Building crossroads

Building crossroads

The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) held a joint virtual meeting with the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Black/African American Student Affairs and the Advisory Committee on LGBTQIA+ Affairs on April 26. 

The meeting spotlighted conversations of upcoming events, students’ experiences within their communities, and the advancement of LACCD’s efforts toward inclusive discussions. 

LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez hosted intersectional discussions among the advisory committees in the district. 

“All this work—the climate, the conditions, the resources, the allocations that we make—are for the success of the students that we are so proud to serve,” Rodriguez said. “The communities that they come from and the multiple identities that they come to our campuses with, we want to celebrate that, embrace that, and indeed elevate that conversation.”

Rodriguez said that these events allow the student body and the rest of the district to understand the importance of discussing intersectionality and personal experiences. 

“There really is the echo of a lot of the work that came decades before,” Rodriguez said. “It’s really a manifestation of those who came before us that had imagined we would have space for these kinds of important civil rights conversations and identity rights conversations.”

Los Angeles City College student and guest speaker Iziaih Choquette discussed his experience growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska as a biracial queer individual. Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, stereotypes were instilled. 

Choquette moved to Los Angeles last August and established housing with the Los Angeles LGBT center. He is now a youth ambassador and youth advisory council member for the center.

“There was not a lot of representation for me at all and for the longest time, [I] was not able to connect with my community,” Choquette said. “It’s great to finally get to start and see how these conversations begin because it helps people like me who, a black queer person, was able to benefit from both communities and receive support from both communities.”

Choquette said his position at the center has gotten opportunities to better himself as well as continue conversations of intersectionality. 

“Earlier this year I already got to go to the A2Mend conference for black male excellence and there was the first time I got to see black education at its finest,” Choquette said. “It was the first time that I actually felt like it was okay to be smart and black. There was so much support and love.”

LACCD sociology professor and guest speaker Tiffany Lanoix touched on the topic of intersectionality with a presentation discussing the history behind the term, the various factors that come into play when defining the term, and questions that ignite conversations about it. 

Lanoix displayed a variety of quotes in the presentation and asked participants in the meeting to respond by introducing inclusive and open-minded conversations. The responses brought new angles and contexts to the discussion as Lanoix navigated the dialogue. 

“We don’t get to pick and choose which one of our identities we live today or that particular day,” Lanoix said. “We don’t get to pick and choose how other people perceive us and interact with us, right? We really have to think about this from this kind of complex perspective, this intersectional perspective to really dig and get at the actual lives that people live and their actual experiences.” 

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