Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Trustee Paulina Gonzalez Brito addresses the crowd at Berkeley City College’s 50th anniversary celebration. The event featured a block party along with a groundbreaking ceremony for the college’s new Milvia Street building. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
‘We’re still rising’: BCC celebrates 50th anniversary
College throws block party and breaks ground on new building
Sam O'Neil, Associate Editor • May 6, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
PCCDs classified employees pose for a pic at the first-ever professional development day for classified professionals. PCCD Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson reflected on the event in her report to the Board of Trustees. (Source: PCCD)
Peralta’s leadership search, CCC public safety earmark, and “rumors” discussed at 4/9 meeting of PCCD Trustees
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
College of Alameda jazz professor Glen Pearson demonstrates his musical talent on his classroom piano. Hes one of the newest members of the Count Basie Orchestra, a historic 18-piece jazz ensemble that took home a Grammy this year.
The humble Grammy-winning pianist leading CoA’s music program
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • March 4, 2024

    An odyssey from ocean to oil field country

    How three-and-one-half days in the car is an exercise in female empowerment

    By Alice Robinson

    I pack up my car and roll across four states — about 1,700 miles. By myself.

    I take a Muay Thai class, a type of martial arts, before I leave Oakland. It’s purely psychological, but the hour at BK Roots Fitness makes me feel better about being in a car by myself for almost four days. I hope I’ll remember the power I feel later, during my trip.

    This kind of grand adventure isn’t normal for me. I used to be sore after a 250 mile drive. I used to pack like I was going into uncharted territory.

    I won’t soon forget the early morning drive out of Holbrook, AZ. I leave very early, remembering family road trips as a kid when we followed the same rule. I drive along I-40, witnessing the sun’s slow rise and drinking in the endless rugged landscape and its enchanting plant life.

    I have the road to myself and crank the radio. Something tells me I made the right decision.

    On past road trips, relatives have helped me plan. This time, I map the route, navigate with only minor snags, and choose hotels on my own. These actions give me an empowerment boost.

    The confidence jolt isn’t something that comes without struggle. I pull into a Western Wear-Gas Station complex in fierce 97-degree heat in Bowie, Texas. About 1,500 miles are behind me. I’m uncomfortable and indignant, due to the sun’s rays on me, mirrored by the steel of my car.

    Who gave this planet permission to be so intense? I’ll never get to my destination, I think, not with numerous country highways. I sense tears starting their invasion but don’t let them come out.

    I grab a pad and jot a few things I’m feeling. The PG version: “My legs are tired and sore. I’m sick of stupid frickin’ Travel Stops and Subways and gallons of gas. I’m tired of all this junk in my car. It’s all melting.”

    I think of the bag woman I saw a few months ago, carting dozens of satchels in a public restroom. I, too, am carrying bags around. Do we have more in common than I suppose?

    My short manifesto is complete. If I die in the Texas nothingness, there will be proof of my final thoughts.

    Traveling alone inherently comes with risks, and I’m all for not endangering oneself. But I’m tired of receiving the message that women must not go anywhere after dark or shouldn’t go to the wrong side of town for fear of being eaten by the Big Bad Wolf.

    I grow weary of the idea that a woman cannot do anything without clearing it with a man or her entire family first. I was at first hesitant to drive cross-country because someone in my family didn’t approve.

    I feel like the world wants me to be hyper-aware of a hidden cluster of danger lurking. Climbing in my car and driving almost 2,000 miles was my way of looking at this peril dead-on and saying, I’m not scared.

    This experience would not have been complete without the Oakland fitness class. We kick, we punch bags and we complete cardio. “Yeah, I’m a tough lady,” I think.

    Learning some basic moves provides more of a boost for my adventure than anyone knows. For example, while I stand alone at gas stations or walk around rest areas, I know that if a potential attacker comes up to me, I won’t freeze. Rather, I’ll be prepared to unleash with a kick or a punch.

    I find comfort knowing I won’t let myself be an easy target for bad guys, including one dude — The Big Bad Wolf.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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