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

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Archives

The Lavender Project hosts first event since pandemic began

Laney college community that attended the event in support. (Leticia Luna/The Citizen)

Elves, horses, lions, and lavender. The LGBTQ+ oriented support group, The Lavender Project, came together for a Halloween themed costume brunch. The coalition of LGBTQ+ faculty, administrators, staff and students gathered outside the Laney bistro on October 27th to expand and support a network for LGBTQ+ students. 

Katrina Santos drawing a jack-o-lantern  during the Lavender Project event. (Leticia Luna/The Citizen)

Staff and students alike noticed a need for a LGBTQ+ based support group at Laney College after discovering that one did not exist. The event was designed for students to know there is a dedicated group of people on campus, making sure that students know that they are not alone. One of the Lavender project’s efforts is to build a more permanent presence here at Laney, creating an official representative entity for the LGBTQ+ community.

The organizer of the event Mallory Barkdull said that she hoped to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ students. She added “a lot of queer and trans people grow up, kind of having to hide a lot of who they are. And I think it’s important for us, as faculty and as staff and as employees here, to say you know you don’t have to hide at Laney.” 

Dual-enrollment student Elaine Truong participating in the LGBTQ+ event at the Laney Bistro. (Leticia Luna/The Citizen)

Student Trustee Micah Cooper, who attended the event had much to say about LGBTQ+ representation on campus and district. This was their first time collaborating with the Lavender Project and also expressed a desire for events like these to become cemented at Laney as well. 

The event also was the first event thrown by The Lavender Project since COVID hit nearly two years ago. In the initial planning stages they thought of a harvest festival or a straight up Halloween party for outreach. The organizers then came to the conclusion that a costumed tea party was the best idea. Taking to the idea of inclusion, they decided to make it a hybrid event, the party was live streamed through zoom and had some in person faculty, students and staff. 

“I think that LGBTQ plus visibility in the Peralta district is not as strong as it could be,” said Cooper.

Student Trustee Cooper, attended the event dressed as their most recent favorite character Horse, from the Netflix show Centaurworld. (Leticia Luna/The Citizen)

Trustee Cooper also added that their role as a student trustee is trying to bring visibility to issues facing the student body as a whole, but their voice is not enough. “You know, sometimes you really feel like you’re being looked at as just the one token person from a group complaining and not as someone bringing some really significant insight.” Meetings like these are a way for students to consolidate issues that their community faces and commit to organize a safe space for those affected by those issues. 

This event is important because it’s the first step in actualizing an official LGBTQ+ presence here at Laney and the district as a whole. Rudy Besikof the Laney College President, even made an appearance marking the significance of this event’s potential. These are for people who feel the same way to congregate and learn to mitigate or dismiss those feelings entirely. This is an event that made it clear that LGBTQ+ presence will be here and could use some support. 

Rudy Besikof, Laney College President, Elizabeth Maher, Dean of Liberal Arts Instruction and Katrina Santos, Staff Assistant attended the event. (Leticia Luna/The Citizen)

Photo editing done by Ivan Chairez, Photo Editor.

An earlier version of this article contained a misquoting. The correct quote reads “a lot of queer and trans people grow up, kind of having to hide a lot of who they are.”

About the Contributor
Ulysses Smith
Ulysses Smith, Staff Writer
Born and raised in Oakland, Calif. Ulysses’ father is of Scots-Irish and Danish descent and his Mother is African-American. As a child his dad would take him on bike rides to protests, concerts, sporting events and sometimes even bars across the Bay Area, which developed his fascination for culture. Ulysses’ mother is a dedicated public servant and has worked for the public library system for over twenty years. When she was still with Oakland Public Library she had access to free tickets at A’s games and his dad would take him out of school to see them play. They’d end up getting box seats but would sneak down the stands to be next to the real action and developed his lifelong fascination with sports. He played baseball and basketball off and on throughout grade school, coached in his summers and got a chance to play for state but got knocked out of the division 5 playoffs after the first round. A lifetime addicted to music and gardening as well; he’s been playing the guitar since the age of 7 and later learned the basics of music production, bass guitar, banjo and his instrument of choice the drums. He got a green thumb from his father, a horticulture major, and Ed Rosenthal, the godfather of homegrow. To this day no matter what season he has at least two plants growing. He graduated from Realm Charter High School In July 2017 and enrolled in Laney Community College by Fall 2017. His High School eventually ceased operations and was permanently closed in Fall 2019. During his time at Laney he has worked as a private English tutor, a teacher’s aide for the C.I.S. department and as a sports reporter here at the Peralta Citizen.
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