and forth between the presidential candidates, but when she awoke the next morning, she said found herself in a very different world.
“I remember coming into work and as soon as I got here my boss gave me a hug and she said that ‘you check off a lot of boxes of the things that Trump supporters are against,’” said Briggs. “It’s a very white-power type of society where if you’re a minority, that’s automatically one strike against you, if you’re a woman that’s another strike against you [and] if you’re LGBT that’s three strikes, you’re out.”
Briggs explained, although she was experiencing fear and confusion, being on campus helped.
“I really did feel safe here at LMC knowing that there were so many people that did care,” she said.
Some students used the moment to express their frustrations with the country’s failure to deal with certain issues until recently and also how their views of the U.S. have been altered.
“I am disappointed in not just people who voted in Trump, but a lot of people in general. In how people decide to pretend that these problems don’t exist because they don’t want to address the problems that we’re facing now,” said LMC student Fernando Hidalgo-Chinchilla. “We’re always bragging about how great of a country America is, how we have all these values, how we’re a diverse community — and we’re realizing that a lot of that is a lie.”
LMC student Giovanni Gonzalez said he thinks it is going to be a tough four years.
“I feel like I’m disassociating. I don’t even know what’s real,” said Gonzalez.
“[Trump] becoming president … reaffirms the racists, it reaffirms the homophobic people. He played on white nationalism, he played on white supremacy and he got the vote.
But DSPS worker Kenney Purizaga, even though he agrees that Trump is not good for the country, has a different vision for the future.
“For the next four years it’s going to be the season of love. We have to rely on each other and we have to have each other’s back,” said Purizaga. “Whatever may happen, just know that … we’re a community and that’s what we’re here for.”
Hidalgo-Chinchilla echoed these sentiments.
“It’s okay to feel despair, but don’t fall into it, we’re all scared, we’re all worried, but we have to keep going forward. If we give up, that’s when us minorities are truly defeated,” said Hidalgo-Chinchilla.
Although this isn’t the first time or the last the college, community or country has faced challenges, Kratochvil, too, offered words of encouragement in his email and suggested the LMC take this time to reflect
“We will get through it over time, through dialogue and understanding and with healing,” he said. “We can begin to come together around our collective commitment to serving students and supporting one another, by rising above intolerance and embracing inclusion.”
At the “A Place to Talk” event, Dean of Student Success Dave Belman said he wanted LMC to be a safe space for all of the 10-12 thousand students who attend classes at its campuses.
“I do think that we have an obligation as a college to educate, and part of that is about challenging what we’re seeing in our world. I don’t want to sweep this under the rug as an institution,” said Belman. “I hope that we keep talking about it.”
A full version of the district’s diversity and student equity policies can be found at http://www.4cd.edu/gb/policies-procedures/board/BP1023.pdf and
http://www.4cd.edu/gb/policies-procedures/board/BP2059.pdf, and other local election results are displayed in the accompanying graphic.
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3 Comments

3 Responses to “LMC talks political results”

  1. Don Honda on November 18th, 2016 7:17 am

    Is this what to expect from DREAMers?:

    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sdut-ruben-navarrette-one-dreamers-missed-lesson-2015jun24-story.html

    Ruben Navarrette: One Dreamer’s missed lesson in good character

  2. Don Honda on November 18th, 2016 7:17 am

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/02/27/opposition-to-immigration-reform-is-a-winning-strategy-for-republicans/

    “By any measure, fears of (Illegal) immigration are driving many white Americans to the Republican Party. And, indeed, the Republican strategy on immigration appears to have been successful. Republicans now control the House and the Senate, the governor’s office in 31 states, and two-thirds of the state legislatures. They are winning the political war.”

    “An even bigger factor is that the ties of racial and ethnic minorities to the Democratic Party are tenuous. Research by Taeku Lee and myself shows that most Latinos and Asian Americans don’t feel like they fit into either party. In national surveys, those who refuse to answer a question about party identification, those who claim that they do not think in partisan terms, and independents make up the clear majority of both groups. All told, 56 percent of Latinos and 57 percent of Asian-American identify as nonpartisans.

    Even among blacks, there are signs of ambivalence. Almost 30 percent of blacks feel
    that the Democratic Party does not work hard for black interests.”

    http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20151016_As_Trump_fades__be_smart_about_immigration.html#disqus_thread

    “Most Hispanics aren’t single-issue voters when it comes to immigration. A recent Gallup poll found that among registered Latino voters, 67 percent are at least willing to support a candidate who doesn’t share their views on immigration. And 18 percent don’t consider the issue important at all.

    What’s more, many Hispanic citizens have little sympathy for immigrants who haven’t played by the rules. Especially among Latino voters born in the United States, resentment of immigrants who have entered the country illegally can run deep. Forty-two percent of American-born Hispanics disapprove of President Obama’s executive actions to prevent the deportation of illegal immigrants.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/12/no-joke-trump-can-win-plenty-of-latinos.html
    Reuben Navarette: No Joke: Trump Can Win Plenty of Latinos

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/connorhoffman/2016/07/18/conservative-hispanic-leaders-poised-to-endorse-trump-n2194143
    Conservative Hispanic Leaders Poised To Endorse Trump

    Gee, No wonder why I fall into the Proud Independent group.

  3. Don Honda on November 18th, 2016 7:23 am

    It’s good to repeat some Inconvenient Truths:

    From one of the most liberal news sources:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/25/1347270/-The-Dixiecrats-are-still-with-us

    “You know how for so long we have thought that the racist wing of the Democratic Party called the Dixiecrats, that were based in the South were dead and replaced by Republicans? The actions of Democratic officials like gov Jay Nixon, always thought there had to be something slimey about a Democrat named Nixon, and Bill McCulloch, the vile St. Louis DA who smirked as he gave cops the green light to keep murdering
    young African-American males have proven that assumption wrong.

    This is where the “big tent” philosophy gets us, folks. How can we point the finger at Republican racism with so much racism in our own party? We need to drive these people out. If this party has no standards and no limits on what the people we put up for office believe and how they conduct themselves, what’s the point.”

    From one of the most liberal news sources:

    http://takimag.com/article/the_dixiecrats_rise_again/print#axzz3d5XzEJbA

    “So far, national Democrats haven’t discouraged Southern conservative newcomers. Congressional campaign committee heads helped Childers and Cazayoux, just as they did Heath Shuler in 2006. They helped recruit Webb and promoted him over the more conventionally liberal Harris Miller. Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel have even been willing to boost
    pro-life and pro-gun Democrats north of the Mason Dixon line, including Bob Casey in Pennsylvania and both Brad Ellsworth and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. Jack Davis has even run as a Pat Buchanan Democrat against Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds in New York. It may not seem like much of an innovation to run culturally conservative candidates in culturally conservative areas, but it took years for the Democrats to decide that they liked being in the majority better than imposing litmus tests.”

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LMC talks political results