Students of LMC ‘woke’ by Clark

Passionate sociology major tackles issues

Brenna Enos, Staff Writer

It was a spine-chillingly cold day before Thanksgiving in North Dakota, but instead of spending the holiday in the warm comfort of his home with family, Marcelo Clark was protesting at Standing Rock.

Thrust between the natives wearing gas masks and goggles and the unforgiving police officers, Clark stood his ground in the fight for social justice, willing to risk it all to protect the land of the Native Americans.

“I was prepared to be arrested,” said Clark. “I didn’t come to get arrested but that’s just something I had to prepare for when standing against the police.”

A politically and socially passionate student at Los Medanos College, Marcelo Clark has been a strong voice on campus. The sociology major has dedicated his time and efforts into giving his all to the LMC community through being an Enrichment Officer for the Honors Club board, starting the California Association of Woke Students (C.A.W.S.) club at LMC and tutoring sociology students.

He plans to transfer in the fall of 2017 to UCLA with a Kennedy-King scholarship, and hopes to teach sociology when he completes his education.

This long laundry list of activities and goals did not come without hard work, and in Clark’s case, a supportive school environment.

On Christmas morning in 2004, Clark’s parents split up and their eventual divorce began a rough period for his family, losing their house, their car, and their stability.

After moving in with his grandparents, Clark’s life improved, but without a father to look up to, he carried his struggles with him to school every day.

“I never really had a male figure in my life,” recalled Clark. “My teachers would notice that I would do really well (in school) when my dad was around, but when he’d be gone my grades would slip.”

Clark struggled with his grades in school from elementary through to high school, but once he got to LMC, things started to look up.  

He decided to become a sociology major during his second semester at LMC after taking Sociology and English 100. These courses taught Clark about police brutality, racism and white supremacy, and after forming a close bond with LMC sociology professor Alex Sample, he decided this field was what he wanted to pursue.

“When I would go to (Sample’s) office hours, he would tell me ‘you remind me of a young me and you need to take my position when I’m gone,’ and I honestly think that played a major role in choosing my major,” said Clark.

Clark took his passion for sociology and social justice to a new level when starting the C.A.W.S. club at LMC this spring. After attending an impact conference last fall at LMC, Clark realized that many social issues needed to be addressed on campus.

“How are we a Hispanic-serving institution yet we rarely address things that are happening in communities of color?” questioned Clark. “I wanted to start a club that dealt with that.”

Designed to make students aware of social issues prevalent in the world, the C.A.W.S. club organizes events that address heated topics and makes students politically aware.

During the semester, Clark organized multiple panels including one on Black Lives Matter. This event discussed and celebrated black history and featured Dan Siegel, a local civil rights attorney in Oakland.

LMC Honors Director Jennifer Saito witnessed the hard work Clark not only dedicated to C.A.W.S during the semester, but to the Honor Program throughout the school year.

“He has been a very strong presence to the program this entire year,” said Saito adding, “He’s had such wonderful ideas.”

Despite conquering the feat of starting the club, Clark has faced problems running it due to his hefty 15-unit school schedule that includes three honors classes, volunteering, tutoring and trying to find some time for himself.

“I pulled an all-nighter the other day because I had to study for my chemistry test,” said Clark, adding with a chuckle “the class is really, really hard. It’s been difficult to run the club on my own.”

Nevertheless, Clark has remained positive about C.A.W.S future, hoping that it will continue to run after he graduates in a few weeks.

While Clark’s time at LMC will come to an end after he graduates in a few weeks, LMC has made a big impact on Clark’s life — and Clark made a big impact on LMC.

“I think my overall high school graduating G.P.A was a 2.2” said Clark. “I’ve really transformed myself here at LMC— I now have a 3.8, I am in 4 clubs, I tutor and I’m an Enrichment Officer (for the Honors Program). I never would have thought that I’d be this person.”