Page 1


RIGHT: Josielyn Bustamante (left) receives a scholarship certificate from Foundation Secretary William van Dyk during the Scholarship Awards Ceremony in the Knox Center on May 2.


By Benjamin Bassham news editor

Each year most college scholarships go unclaimed. District Chancellor Fred Wood said, “Students don’t look. Maybe they don’t think they’re good enough. Isn’t that sad?” This year’s scholarships and awards were presented in the Knox Center, May 2 at the 59th Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Contra Costa College Foundation. Foundation Development Officer Sara Marcellino said, “We worked hard to get more students to apply (and) we had very good success this year. “We had 61 students (receive scholarships) last year, and 90 this year. We’d love to see that trend continue.” “We’re giving away an average of $1,690 per student.” That amounts to a total of $152,000, from 141 scholarships distributed among the 90 award recipients, she said. Former college president Mojdeh Mehdizadeh said, “The faculty really rallied around it. Teachers discussed it with their classes. Maybe hearing from a professor makes it easier to ask that professor for a reference.” Foundation Development Assistant Nelani Kale said of the scholarship drive, “It’s been more successful than previous

“We try to give away money eight hours a day at the Financial Aid Office. Having students take advantage of that is our dream.” Patricia Herrera,

financial aid specialist

years. There’s a 21 percent jump in the number who finished submitting applications (out of those who start).” Wood said, “It’s always good that we’re able to give more scholarships out. It’s about a third more scholars and about a third more dollars.” Financial aid specialist Patricia Herrera — donor to the #cccwheresmycheck scholarship — said, “It was a huge bump (from last year). We think it was because the application went online.” She said students no longer have to print out anything. Most scholarships require no essay and general Foundation scholarships just have six brief essay questions, focused on who the applicant is and why they deserve the scholarship. Applicants don’t even need to face the lines at the Financial Aid Office. “We try to give away money eight hours a day at the Financial Aid Office. Having students take advantage of that

is our dream,” she said. Culinary arts major Christine Sanok said that after she retired, “I decided I wanted to go back to school. I was interested in cooking, but not professionally. I’d like to create a program in my church for some young people and high school students. I want to teach them some basic cooking skills (and) how to cook healthier food.” She enrolled and after completing some classes she applied for the $3,000 Arizmendi Culinary Scholarship. She got it. She also claimed a spot in the culinary arts department’s study abroad trip to Italy. “I didn’t find (applying) hard. It’s just an essay.” Her husband Jim Sanok added, “If you go to college you have to write essays anyway. Who knows, you might win.” Wood said he was the first in his family to attend college; his ailing father pushed him to be more than a carpenter like him. Diablo Valley College was down the street from his home. “If I could not have ridden my bike to DVC I would not have gone to college,” Wood said. In time, Wood himself was able to achieve a Ph.D. in chemistry thanks to a scholarship. “When I transferred from DVC to (UC Davis) — that SEE SCHOLARSHIPS, PAGE 3


Application system fails Nursing major scholarships in mix up By Anthony Kinney associate editor

Professors from Contra Costa College’s nursing department are demanding an overhaul of the college’s scholarship system after students complained of being denied eligibility to nursing-specific scholarships this year. While some nursing students were left unawarded and had feelings of being cheated, others were auto-selected for scholarships in unrelated career fields. “They say when something isn’t broke don’t fix it, but this system

is obviously broken and needs to be fixed sooner than later,” nursing professor Angela King-Jones said. She said the program’s biggest issue is the lack of entry for information regarding the hands-on clinical curriculum that disciplines like medical assistant, paramedic and nursing require that isn’t considered criteria when students apply for scholarships with the new program. “So much work is done in a clinical setting in our department. If that experience isn’t weighed when figuring which students should be SEE NURSING, PAGE 3

Vets at odds with administration STUDENT BOAT USES SUN TO FUEL VICTORY PAGE A8

Year end review sports edition 2018 PAGE A4-A5 FACEBOOK: /accentadvocate

Exclusionary decisions leave veterans incensed

Negotiation stalemate

By Anthony Kinney associate editor

In times of conflict, or when freedom is threatened, Americans intrinsically lean on the strength and stability of those who volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces. However, when integrating back into civilian life, the same level of deference should be shown. At Contra Costa College, the support system in place to service veterans has been 20 years in the making and now with the twoyear-old Veterans Resource Center in place and a handbook outlining available options for integrating into student life, the veterans involved with initiating the program feel they are being systematically phased out. “We started over 20 years ago, going backand-forth, campaigning to have a place for veterans before finally meeting with former district chancellor Helen Benjamin,” former veteran outreach coordinator Dedan Kimathi Ji Jaga said. “She was receptive to our proposal. We were promised support, assistance and the

Main points 1) Program leaders phased out 2) Stakeholders group ineffective 3) Veterans’ excluded from decision-making on support services GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION BY DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE

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Quotable “When so much is secret, secrecy is not respected.” E. J. Dionne Jr. columnist 1997 Denis Perez editor-in-chief Anthony Kinney Michael Santone associate editors Ryan Geller Benjamin Bassham news editors Jessica Suico assistant news editor Robert Clinton Alondra Gallardo opinion editors Xavier Johnson Andrew Weedon scene editors Efrain Valdez social media editor Paul DeBolt faculty adviser Advocate Staff Sean Austin Isaac Benivades Joseph Bennett Dan Hardin Jshania Owens Gabriel Quiroz Leon Watkins Honors ACP National Newspaper Pacemaker Award 1990, 1994, 1997,1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017 CNPA Better Newspaper Contest 1st Place Award 1970, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2013 JACC Pacesetter Award 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 Member Associated Collegiate Press

California Newspaper Publishers Association

Journalism Association of Community Colleges

How to reach us Phone: 510.215.3852 Fax: 510.235.NEWS Email: accentadvocate@ Editorial policy Columns and editorial cartoons are the opinion of individual writers and artists and not that of The Advocate. Editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, which is made up of student editors.


WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2018 VOL. 106, NO. 22


EDITORIAL INFORMATION UNDERLOAD Administrative ambiguity inhibits student experience


ince the beginning of the fall 2017 semester, students have been overwhelmed by concerns surrounding a lack of administrative transparency and with summer fast approaching, it seems many of those concerns continue to thrive. At CCC, ambiguity masquerades as transparency and methodically infects victims in positions of power — without giving students a second thought. From top administrators and division deans to ASU senators and campus police, the process of collecting clear, concise information has become increasingly difficult to complete. Because of this, students are increasingly less informed. During the final month of this semester, the ASU held elections to decide who would represent students in an administrative setting. Campuswide interest could only be described as lukewarm while urging student participation in the process was all but nonexistent. ASU senators either don’t show, don’t know or don’t care about student input on the decisions they make. Signs of this clouding of the details became evident early in the fall semester following a rash of car break-ins on and near campus. Incident reports from the Contra Costa Community College District daily crime log were less precise than last year after a revamp of the district database. Concerns were directed to Police Services and Lt. Tom Holt by The Advocate, but no additional information was provided in subsequent log entries. Earlier this semester, faculty members began to raise their own concerns about the muddy-watered processes that expanded from under informing students, to excluding campus employees from decisions that impact their departments of employment. The decision to laterally shift Dean of Enrollment Services Dennis Franco to the position of dean of students, with minimal faculty input, was a red flag too large for many on campus to ignore. That move, coupled with the sudden removal of former Contra Costa College president Mojdeh Mehdizadeh in February and the insertion of Interim President Chui Tsang, was a clear indicator that important decisions were going to be made on behalf of CCC without campus consultation. This was once a campus built on a model of shared decision-making. It was a place where administrators, when making decisions to improve student outcomes, consulted faculty and staff with intimate knowledge of the students this campus serves. That model is slowly becoming a thing of the past and with little sustained leadership, these campus conundrums continue to flourish untethered. Now, with the search for the next CCC president nearing completion, this would be the perfect moment to embrace reversing the lack-of-transparency trend. However, reversal may already be too late. According to the district website,, public final presidential candidate interviews will be held at CCC next week, a time when most students will be taking final exams — and Chancellor Fred Wood knew that. To make matters worse, nobody even knows this. Typing “presidential search” into CCC’s website yields literally nothing on the subject. It’s as if district and campus administrators are making a concerted effort to keep the campus community at CCC woefully uninformed, and it’s wrong.



Biracial baby making hinders white agenda


t wasn’t long ago that many people believed there was a shelf life to racism. There used to be a shared societal concept that explained racism as a generational hold-over which implored us all to believe that when the last of the baby-boomers step into the great beyond, America will finally become the amalgamation of cultures that so many believe it was meant to be. They were wrong and if you believed it, you were too — just like I was. Prior to 2008, I wholeheartedly believed that the incremental process of dragging our bigotry-based society into the future was worth it because, in my mind, most racists were already born and better still — probably close to dying. That assessment was flawed and the current state of race relations in the U.S. proves it. As it stands, the more non-white the overall population of America becomes, the more contentious the relationship between whites and every other minority group gets. This situation is finally reaching its boiling point. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2050 whites will no longer be the majority in the U.S. and many of them are not handling it well. After the bureau’s announcement, white people who claimed to be colorblind began to see theirs as the only one that mattered. Steps have already been


It was all done in hopes of maintaining the concept of America as a nation created by and for white men. However, according to research from the National Center for Health Statistics, the death rate among white Americans outpaced birth rates in 17 states in 2014. That same demographic is dying faster due to an alarming number of suicides coupled with drug and alcohol abuse, while minority communities thrive. Where is all of this pentup angst and anger derived from? It all seems pretty clear now, some snowflake colonizer saw a long time ago that a white woman and a black man consistently creates brown babies. In order to prevent being loved off of the face of the planet, white men have for years fought to rob white women of their autonomy and black people of their humanity — all in the name of control. As demographics become increasingly balanced, it will not be enough for Caucasians, white-knuckling toward an uncertain future, to call police to act out their race-based fantasies — soon citizens will kill with impunity. It’s a rolling brown-out of ethnic cleansing and it’s going to get worse as the event horizon of 2050 looms.

taken by those currently in the majority that serve as a last-ditch effort to remain in the seat of power. Laws are enacted to grant white people and only white people, the legal Laws are authority to kill with enacted to impunity grant white whenever their hearts people and are filled with fear. only white That fear comes people the from knowlegal ing the privilege authority to that they kill with so blindly enjoy is impunity soon nearing its end. whenever They their hearts hate that notion are filled and fight intensely with fear. to see that their fears do not become a national reality. The 2050 demographic shift is like a comet hurtling toward white sensibilities. For so long, laws that banned interracial marriage coupled with governRobert Clinton is the opinment-sanctioned segregation ion editor of The Advocate. worked to ensure robust contact him at @Rclinton3 birth rates of rosy-cheeked, on Twitter blue-eyed Caucasian babies.

CAMPUS COMMENT If you could visit an fictional land, where would it be?

“I would want to visit Atlantis because it’s all submerged in water and water is life.”

“Gotham City because it’s a dark place and I like Batman and The Joker.”

“‘I would like to visit Wakanda because of the prosperity and technological advances by black people.”

“I like dinosaurs so I would visit Jurassic World.”

“The Marvel Universe because it has so many expansions and so many places to visit.”

“Wonderland because everything is free and you could do anything you want.”

Chris Miller

Carolina Espinal

Philip Burns

Hailey Lee

Marvin Escalante

Justin Harvey

political science



political science

computer science






NEWSLINE SCHOLARSHIPS | Awards honor applicants


WORKSHOP TO GIVE TEST TAKINGS TIPS A workshop to help students learn test taking skills will be held in the Career/Transfer Center (SA227) today at 11 a.m. Topics of discussion will include better test taking strategies and note taking methods to aid in student success. Students struggling with final exam material are encouraged to attend to improve their study skills just before Finals Week. For more information, contact Ashley Patterson at 510-215-3807 or at


STUDENT LOANS TO BE EXPLAINED A SparkPoint workshop will be held today at 2:30 p.m. in SA-222 to discuss student loans. Students have a lot of material to navigate in order to get financial aid from student loans. Making sure they stay current and stay affordable is of great importance. The purpose of this workshop is to help students understand how student loan repayment works and how to get the best from it. For more information contact Bill Bankhead at 510-215-6873 or


VENDORS TO SERVE PRODUCTS LOCALLY The Taste of Richmond event will be held Sunday from 2-6 p.m. at Riggers and Loft Wine Company located on 1325 Canal Boulevard. More than 20 different food and alcohol vendors will be present and will be serving their products. Along with great food and drinks, the event will be held overlooking a scenic part of the bay with a view of San Francisco. Tickets are $20 each and sales end this Friday at 3 p.m. For more information call the Richmond Main Street Initiative at 510-2364049


FINALS WILL BE NEXT WEEK, MAY 21-25 Students are reminded that finals are next week, May 21-25. Remember to get plenty of sleep, eat well, and bring all of your required materials. Make sure to check with your professors the time of your finals as the schedule for next week will be different. If you need tutoring head down to the skills center in the Library for help studying.


CONVERSATION WITH ADVISER TO OBAMA Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama is speaking tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts, 339 11th St. in Richmond.

CRIMEWATCH Thursday, May 3: A traffic accident was reported at 2600 Mission Bell Drive. No further information is available. Friday, May 11: A sexual battery was reported on campus at 3:37 p.m. No further details are available. — Efrain Valdez — The Contra Costa Community College District is committed to equal opportunity in educational programs, employment, and campus life. The District does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, parental status, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status in any access to and treatment in College programs, activities, and application for employment.

Continued from Page 1 investment from my benefactor made all the difference,” Wood said. “It can make a huge difference. Someone investing in you, when someone cares about you.” “There were times when it let me buy some macaroni and some cheese for dinner. Education is expensive, so every dollar counts.” “What carried me through were the people who had invested in me.” Business information and computer technology professor Joseph De Torres said he’s happy to help his students claim scholarships. “I have some students who are recipients tonight. I wrote some letters for them.” He said he asks his students for some details about their lives to include in the letters and gives an account of their academic work. De Torres said, “They’re committed to their majors and their programs. I think they should be supported and honored for that. “I want them to be able to at least compete for the awards for which they’re qualified.” Heather Allan, a scholarship donor, funded —in her mother’s name— the Kathleen H. Allan Memorial Scholarship for $1,000. “We did it in her honor because she worked for the college for many years (as a nursing instructor).” “We want to give back to the college. Education was very important to her.” Similarly, biology professor Chris Tarp created the Fred Tarp Memorial Scholarship for his father and to honor achievement among biology students.


The group of students receiving awards stands on stage during the Scholarship Awards Ceremony held in the Knox Center on May 2.

Tarp said, “(Fred Tarp) was the first biology faculty hired in the district,” in 1949. Fred Tarp planted some of CCC’s big trees along the northern tributary of Rheem Creek. Mehdizadeh gave to the CCC Foundation Scholarship. “I had the opportunity to be a donor (and) it’s just a privilege to be able to help.”

Governing Board Trustee Vicki Gordon also contributed to the Foundation Scholarship. “It’s for students already here and it helps our students stay here when life gets in the way.” Mehdizadeh said, “I was also lucky to serve as a reference and to see some recipients as a result. Now I get to see them walk across the

NURSING | Grant application process has glitches Continued from Page 1 awarded for a scholarship, that’s a huge problem.” King-Jones said most of her department’s students were considered ineligible for the program’s dedicated awards by the online scholarship system because of a conundrum which touts the students as “pre-nursing,” instead of nursing majors. In lieu of scholarships intended to benefit medical students in their field, nursing majors found themselves awarded with scholarships from different departments including biology, information technology and anthropology. Financial aid assistant and scholarship coordinator Mia Henderson-Bonilla said the college adopted the innovative online scholarship platform two years ago as an upgrade to the traditional paper form and to provide students with a more organized platform for scholarships. “The system is still new, so we

expected some kinks,” HendersonBonilla said. “Change isn’t always easy.” According to its website,, the AcademicWorks scholarship management platform “introduces a single scholarship website for institutions, making it easy for administrators to promote all available scholarships on campus to the entire student population.” The website says that through its program each student receives a unique, personalized view of the scholarships that they are most qualified for based off student data. “Our scholarship management system’s integration with your student information system minimizes the time it takes to complete applications and improves the quality and accuracy of data on each application,” the website boasts. Henderson-Bonilla said AcademicWorks serves as an onestop shop for scholarships that

depending on criteria, automatically matches applicants with eligible awards from a vast database of academic scholarships. However, its broad and automated selection process leaves wide gaps for error. Nursing major Pam Macapagal said she was shocked to find she was selected for a scholarship for African-American students after she requested a list of the scholarships the online program automatically applied her for. “I shouldn’t have even been eligible for that scholarship,” the Filipino nursing major said. “Luckily, I didn’t win it but what if I did? That would’ve be so unfair to the African-American students on the campus.” Henderson-Bonilla said that her department is currently in talks with the nursing faculty to determine what additional criteria needs to be considered when nursing students apply for scholarships and how to include it in the process. Her current idea is a separate

application process for nursing students seeking scholarships. “We’re aware that nursing is a unique program that requires special input from professors regarding students’ clinical performance and hours,” she said. “We’re currently working on a solution because we understand their (professors’) and the students’ frustrations.” Henderson-Bonilla said another possible reason for students’ not receiving scholarships is this year’s spike in scholarship applications. The scholarship coordinator said the financial aid department saw a 21 percent increase in scholarship applications this year. “We awarded 90 students with scholarships this year. That’s up from last year’s 60 students,” she said. “It was simply more competition out there this time around which could have been a factor.” King-Jones said she hopes the application process is repaired before scholarship season begins again next spring.

VETERANS | Services leadership in turmoil Continued from Page 1 Stakeholders Group is to freedom to set up a functioning, thriving program to support student veterans.” He said the program finally got off the ground five years ago under former CCC president Denise Noldon, but the ball was dropped after her resignation. New life was breathed into the program under the tenure of former college president Mojdeh Mehdizadeh who, along with Ji Jaga and input from other vets on campus, re-established the program. However, citing his frustration with the campus’ lack of support for the VRC and the college’s veteran population, Ji Jaga resigned as veteran outreach coordinator and office assistant in March. Campus veterans contend they have been systematically shut out of the decision-making process surrounding services and programs that they were instrumental in establishing. Consequently, because of their exclusion, veterans club members say campus administrators receive full credit for maintaining the support systems they initiated. Dean of Students Denis Franco, who also oversees veterans affairs said, “No effort, that I am aware, has been made to restrict veterans or their input in our services. To the contrary, the purpose of having a

obtain input and implement what we can given regulations, district policies, funding and any other considerations that need to be addressed.” Established in 2016, the Veterans Stakeholders Group consists of college faculty and staff, community members and student veterans. Despite its intended purpose, the veterans contend none of the veterans on campus with firsthand knowledge of what CCC’s vets need serve in the Veterans Stakeholders Group. In a May 3 meeting with CCC Interim President Chui Tsang and Vice President Ken Sherwood, five current and former Veterans Club members outlined some of the specific ways that veterans have been slighted on campus. Current CCC student and former Veterans Club president and campus veteran liaison Leon Watkins said his contract with the campus, paid by the office of Veterans Affairs (VA), was not renewed in 2016. Watkins served as the point-man for veterans support on campus before the VRC was built. “Because I was the president of the veterans club at the time and the veterans liaison, Admissions and Records Director Catherine Frost said the campus decided not to renew my contract citing a conflict stemming from serving in both positions,” Watkins said.

Under Watkins’ helm, veterans working in the resource center, including Watkins, were given accommodations by the U.S. Army for their work helping students ingratiate themselves back into civilian life as students. “I didn’t cost the campus a dime,” Watkins said, “I had a contract with the VA and because it came through Admissions and Records, they were my timekeeper. I wasn’t even given a reason why,” he said. During the meeting, a one-year-old Veterans Club proposal to establish a “victory garden” for campus veterans was used to outline one of the ways veterans were excluded from implementing their own programs. The project, mired in red tape, has been held up in the Facilities Committee — a committee which somehow omits the vets who initially proposed the idea. Sherwood, who was aware of the committee, offered no response to the men across the table from him when given the opportunity to explain why they were not a part of the discussions. Tsang outlined a campus strategy to hire a parttime campus liaison to vets and vows to apply the input of campus veterans toward whittling down the pool of candidates. Ji Jaga said all of the conversations that take place about ideas that veterans introduce happen without those same veter-


Former Veterans’ Resource Center director Dedan Ji Jaga speaks to Contra Costa College Interim President Chui Tsang during a meeting on campus on May 3.

ans’ input. “If it (hiring a veteran’s liaison) has to go to a committee and you’re not including my voice to answer questions that aren’t being answered, then what good is this process?” Ji Jaga asked. Before this group of veterans took the lead in molding the veteran experience at CCC, and finding the right information was not a smoothly functioning process. Current Veterans Club Vice President Zachary Frappier remembers the chore of finding veterans services when he began attending CCC. “When I came here, nobody spoke to me about being a veteran or helped in setting up my class schedule. I had to seek out that information myself,” he said. “Once I found the center, myself Dedan

(Ji Jaga) and some other individuals created bylaws and established a veterans club.” After establishing the club through Student Life, Frappier said veterans were able to travel to a conference and learned new methods to assist vets in transition. Now, all the veterans say they need to return CCC’s veterans service programs back to offering vets the backing they deserve is support and access onto the decision-making committees. “Hopefully, when we have this effort more organized, we can enlist more of the existing knowledge,” Dr. Tsang said. “It’s doable. It just takes time and resolve.” No definite solutions were brokered by the end of the hour-long meeting.




Baseball dreams fuel aspirations


Next-level talent drives local pitcher to strive for NCAA dreams, possible professional career



Leadership personified By Anthony Kinney associate editor

By Michael Santone associate editor

Since the dawn of time, leaders have been defined by their actions when called upon for duty. Leaders are expected to stand poised and prepared, ready to strike when their name is called. But more importantly, leaders are role models to their peers and an example of what is possible. Comet forward Jahna Maramba is a true representation of a leader. For her relentless effort on the basketball court, Maramba has been named The Advocate’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2017-18. Stepping up as the Comets’ lone leader after star point guard Dierra Mize fell to injury midway through the season, Maramba showcased her indisputable skill through vigorous effort and admirable leadership in every Comet match-up. Her performance through the season earned her a spot on the All-Bay Valley Conference team this year as well as the opportunity to play in the Sophomore Showcase event. Maramba accounts her successes on and off the court, to her unfaltering competitive drive and stiff-necked determination for overcoming challenges. With Mize sitting out for the rest of the season due to injuries from an auto accident, Maramba took the opportunity to stand up and show spectators she too possesses the necessary skill and mindset to be considered an elite leader for the team. “Being the leader on the court, you have to set the standard for the team,” the Comet forward said confidently. “I know if I’m solely focused on getting to the basket or getting back on defense, everybody follows suit. My attitude on the court is focused on team effort and team cohesion.” Though the Comets suffered a losing season (6-20 overall and 3-13 in the BVC), the finesse-filled forward carried the offense as the team’s top scorer in most of the Comets’ matches, scoring less than 10 points in only four of the season’s games. Willing to drive hard in the paint and draw the foul, Maramba finished the season third in the conference in free throw attempts. Her season high in points came in an 87-62 loss to Butte College, in which she finished with 26 points. Maramba made 11 of her 15 field goal attempts and made it to the free throw line seven times, scoring four of her attempts. Mize, who was selected as last year’s female athlete of the year and teammate of Maramba’s said she was happy when she heard that Maramba was awarded the honor. “She put in work all season, holding it down on both offense and defensive,” the Comet point guard said. “She definitely deserves it.” “We were both captains and after I got hurt she had to step up and do it by herself and she did a good job at it.” Maramba’s determination also led the Comets in their last victory of the season, a 53-46 win against Yuba, where she made 3 assists, 3 steals, 5 rebounds and the team high of 23 points. CCC’s women’s basketball coach Vincent Shaw said that Maramba always worked hard and was a team player on the court. He said though she’s an elite scorer on the court, she also has a selfless leader mentality that moves her to always look to get the ball in her teammates’ hands. “She’s so unselfish. Some games demanded her to be more selfish but that just isn’t in her,” coach Shaw said. “She always plays hard and with a team spirit. She was a calming presence on the court, when she’s around, the vibe is good.” Maramba recently committed to Holy Names University with an athletic and academic scholarship, which she considers her greatest achievement yet. “I promised my mom years ago I would do it and I did,” Maramba said. “It was the greatest feeling in the world to hear her bawl with tears of joy. I just want to keep making her proud.” Utilizing the same competitive instincts she relies on to impose dominance on the court, the business administration major plans on focusing on the management aspect of business when she enrolls at Holy Names in the fall. Maramba said upon her graduation from HNU she plans to use her degree to secure a high-level role with Twitter, her former employer or apply at the tech giant Google for a team management position, two jobs that she feels being a leader on the basketball court prepared her for. “I’ve gotten used to being a leader and comfortable with directing people. That confidence came from the court,” she said. “I also learn that it takes a team to win, no one can do it alone. Every good leader knows that.”

Childhood aspirations of future careers come in many different forms. However, the opportunity to manifest them lie in the perseverance and dedication of pursuing adolescent dreams. For Contra Costa College pitcher Jake Dent, living and breathing baseball has been a way of life since he was 3 years old. “My dad was my coach and got me into Little League and ever since then I had a passion for it,” Dent said. “I played third base for a while and have always been an average hitter up until college, but I had an above average arm that could throw strikes” Through adamant encouragement from his parents, Dent faced the struggles of size difference and competitiveness as he transitioned from playing with local teams to playing travel ball around the Bay Area. “I was above average as a kid and then coming into middle school I got into better competition and I jumped back to below average,” he said. “This kind of discouraged me from wanting to play but I overcame that and trained more.” Being trained on improving skills such as accuracy, speed and release point by personal coaches, Dent’s determination prevailed. His work ethic yielded growth that began to outshine his opponents. “One of my coaches, Mike Lee, once told me, you have to go out there and want the game. You gotta want to win every single game and go out there like you’re that guy,” Dent said. “I looked at from another perspective — like it’s not little league anymore.” But once getting to high school, Dent realized the true potential of his powerful arm and began harnessing his pitching abilities and focusing them toward strikeouts and team wins. “Because I went to those coaches, I was a lot better than the competition we played,” he said. With years of experience and growth within the constructs of baseball, Dent, after graduating from Pinole Valley High School, enrolled at CCC in 2015 with hopes of honing his pitching and leadership skills. In his first year as a Comet, Dent threw 85 to 86 mph pitches, however, after working out prior to his sophomore season, the pitcher raised his MPH to 92 miles per hour on the radar gun. “I told him (Dent) one day that he has the chance to get drafted,” CCC pitching coach Josh Cephas said. “He (Dent) started going to the gym every day and lost a lot of weight. Jake (Dent) likes to be the stand out guy but he works hard every day and wants to be better than everyone he is playing with and against.” Providing a beacon of hope for a Comet baseball team that struggled throughout most of the 2018 season, Dent’s 13 starting appearances was a much need weapon for vital wins. With 53 strikeouts, four wins, eight loses and 88.2 innings pitched, Dent provided momentum and sustainability for the team when needed the most. “Jake (Dent) was the leader of the team this year and someone everyone looked up to,” fellow sophomore pitcher Kyle Brown said. “He was our best pitcher and arguably the best pitcher in the league if you ask us. Everyone really looked at him as the guy. We knew that we needed to follow his lead to try and get to where we wanted to be.” Brown, who has known Dent since the eighth grade, said Dent is a game changer who brought star power to the team. “His arm might hurt but he will still go out there and do his thing or whatever coach is asking him to do,” Brown said. “He’s a very good leader that never backs down from a challenge. So, you kind of take that and build around it.” Dent, who is majoring in kinesiology plans to transfer to Sonoma State where he will play baseball for two years. “After I graduate from a university, I plan to go into the draft as a pitcher and work my way up.”


Campus in flux shows athletics is no different By Efrain Valdez social media editor

In a year of excitement due to the upcoming renovations for the athletic department’s buildings, the fall sports teams failed to reciprocate an enhanced level of excitement on the field. The 2018-19 school year at Contra Costa College featured no playoff appearances by any of its teams for the fall or spring semesters. One of the surprises of the fall season was the men’s soccer team’s (7-7-5 overall) failure to win its third consecutive Bay Valley Conference championship and fourth consecutive state playoff berth. After beating Napa Valley (12-7-0 overall) by a 4-1 margin Nov. 8 at home in the second to last game of the season, the Comets just had to acquire a draw that following Friday (Nov. 10) in the away game against Napa to win the championship. “I felt like our overall season was a disap-

pointment because we didn’t get the conference championship that we were expecting,” Comet defender Raul Garcia said. Not winning the conference was unexpected but the growth that the soccer program has seen over the last few years is evident under the leadership of men’s soccer coach Nikki Ferguson. What hindered the team’s chances at the championship was drawing the home conference game against Merritt College (Oct. 6) and losing against to them away (Oct. 27). “Although I said this season was a disappointment, there was a lot of learning lessons throughout the season that helped me get better as a player,” Garcia said. He also said that losing the conference championship this year has fueled the team to get better and correct its mistakes to better prepare for the upcoming season. The near miracle of the season was the congregation of the women’s soccer team (1-12-0 overall) that played 13 games this season. Even though a hand full of games were canceled due to the North Bay fires and lack of attendance, this was the first-time in 2 years that a CCC women’s soccer team has graced a soccer pitch. CCC women’s soccer coach Manish Doshi said this season’s primary goal was to put a team on the field. In the past, the Comets have had to cancel games and shorten seasons due to not having enough players. Doshi assured the team that he’s here to stay and that he is not going anywhere. He said that he is dedicated to helping build the women’s soccer team back to a competitive program. Even though the season came with some lopsided loses, the team could accomplish a win against Merritt at home (Nov. 7). The Comets lost four games by a single goal showing the progress they made in such a short time frame.

For the football team (0-9 overall), on the other hand, they failed to win a single game this year after struggling on offense for most of the year. During the first game of the season (Sept. 2), CCC failed to beat College of the Sequoias in a game where a first quarter safety proved to be the difference. In the following game against Sacramento City College (Sept. 8), CCC held an early second quarter 7-0 lead. Immediately after the Comet score, Sacramento scored on a 55-yard touchdown run to tie the ballgame. Under a minute left in the seco n d quarter, the Panthers scored on a 24-yard punt return and then a twoplay, 59-yard drive that extended the Sacramento lead to 21-7. From there, the Comet football team went on to lose six games by 28-point margins or more. The women’s volleyball team (5-16 overall), finished the season without winning consecutive games. Despite not having an big roster, the team was still able to win sets in many games and were able to complete the full season. Comet volleyball coach Christy Tianero said that the low participation is due to some athletes who want to only focus on school and others don’t want to go to school at all.

RIGHT: A Comet player slides safely into second base during Contra Costa College’s 8-2 win against Yuba College on April 14 on the Comet Baseball Field.

Setbacks, injuries impede success Hopeful seasons end in frustration for Comet participants, programs By Robert Clinton opinion editor


Contra Costa College wide receiver Semaj Mitchell makes a catch above Ram defensive back Tyrik Mack during City College of San Francisco’s 62-6 win.

In years past, spring athletics at Contra Costa College offered a balance of hope and unrealized expectations for the sports teams and 2017-18 would prove to be no different. For the second season in a row, the softball team failed to produce enough players to field a regulation team and was forced to forfeit all of their games in the Bay Valley Conference. After failing to field a team for consecutive seasons, Athletic Director John Wade fired softball coach Karolyn Gubbine at the conclusion of the season. Even when teams were able to complete the entirety of their playing schedule, finding the correct recipe for consistent winning remained patently unattainable. “I thought we would have been competing for a Bay Valley Conference title,” coach Vince Shaw said. “Even with injuries and

other circumstances, which I know are a part of the game, I think the girls came out to compete every night and that’s all you can ask for.” Despite lofty hopes to climb back into contention for the Bay Valley Conference title, the women’s and men’s basketball teams both failed to capture their expected goals of reaching post-season play. The Comet women’s basketball team (6-20 overall and 3-13 in the BVC) began the 2017 campaign with hopes of eclipsing the record of the previous seasons team. However, injuries to players at key position forced Shaw to adjust his game plan to fit his young newlook roster. Through the season, the team diligently fought opponents with deeper rosters, but more often than not, the team fell victim to its own shortcomings. The Comet men’s basketball team fared better, but their success was still short of the expectations that the coaching staff placed on the freshman-heavy team. More than half of the team this season were freshman. “When the season started we didn’t know what to expect because we had so many freshmen. We knew we wanted to play hard and see what we had,” assistant coach Jason Maples said. “We beat four of the top teams in Northern California. But in conference play, things just fell apart.”

Early in the season, the team had big wins in the City College of San Francisco tournament. The overwhelming bulk of the Comet offensive production was provided by the team’s freshman. That early success crept into the psyche of the young team and admittedly led to a level of confidence bordering on arrogance. Comet guard Isaiah Attles made the best of his first BVC season averaging seven points, two rebounds and nearly two assists per game this season. “If I could go back and give myself a piece of advice, it would be to never get too high or too low,” he said. “We had some good wins in the beginning of the season but as a young freshman team, I think we got ahead of ourselves.” The Comet baseball team showed no cause for arrogance at any point this season. Touting a paltry (9-27 overall and 5-16 in the BVC) record, the team, which habitually fails to give its pitchers run support, lived up to its usual standard. Not all the team’s shortcomings could wholly be attributed to the team’s performance on the field, this past spring, at least at CCC, the baseball field could no longer be considered drought stricken. The weather phenomenon known as the pineapple express sent what was described as an airborne river head-on to Northern California sending the team’s schedule into disarray.


campus beat







Contra Costa College Bookstore textbook buyback Monday to Thursday, May 21-24.............9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 25..............................................9 a.m. to 3 p.m. PHOTO ID REQUIRED We pay up to 50% no matter where you bought your books. We buy books, even if you purchased them online. Bring all CDs, DVDs and supplemental materials with your textbooks.

All textbook rentals are due on Friday, May 25




I knew I’d be first or second. I am starting to gain more confidence and I knew I’d place in the top two. I had fun and enjoyed it.” — Mi’Jae “Vision” Wilson, biology major

LEFT: Biology major Mi’Jae “Vision” Wilson (right) performs an original song called “What They Gon’ Do” during her first place performance at the first annual Battle of Talents in the Campus Center Plaza on Thursday.

Talents collide at plaza XAVIER JOHNSON / THE ADVOCATE

second. I am starting to gain more confidence and I knew I’d place in the top two. I had fun and enjoyed it.” Rapper Mi’Jae “Vision” Wilson won Despite not performing for several a $200 scholarship award after taking years, Wilson’s fiery performance and first place for her performance in the crowd interaction showed the flair of a inaugural Battle of Talents in the Cam- seasoned performer with little rust. pus Center Plaza Thursday. “I’ve been writing songs since I was The biology major performed three 15 and rapping since I was 10,” Wilson songs, two being original, called “What said. “This is the first step of me getting They Gon’ Do (W.T.G.D)” and “Know.” back into performing.” Her first place victory was secured Among the seven performers, varithrough getting the loudest cheers ous experience levels were represented, among the seven competitors. such as the opening act where kinesiolMedical assisting major Joiee Chan ogy major Xavier Contreras performed won $170 for her second place finish an electric guitar jam. Contreras said and journalism major Michael Santone Battle of Talents was his first time ever won $150 for placing third. Award performing. money was provided by the Associated “I said you know what, YOLO I’m Student Union. gonna do it. It’s an experience. For me “We had enough on the budget to it was fear and nervousness, but I knew raise the scholarship amounts,” Astrid I’d learn from it,” Contreras said. Pumaricka, ASU vice president of club Other neophyte performers includaffairs, said. “Everyone is going to reed Santone who finished third off a ceive a certificate of participation and strong first-time stand-up comedy set we are planning to give a small award with various pop culture references to those who haven’t won anything.” and a heavy dose of self-deprecation. Wilson said, “I knew I’d be first or Santone was the solo non-musical By Xavier Johnson scene editor

act of the Battle of Talents. “I didn’t expect to take third. I saw the competition on audition day and I saw a lot of people that were very talented,” Santone said. While performers like Santone and Contreras lacked experience, there were some students that came in with substantial experience. Chan performed an original acoustic song “Good Circulation,” which earned her second place. She said Thursday was the first time she performed her original song in front of an audience and liked how the song flows when played live. “This is one of the favorite songs that I wrote. I would have preferred to be closer to the audience to better connect with them,” Chan said. Chan said when she writes songs like “Good Circulation” the lyrics are inspired by on-the-spot emotions and the melodies she comes up with throughout the songwriting process. Jshania Owens and her mother Jayme Suarez each performed solo singing sets with similar laid back

vibes. Owens performed two Amy Winehouse songs while Suarez performed “Killing Me Softly with His Song” by Fugees. Finishing off the event was a special performance by First Contact. ASU Senator Christopher Miller plays bass for the thrash metal quartet that sports significant accolades, like winning the 2013 Gorilla Music Oakland Battle of the Bands. The event, sponsored by the ASU and Outdoor Adventure Klub, was also a vehicle to raise awareness about human trafficking in the Bay Area with a donation box available with the tagline “Unite Against Child Trafficking.” According to statistics from the Polaris Project, at least 56 percent of the victims of human trafficking around the world are women. In the United States, a particular problem is child trafficking with an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 prostituted children in the country, according to the Polaris Project.

Vocal performances to awe

Singers to showcase skill, musical prowess during gala rational for the students here,” Austin said. “Kalil Wilson is from our area and he earned Jazz choir vocalists are his master’s degree in music charged up from a successfrom UCLA.” ful performance at Carnegie It shows students how far Hall in New York City and are they can go with their musical bringing this energy home to talent, she said. Contra Costa College for their The invite extended to PDA, annual Jazz Vocal Gala Friday is not only because they are at 8 p.m. in the Knox Center. great performers, Austin said, “The Jazz Vocal Gala” will but because she wants to give include a different repertoire, prospective students a chance Choral Director Stephanie to see the quality of CCC’s Austin said. The same singers music program. from the Chamber Choir who The CCC Chamber Choir performed classical music at Singers, who will be performCarnegie Hall just last month ing their jazz work at the gala, will showcase the jazz vocal were selected from colleges songs they have they have and universities across the been working on all year. country for the recent CarneThe gala will include perfor- gie Hall performance known mances from the all the CCC as “Gotham SINGS!” that took jazz vocal choirs — the Jazz place on April 1. Of the three Singers, and the department’s colleges selected to perform at specialty groups Jazzanova and the event, CCC was the only Jazz-ology. The groups will be community college. performing songs by artists “We were the most diverse such as Cole Porter and James choir,” Katrina Garcia, an alto Taylor. An arrangement of with Jazz Singers, said. “The Santana’s “Primavera,” preother choirs were all Caucapared by Dr. Austin, will be sian, so we fully repped the performed in Spanish. Bay Area,” The featured guest perThe choir had been preparformer is the Oakland-grown ing all year for the Carnegie jazz virtuoso and ethnomuHall performance. sicologist Kalil Wilson, along “We were told that of all the with a special performance choirs, we had the most comfrom American Canyon High plex music,” Garcia said. School’s Public Display of a “We demonstrated that it Cappella, or PDA. does not matter where you “I try to pick guest artists come from. If you put in the for the gala that will be inspiwork you can make it to CarBy Ryan Geller news editor

negie Hall,” Matthew Chamberlain, who sings bass with Jazzanova, said. Members of the choir are excited to present their work in the Knox Center for the local community. Erin Foreman, a tenor with Jazzanova, said, “We are not isolated, but we are up here in the Music Building, so we don’t get around on campus as much. Sometimes it feels like a lot of people don’t know what we do. This is our chance to show the campus what we have been working on.” Members of the jazz groups said that although the performance in New York was classical, the musicianship they learned from the experience has also brought their jazz work to a new level. Tyler Nguyen, a bass/tenor in Jazzanova, said, “We have done a lot of practice and a lot of drilling, but you also have to analyze the music. You have notes, pitch and rhythm but then you have to look at music as a whole; the emotion, the story, what you want to evoke in the audience. It’s like another dimension.” Chamberlain said, “It’s not really that we want the recognition, but we have been doing a lot of work and we want to share that. It’s going to be a good show because we are so pumped up from the success of New York.”

Vocal gala participants Contra Costa College’s Jazzanova, Jazz-ology

Oakland’s jazz musician Kalil Wilson

American Canyon High School’s Public Display of A Capella





TEAMS RACE SOLAR POWERED BOATS Photos by: Denis Perez & Leon Watkins For

more photos, please visit our website:

ABOVE: Political science major Ricky Cusgren raises his arms as he comes into shore after piloting a solar boat built by Astronomy 298 students at Contra Costa College during the 2018 Solar Regatta boat race at Seco Rio Rancho Recreational Area in Sacramento on May 5.

LEFT: Contra Costa College student Manuel Ayala makes adjustments to a solar boar built by the CCC Astronomy 298 class during the 2018 Solar Regatta boat race at Seco Rio Rancho Recreational Area in Sacramento on May 5. The solar boat was put through an endurance test, a sprint test and a maneuvering test.

Arcadia High School senior Renee Heinrichs presents her team’s solar boat design to judges during the 2018 Solar Regatta boat race at Seco Rio Rancho Recreational Area in Sacramento on May 5. Arcadia was the only high school team invited to compete in at the collegiate level.

Sonoma State University electro-mechanical engineering major Ally Wright loses power on her solar boat as she tries to talk to her teammates through a walkie-talkie during the 2018 Solar Regatta boat race at Seco Rio Rancho Recreational Area on May 5.

LEFT: The Judges Choice Award was given to the Contra Costa College team for its consistent performance in its first year of competition during the 2018 Solar Regatta boat race at Seco Rio Rancho Recreational Area on May 5.


Search for LGBTQ superheroes continues



SUMMER FILM SEASON DROPS FAN-FRIENDLY FAVORITES Reboots, sequels top list of films that fans are most eager to wait in line to see. PAGES B4-B5

Local artists showcase activism, flair during exhibit PAGES B7


EOPS students braved unseasonably warm weather to share experiences and receive accommodations from counselors during the EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs Graduation Celebration Friday in the Amphitheater.

Ceremony honors graduates By Benjamin Bassham news editor

A crowd filed into the Student and Administration Building’s Amphitheater to take in the sun and drifting particles of seed-fluff floating in from the stretch of Rheem Creek by the Library and Learning Resource Center. George Mills, EOPS/CARE/ CalWORKs manager, said, “Yeah, it’s a little bit toasty out here, but we’ll make it work.” It was Friday and the 15th Annual Student Recognition Reception for EOPS/CARE and CalWORKs. Mills said the ceremony honored the students participating in those programs who had earned one or more of various scholarships, associate of arts degrees and certificates of completion or achievement. About 70 showed up to receive their recognition in person, and a selection of certificates, medallions, EOPS

branded stoles. A supply of paper umbrellas and straw hats were thoughtfully provided to alleviate the heat. EOPS Coordinator Dionne Perez said, “I’ll claim that. I ordered them (the umbrellas).” Some of the 45 scholarship earners had attended a similar ceremony in the Knox Center, giving collegewide recognition of scholarships. Perez said this ceremony has never graced the Knox Center, come rain or heat. “We never had the audience (to use the Knox Center). We couldn’t fill the theater.” But the audience waited patiently, crowded under whatever shade they could find. As Perez said, this was an audience of family and friends. Keynote speaker Domonique Lynn Ousborn, a 2014 EOPS graduate, flew back from New York University to address the crowd. She said, “I am a product of

the southside of Richmond.” She said she was the first in her family to complete college, and she barely graduated high school. “I was called here to plant a seed that I believe will inspire you to continue to move forward in life. No matter how sour the lemons, at least try to make something that resembles lemonade.” She detailed her journey away from, then back to college. “I had heard of the EOPS Office from a classmate. She shared if I go to three counseling appointments a semester, they will give you a book voucher. That was enticing because paying $80 for a book was expensive,” she said. Partway through her iPad, sitting on the sunny podium, overheated and shut down, so she proceeded from memory. “Reflecting back to the moments I sat in Ms. Perez office, I know now I was afraid

of taking a chance on myself. It was Dr. (Vern) Cromartie, professor (Barbara) McClain, professor (Carolyn) Hodge, Ms. Perez and countless others who spoke over my life that has me here today.” UC Davis student Nicholas Kavuma, a former CalWORKs/ EOPS student, elected to set aside his own iPad in solidarity with Ousborn. He said, “Last year I was where you guys are sitting. We all have different whys (reasons we are here).” He enrolled at Contra Costa College and was introduced to EOPS. In 2017 he lost his apartment. “I became homeless,” he said. But CalWORKs makes it possible to succeed. “The counselors made me believe I could do it. Contra Costa prepares us to be resilient. The struggle out there is for the fittest. If you are not fit, you will not survive.”

Santone runs without contest By Denis Perez editor-in-chief



‘KOD’ album sparks drug abuse debate PAGE B8

he editor-in-chief position at Contra Costa College’s national award-winning publication, The Advocate, has for decades primed student-journalists for success at the professional level. Current Associate Editor Michael Santone said his drive to become a strong journalist has drawn him to the highest position in CCC’s student news organization. Therefore, Santone will take the lead as editor-in-chief of The Advocate, its website ( and its social media sites for the 201819 academic school year after winning an unopposed election during the News Production class in AA-215 on May 9. Journalism department Chairperson Paul “The Kid” DeBolt said Santone has the ability to inspire people to do things they didn’t know they could do. DeBolt said that running a student publication, as Santone will do next year, is always interesting because troubles always arise. “The Advocate pushes (staffers) to do more,” he said. Santone came onto the staff as a writer, but he has grown steadily through his four semesters contributing to The Advocate. Santone has

branched out to broadcast journalism and even photography. DeBolt said Santone is flexible and is very good with people. Because of that he has high expectations for Santone and the staff next year. Associate Editor Anthony Kinney said Santone has the ability to be a role model to his staff because Santone sets a high standard for himself that he can use to motivate those around him. “His (Santone) mindset is one of confidence. It reflects in his daily life,” Kinney said. Kinney has worked with Santone for two years on The Advocate. They began writing for the news organization during the same semester. After noticing that the pair shares an enticing chemistry through their conversations, they decided to produce a full series of podcasts called “Verbal Rhapsody.” “A lot of the concepts and ideas we talked about were Michael’s ideas,” Kinney, Santone’s podcast co-host, said. “He always has drive.” Santone said he has never been put in a situation like that of editor-in-chief (EIC) of a news organization. “I am excited to grow,” he said. A lot of the roles of the EIC will be new to Santone, but he said his organizational skills will keep things running smoothly and he hopes


Newly elected Advocate Editor-in-Chief Michael Santone speaks to the staff during the election process on May 9 in AA-215.

his communication skills will help him gain control of the fast-moving newsroom staff. “I want to be able to get people to do what they are assigned,” he said. “I want to be a support system for them and help them learn how to write.” Santone said the newspaper and its essence are important for the community college and the district as a whole. He said there is a growing audience of people who want better news and a group of people that want to learn how to

deliver that news. Santone said that he sees that the younger generations are media-centric and look to online sites to find their news. “I want to capture more people, get them to know about us and spread news through many platforms,” he said. Opinion Editor Robert Clinton said if Santone approaches his editorship with the mentality of a venture capitalist, he has the opportunity to reorganize The Advocate to run at a higher efficiency.





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ILLUSION OF FREEDOM Corporate policies incentivise evil


merica got it wrong about property from the very beginning. The founders of this nation saw other humans as property. The government of this nation has enshrined genocidal maniacs on its money to remind us all that property is legitimized from behind the barrel of a gun. The completely wrong-headed ideas of slavery and manifest destiny continue today behind layers of false democracy and public relations campaigns. The powerful rule, and they take what they want and call that property. The wealth that built Eurocentric economic institutions was stolen when the Spanish callously enslaved the indigenous peoples of America in gold and silver mines and channeled that wealth into the industrialization of western Europe. Humans as property of white Europeans provided the labor that was the basis of U.S. industrialization. Flushed with pride and righteousness, Europeans called their brutality a God-given destiny, but it was slavery that fueled the U.S. economy and propelled the murderous regime westward. These actions are now widely repudiated but the system of property that flows from these crimes remains in place. American democracy is a thin but highly celebrated veneer. The corporate lobbyists, free speech campaign contributions, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, voter suppression and disenfranchisement are all out in the open and in plain sight. Inequality in access to education has long been a major democratic concern. As modern technology began to level the playing field, the government moves to suppress the free exchange of information. Our traditional news institutions, intended to serve as the peoples’ information conduit, are consolidated in the hands of entrenched power structures. Even the news organizations that are considered liberal fall blindly in line whenever it’s time to drum up patriotism and support for military aggression as the New York Times did in the lead up to the second Iraq war. American democracy is just white

ryangeller supremacy in disguise. It’s an extension of manifest destiny and an extension of people as property. The United States is continuing the same genocidal and enslavement policies that birthed this nation. U.S. foreign policy facilitates the theft of resources from underdeveloped countries with its aircraft carriers, nuclear silos and drone bases. The wealth from the raw materials of the global south is funneled into corporate profits rather than the education, infraThis is structure, and social the idea services needed to lift struggling nations out of of poverty. With their wealth manifest stolen and their environment and food destiny systems polluted from resource extraction, the all over peoples of these nations continue to be a vulagain. nerable and inexpensive workforce. Banking institutions callously enrich themselves from the theft of raw materials, while proudly offering “economic development” in the form of slave wage jobs stitching western clothing or mining the coltan for electronics. Of course, the U.S. creates layers of separation, we don’t do our own dirty work. The U.S. sends the CIA to install leaders who will sell out the people of foreign lands to big business interests. Then, U.S. arms industries provide the weapons for CIA puppets to violently suppress peoples’ revolutions. The primarily white American middle class has accepted this global kleptocracy in exchange for protection of their meager holdings by violent police forces at home. The grotesque public spectacle of

lynching has gone out of style, but the mechanisms to violently enforce white supremacy are functioning better than ever. The U.S. military, and all its intelligence and black ops services, terrorizes black and brown people around the world to generate massive profits for the corporate superstructure — while white middle class liberals look the other way. It’s a convenient excuse to lament yet another osculation of right wing fascism as a consequence of a complicated “democracy.” The Trump voters of this country have always known what they are fighting for, they want militarism and global dominance that ensures western white superiority. It’s America’s educated liberals class who want the benefits of white supremacy wrapped in plausible denial. Ending white supremacy in the U.S. and around the globe means a safer more prosperous world for everyone. Movements for reparations and for the return of lands to native peoples are not just about compensation for past crimes. Reparations and aboriginal land rights movements are about putting in place real systems of democracy and accountability. The ability to control resources including land, labor and water is what generates power. Beneath the myth of American democracy, the real decisions are made in corporate board rooms by the ultra-wealthy who control the flow of resources. True democracy requires equality of power and equal access to resources, information, education, technology and development. A system in which a few so-called democracies control the flow of resources through military might, without international accountability, is not democracy — it is violently enforced supremacy. Indigenous peoples throughout the world have expressed values that pertain to the well being of future generations and the health of ecosystems. Africans and African-Americans have led the world with concepts of social justice, civil and human rights. We are cutting ourselves off from an incredible knowledge, philosophy and wisdom when we do not create inclusive systems of democracy. If all peoples were represented

fairly in global decision making we would not be suffering the same selfish power-hungry world that has been created and upheld by white, western businessmen. If people are to have equal decision-making power in global democratic institutions, then they must have equal access to resources, information, education, technology and development funding. Real democracy is a scary concept. There are so many violent evil people in the world and we need that military to protect us, so the story goes. But violent evil people don’t only exist only in other nations — we produce them here at home as well. There needs to be equal accountability for violent destructive behavior whether it is perpetrated by a U.S. business executive or a Nigerian fisherman. We need accountability for nations like Israel and Saudi Arabia just as much as we need accountability for North Korea and Iran. There is no clearer example of western white supremacy than the hypocrisy of the U.S. weapons arsenal. The U.S. clearly holds itself superior to other nations in its ability to responsibly wield nuclear weapons. This is the idea of manifest destiny all over again. There are no special God-given abilities that allow the U.S. to behave more responsibly with nukes than other nuclear-capable nations. If Iran should not have nuclear weapons than neither should the U.S. The problem with letting go of violence is that you have to come to agreements that are equitable to all parties involved. You have to create systems of laws and accountability that are just. Laws should respect other people as equal human beings rather than treating others as resource that can be dominated with military might. Finding ways to respect all humans and to respect life is a difficult challenge, but if we don’t make strides in toward peace, diplomacy and equal protection under the law then we will continually be at war. Ryan Geller is a news editor for The Advocate. Contact him at


Wondering which direction your dreams may take you? Find your path, explore social media, photography, design, writing, editing, the web and more.

Join The Advocate staff. Visit us in AA-215 and online at ILLUSTRATION BY ISAAC BENAVIDES / THE ADVOCATE SPECIAL TO / THE ADVOCATE





n America, the scourge of over-prescribing drugs with minimal supervision is ruining families. The problems don’t only stem from abuse. Doctors are as much to blame for the destruction of unsuspecting families in far-flung corners of the U.S. as any inner-city drug dealer ever was. I have been a witness to members of my own family becoming enslaved by, and addicted to, pharmaceuticals prescribed by doctors under the guise of helping them with medical problems. However, rather than finding the root of the problems at hand, they worsen the situation by cross-prescribing medications, which over time leads to death or even suicide. I feel the government orchestrates many of these complications to further their ultimate goal of population and profit control. Drug industry lobbyists legally bribe politicians to support legislation that will boost pharmaceutical sales. Inevitably, the over saturation of the country with legal drugs leads to common people dying in uncommon ways. The side effects of my aunt’s medications and complications heightened by her bipolar disorder drove her to take her life two years ago by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. My mother also has bipolar disorder and was on medications that cause debilitating side effects like memory loss, fainting and high blood pressure. Her twin sister suffers from fibromyalgia and was prescribed pain medications that kept her “doped up” in bed. My dad’s brother in-law passed away a year ago. He suffered from diabetes and had to take certain medications. My dad’s mother suffered from heart disease and high blood pressure and she passed away 10 years ago from an aortic explosion. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in an article by Dr. Tom Frieden, data shows up to 40 percent of annual deaths are from one of the five leading causes of death in the U.S. The leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, stroke and unintentional injuries. Information suggests 34 percent of these deaths are caused by heart disease, 21 percent by cancer and 33 percent are caused by stroke. Instead of doctors getting to the root of health problems and finding more natural pathways toward cures, they keep pumping people with medications and draining the pockets of citizens. What easier way to make health and medical problems for people than to prescribe them medications that will eventually kill them. If we want to see a positive change and stop seeing so much sickness, addiction and death, we need to come together. As socialist minister Francis Bellamy said in the Pledge of Allegiance, “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Jessica Suico is an assistant news editor at The Advocate. Contact her at





Hollywood lacks gay superhero T

here’s something about the banality of superhero movies that I’ve never liked. Kitsch alter egos embedded within the typical actionpacked scenarios have, for decades, created a genre that’s fueled America’s obsession with the hero and villain story arc. But after watching Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” this past week, I discovered that my disconnect with the franchise isn’t due to the production value but due to the superheroes themselves. Since the dawn of the famed mask and cape characters that began gracing the pages of comic books in the late 1930s, their lifestyles and back stories have all followed a similar path. Captain America, Doctor Strange, Batman and even Superman have all starred in their own motion pictures that didn’t deviate from the cookie-cutter storyline of hetero-masculinity and damsel-in-distress romance. Staying true to the creators’ roots, Hollywood adaptations of superhero movies follow the systematic status quo of Caucasian actors and heterosexuality, which is not a realistic depiction of society anymore. It wasn’t until this year, with the release of Marvel’s Afrocentric “Black Panther,” that the true essence of what a superhero movie can do for a community was exposed. Grossing nearly $1.1 billion since its February release, “Black Panther” breaks stereotypical norms becoming a role model as the first African-American superhero fighting for his oppressed people. Although the comic book character debuted in 1966, it took Marvel five decades to bring “Black Panther” to the big screen, marking the 18th superhero film of its franchise.

michaelsantone But as those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community continue their search for role models outside of pop divas and fashion designers, a superhero who shares the struggles but can save the world could be a much-needed backbone for a neglected community. Contrary to popular belief, at least for those who aren’t comic book nerds, LGBTQ superheroes do exist. First debuting in a 1979 edition of “X-Men,” Northstar was the first openly gay superhero in American comic books and the first openly gay character to be featured by Marvel comics. Possessing the ability to travel at superhuman speeds, fly and project photonic energy blasts, Northstar’s back story centers on the struggles of adoption and him coming to terms with his mutated abilities. Over the years and throughout many different versions of “X-Men,” Northstar has been portrayed as a closeted gay male. But in 1992 writer Scott Lobdell was given permission to properly expose his sexuality. From then on Northstar found himself falling in love with Ice Man to subsequently marrying his husband in what is considered to be one of the first depictions of same-sex marriage in mainstream comics.

This type of representation, which breaks free from the stereotypical roles of “gay sidekick,” is long overdue. But where is the movie? For many, including myself, the normalization of the LGBTQ community throughout mainstream society has been filled with roadblocks of stepping stones. Although strides have been made throughout many facets of life, the Hollywood movie scene still seems to be struggling to interpret the LGBTQ lifestyle in a positive light. However Northstar is only one of many interesting LGBTQ superheroes who sadly

have not had the opportunity to grow into notable on-screen obsessions. The time has come for the world to see the LGBTQ community fight crime, save the world and fall in love without some sudden plot twist that turns everything into a joke.

Michael Santone is an associate editor for The Advocate. Contact him at msantone.


Perfect body image is an illusion


ith summer just around the corner the pressure is on to achieve our “summer body” or our “bikini body.” Little do we know that there is no such thing. Take the body you have now, put a bikini or swimsuit on it and there you have your summer body. Over the years I have talked with and posted about self-love and body positivity. I hype up anyone who thinks of themselves as anything other than beautiful, but I almost feel like it’s ironic because I still struggle with it every day. At one point, my body was my worst enemy. But I am coming to realize the obvious; not everyone’s body is built the same and it is impossible for anyone to force their body into an unrealistic mold — especially a mold that is governed by society’s abstract standards. It is no secret that the majority of us look up to or have looked up to someone who flaunts a body like the ones in the magazines. Logging onto different social media platforms, watching television and in every magazine, you see these objects of affection inspiring people to live up an unattainable standard. Creating a false mold that everyone expects to fit into during the summer is no trend it’s something that happens every year. We try to shove ourselves into them. I have sought out body toning workouts for summer. Seeing advertisements that read “How to lose 30 pounds in just 2 weeks!” or “Get a bikini body in 4 weeks” is quite unhealthy, but somehow I am compelled to read them. It seems like the warmer the weather

alondragallardo gets the more desperate we become to achieve this look or the more self-conscious we become toward our body and everything that comes it. At with Both lead to us damone point aging ourselves physically and mentally. I find it to be a nightmy body mare, picturing myself was out in public with summer clothing on while my the sun is beaming down on me, because my flaws worst are out in the open for everyone to see. enemy. Women are expected to be a certain height, not too short, not too tall, have a tiny waist and wide hips to form the perfect hourglass shape. We are expected to have clear flawless skin that is hair free, stretch mark free, and

blemish free. If a woman is “too” slim, she gets bashed and called a stick or anorexic and gets told to go eat something. If a woman is not a size four she gets called fat and gets told to stop eating and go exercise. If the only women allowed to wear swimsuits were the ones who looked like television stars, then there would be no one wearing swimsuits. Reality has been distorted and now photoshopped images define who we have come to look up to. Rather than accepting what women actually look like, people, sometimes total strangers, feel obligated to offer their 2 cents on what a woman can do to make herself look better. Keep your irrelevant thoughts to yourselves and come to realization that what we have come to praise and idolized is not real.. Alondra Gallardo is an opinion editor for The Advocate. Contact her at







Flicks splash onto silver screen The Advocate takes a sneak peek at summer films. Title: “Mission Impossible: Fallout” Genre: Action Release Date: July 27 Rating: Pg-13 Director: Christopher McQuarrie Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin

Title: “Jurassic World 2” Genre: Action Release Date: June 22 Rating: Pg-13 Director: J.A. Bayona Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Howard

Title: “The Incredibles” Genre: Action/Family Release Date: June 15 Rating: G Director: Brad Bird Starring: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson. Sarah Vowell

Title: “Ant-Man and the Wasp” Genre: Action Release Date: May 25 Rating: PG-13 Director: Ron Howard Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Erik Sommers

Title: “Slender Man” Genre: Horror Release Date: Aug. 24 Rating: no rating yet Director: Sylvain White Starring: Javier Botet, Joey King, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso

Title: “The Hereditary” Genre: Horror Release Date: June 8 Rating: R Director: Ari Aster Starring: Alex Wolff, Toni Collette, Gabriel Bryne Milly Shapiro

Synopsis: In the sixth Mission Impossible film, an IMF mission ends badly and it’s up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to go back in time and save the world. The CIA begins to question his loyalty and motives during his race against time as former allies and assassins go out on a hunt for him while still trying to prevent a global catastrophe.

Synopsis: In the fifth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise and sequel to the 2015 film “Jurassic World,” the dinosaurs are roaming freely on the island of Isla Nublar after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park when a volcanic eruption threatens to destroy the island.

Synopsis: In this sequel to the 2004 film, this superhero family is back where it left off: defeating The Underminer. But the Parr family struggles to balance their normal lives as Helen, or Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), who fights crime, while Bob (Craig T. Nelson), Mr. Incredible, stays home watching Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner), and Jack-Jack. Their ally Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to fight alongside the Parrs when they go up against a new villain — Screenslaver.

Synopsis: Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) faces the consequences of his choices as both a father and superhero. Approached by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with a new mission, he puts on his AntMan suit once again and this time uncover secrets from his past. Ant-Man is joined by the Wasp (Evangeline Lily) in this sequel to the 2015 film as they fight crime together.

Synopsis: Four girls perform a ritual in their small town for Slender Man to debunk his existence. One girl goes missing and the longlimbed faceless figure is suspected to be responsible for the haunting, stalking and countless disappearances of her and even more victims.

Synopsis: After Ellen’s (Toni Collette) mother passes away, her husband Steve (Gabriel Bryne) is relieved that they can finally put their emotionally troubled relationship behind them. But her mother’s spirit soon begins to haunt her family as she sets off a chain of distressing events.

Title: “Ocean’s 8” Genre: Action Release Date: June 8 Rating: PG-13 Director: Gary Ross Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Akwafina Synopsis: The Ocean’s franchise is back with an all-female lead as Danny Ocean’s sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock) pulls off the biggest heist of her life at the annual Met Gala in New York City. Planning during her years in prison, Debbie teams up with her best friend Lou Miller (Cate Blanchett) to recruit jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), street con Constance (Akwafina), suburban mom Tammy (Sarah Paulson), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), and fashion Designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter) to steal a $150 billion necklace.

Title: “Deadpool 2” Genre: Action Release Date: May 18 Rating: R Director: David Leitch Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morenna Baccarin, Terry Crews Synopsis: Ryan Reynolds returns as Deadpool to form a team of mutants called the X-Force and protect mutant Russell from time-traveling soldier Cable (Josh Brolin). Director David Leitch keeps the parodies and often inappropriate punch lines going in the sequel as Deadpool recruits Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), and Domino (Zazie Beetz) on his team. The film’s storyline will also follow up to the upcoming X-Men spin-off “The New Mutants.”

Title: “Black Klansman” Genre: Drama Release Date: Aug. 10 Rating: N/a Director: David Leitch Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace

Title: “Sorry to Bother You” Genre: Fantasy Release Date: July 6 Rating: N/a Director: Boots Riley Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermain Fowler

Synopsis: Colorado Springs, Colorado’s first African-American police officer Ron Stallworth,infiltrates the Klu Klux Klan in 1979. With the help of his partner Flip Zimmerman, the pair penetrate the KKK’s hidden society. Zimmerman and Stallworth risk their lives as they trick the klan.

Synopsis: Telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) lives in an alternate present-day version of Oakland. After many unsuccessful salesman pitches using his own voice, he opts for a “whiter” tone, boosting his popularity at work and gaining attention from high-profile businessmen with the worst intentions.




Loved counselor retires By Ryan Geller news editor

Counselors keep peeking out their door looking at the empty snack table, wondering why it’s so quiet, waiting for a chance to break up their daily tasks and assist with one of counselor Suzanne Huey’s easily solved IT crises. But the familiar call never comes. Huey is home in bed, sleeping in. After over 35 years of counseling students, she has crafted an education plan for herself. “I plan to take it easy. I plan to learn some new things like how to play the piano, and I want to do more gardening,” she said. Huey retired in December from Contra Costa College’s counseling department, where she had worked for over 18 years. She also has experience counseling students at the San Mateo and Peralta community college districts. Although her ed plan for retirement is simple, some folks at the counseling department are hoping she won’t follow it. “You can return to work (part time) six months after you retire, so I think we will see her again. But for now it’s a big loss to the department,” said counselor Robert Webster, who worked in the office next door to Huey and was hired into the counseling department around the same time. Huey came to the United States from Hong Kong when she was 13 years old, so working with immigrant students became her natural specialty. “English is my second language, so I understood the problems of international students, the cultural adjustment and their academic concerns,” Huey said. She always encourages international students to make friends outside of the social networks that they are comfortable with. Today’s workforce is diverse, she said. People can miss out on opportunities if they don’t learn to interact with the multicultural society in the United States. Huey’s family emigrated to Modesto where there were not many other Chinese immigrants for her to connect with. “I’m sure I would not have learned English as fast if I had had more Chinese DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE Former Contra Costa College counselor Suzanne Huey walks back to her seat after friends,” Huey said. Even though Huey knows how scary it receiving an award during the college’s 2018 retirement ceremony in Fireside Hall can be as an ESL student, she said that you on Friday. have to push your comfort zone to really

make progress with English and adapt to life in the U.S. “When I was learning there were no ESL programs. They put me in class with other (English speaking) students. If I did not know the word I would write it down on a list and I would go home and look them all up in the dictionary.” In addition to counseling, Huey has also taught the Personal Development course (Psychology 103A) at CCC. She recommends that course, as well as Counseling 120 (Managing College Success and Life Transitions) for students who are just starting out at community college. “These classes help you understand your own values. Sometimes students are trying to be what their parents want them to be,” Huey said. If students take the time to learn about themselves it can really help them focus on their educational and career goals, she said. “Patience and persistence are important. The real world is discouraging, but if you have endurance and a goal, the other parts will follow. If students stick around at community college and talk to one of us (counselors) they will find a class they like and that can lead to an enjoyable career,” Huey said. She said she wants students to take stock of their own interests rather than choosing a career based on financial compensation. “If you listen to your heart and do something that you love, society has a place for you. It’s important to trust that,” she said. “If you have the desire to be successful, generally speaking, it can be done, even if you come from a lower-income community or don’t have family support,” she said. “This country has a class system — if you are from a poor class the way to break through that is to get an education.” Instructional assistant Jena Hornbuckle said, “We miss Suzanne because she is so funny and unique. Well, it’s hard to describe. She was always available to talk and listen and the snacks she brought to share were always really, really good.” Webster had a sneaking suspicion that Huey might have had a vicarious snacking habit. “She is diabetic, so some of the snacks that she brought she could not eat herself,” he said. Maybe it was just her way of keeping up the energy up around the office.

NURSING MENTOR, PROFESSOR MOVES ON Cherished professor prepares for retirement By Anthony Kinney associate editor

When reminiscing about her days as a student absorbing the dexterity and discipline she now instills in the aspiring nurses that journey through Contra Costa College’s nursing program, medical-surgical nursing professor Fran Jacobs-Buster is reminded how much CCC means to her. “This place gave me my whole life,” the seasoned caregiver said in her festively decorated cubicle office. “I went to nursing school here. It gave me the tools to have a career as an RN (registered nurse) in hospitals and then gave me a job as a faculty member.” “I’m so grateful for this college because it all came from here.” After 27 years as an admirable professor and mentor in CCC’s nursing department, Jacobs-Buster is retiring at the end of the spring semester in June. “It’s time for me to enjoy life,” she said describing her retirement plans. “I’m going to travel the country.” Growing up in Oakland, Jacobs-Buster graduated from Skyline High School and attended Cal State-East Bay where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In 1987, she enrolled in CCC’s nursing program and began the journey toward her life work as a registered nurse. She graduated from the program in 1989. Upon graduation, she worked at various hospitals around the Bay Area including at Kaiser hospitals and Brookside Hospital in San Pablo. Jacobs-Buster said she also spent summers working in Connecticut as a nurse for 10 years.

Although she began her part-time teaching career at CCC in 1991 as a substitute professor, she went on to further her education at UC San Francisco in 1995. From there she earned her master’s degree in science and the distinguished title of clinical nurse specialist in critical care/trauma. In 2010, she began teaching at CCC full time as a tenure-track assistant professor. Jacobs-Buster credits the significant number of dedicated caregivers she prepared for success in the medical field as her greatest achievement while working as a professor in CCC’s nursing department. Considered by her students as tough, but thorough, she brings years of real-life hospital experience and its associated asperities to her classroom lessons. Second-year nursing student Pam Macapagal said she heard about JacobsBuster’s rigor from family members who also were students of hers before she joined the program. “She’s known for asking tough questions, but that’s because she has a high standard for her students,” Macapagal said. “She’s confident, but through her lessons she’ll make you confident.” Macapagal, who’s currently taking Nursing 255, Intermediate Medical-Surgical and Psychiatric Nursing, with Jacobs-Buster, also said although the class is undoubtedly the hardest in the program, she considers Jacobs-Buster one of the most approachable and caring professors on campus. “She’s hard, but that’s because she’s passionate about what she teaches,” Macapagal said. Looking back over the 20 years of working with Jacobs-Buster in the nursing department, fellow professor Angela King-Jones described her good friend and as the consummate professor. “She loves what she does and she’s excel-


Nursing professor Fran Jacobs-Buster retires at the end of the semester in June after 27 years as a professor and mentor in Contra Costa College’s nursing program.

lent at it,” King-Jones said as her eyes filled with glee from characterizing her favorite office mate. “She can be my nurse any day.” The two formed a stalwart relationship that grew close over the years of socializing over the shared wall of their cubicles. King-Jones said Jacobs-Buster has earned an impressive reputation around the local medical scene for being an advocate on behalf of her patients and producing high-quality nurses through her preeminent guidance. “We really have cohesive faculty who

share the same passion for the common goal of making outstanding nurses for our future,” Jacobs-Buster said. She said after dedicating her life to helping others and priming the next generation of devoted nurses, she’s ready to “pass the torch” to her successors — the myriad of nurses she groomed for success in the medical field. Jacobs-Buster said the bonds she created with her students, co-workers and mentees is what she will miss the most.

Celebration praises, sends off retirees

Retiring music department Chairperson Wayne Organ hugs music department colleague Dr. Stephanie Austin during CCC’s retirement celebration in Fireside Hall on Friday.

Retired counselor Alfred Zuniga (right) claps as he walks up to the podium during CCC’s retirement celebration at Fireside Hall on Friday.





RELIGIOUS THREATS MOBILIZE COMMUNITY By Jessica Suico assistant news editor

After a global internet threat went out on April 2 encouraging a “Punish a Muslim Day,” the Contra Costa College counseling department responded with a community outreach awareness table for Muslim students in the Campus Center Plaza. Messages by students of support and love to the Muslim community such as “Stay strong,” “We support you,” and “We stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters” covered colorful boards. “I saw a picture online about ‘Punish a Muslim day’,” Muslim Student Association President Rayah Alammari said, “I didn’t think too much of it, but some of my friends didn’t feel comfortable coming to school.” The formation of the table had help from the counseling department, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and the Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) program. According to a article by Sarah Beauchamp, “Punish a Muslim Day,” only highlights what Muslims in the U.S. already go through. The threat was created by a group of people in the United Kingdom as a “holiday” calling for Valdezcruel acts against people Jimenez of the Muslim faith. Within hours the Puente threat made its way to Club the United States. adviser, “The importance of counselor having the table was to give Muslim students on campus the ability to know they are safe and loved,” CCC counselor Norma ValdezJimenez said. “We want to give them opportunities to voice themselves if they don’t feel this way on campus.” Valdez-Jimenez said she heard about the threat through her friend and co-worker Mayra Padilla. Padilla, who is CCC’s dean of institutional effectiveness and equity, called Valdez-Jimenez that night and they both brainstormed an idea to help spread awareness and support to the Muslim students on campus. Through brainstorming, ValdezJimenez and Padilla put together the table to show their support to the Muslim community on campus. Alammari said she felt the support and love when she came to school after the threat. “I saw the support table for Muslims in the Campus Center Plaza and was escorted to my classes by Police Services to feel safe,” Alammari said. “It doesn’t just benefit the Muslim students on campus, it benefits everyone because people who aren’t aware of the Muslim community and the hardships Muslims go through were able to get the awareness and information too,” she said. On April 27, Padilla held a meeting with the MSA to discuss a further date to organize a more in depth workshop and forum surrounding the plights of the Muslim community on campus. Padilla said they’re figuring out a good date and time to have activists come and talk about the inclusivity of community to students on campus. Aiming for late May, Padilla said the activists will be addressing the positives and negatives plaguing the Muslim community, the local challenges they face, and how to help incorporate support from the college community. “There will be a professional counselor who will be addressing community justice and giving information and resources to worried Muslim students and students in general,” Padilla said. English major Nada Dobashi said, “Having that awareness table helped me feel safe on campus. My mom wouldn’t let me come to school the day after the threat, but the second day I came Police Services escorted me to my classes. I got a lot of support from students on campus. It made me happy to see the campus taking action.” “I am a U.S. citizen,” Dobashi said. “Just because I wear something different doesn’t mean I am different from anyone else.” Alammari said the table benefitted the campus and its students. It helps the community gain a stronger understanding of the Muslim community. “A lot of us think we know and understand everything until there is a harmful or negative action happening,” she said. “People then start opening their eyes to what is really going on. It is hard to be equal when there is so much judgment against religion.”


Culinary arts students hug each other after the announcement at the Food and Wine Event in the Campus Center Plaza of the seven students going to Italy. Every summer culinary arts students travel abroad to learn about Italian cuisine.

italian studies trip inspires chefs

By Michael Santone associate editor

Ten eager Contra Costa College culinary arts students will depart on June 4 for Rome Fiumicino Airport as they begin their travels to the coastal town of Otranto, Italy for a two-week educational journey of food and culture. Providing a hands-on approach to the culinary experience, the excursion will encompass daily cooking lessons steeped in traditional recipes and Mediterranean flair. The 15 days of lessons will integrate the nutrient benefits of local products, sustainability and the environment with the history of Italian cuisine. “I’ve always had a dream of going to Italy but I never thought I’d go, especially going there to learn something that I love to do,” culinary arts major Sergio Gutierrez said. “We are going to two different schools for two weeks to learn from chefs over there, I know they have their own way of doing things.” The entire trip, which provides no financial burden on students aside from souvenir or fun money, is being fully funded by proceeds raised by the culinary arts department’s annual Food and Wine Event. “When Chef (Nader Sharkes) started the program he wanted a life changing experience for different students. Personally, for me it means doing something out of the norm,” Gutierrez said. Following a tentative schedule that functions like a weekly school schedule, with Saturday and Sunday devoted to free time, exclusive sightseeing of neighboring towns such as Lecce and Vico Equense will add depth to the local vibe. “Our goal is not just to hone their skills and give them new knowledge, but for them to come back and encourage their families

or members of their community to pursue college education,” Sharkes said. “The work ethic and the skills that can be learned through this scholarship (Italy trip) is beneficial for the community it serves.” Sharkes, who will also accompany the group as its official guide, said it has become traditional to send students to different countries to absorb all facets of cuisine. “It’s a phenomenal because some of these students never have been outside of the Bay Area,” Sharkes said. “Their culinary skills will be improved, which they can apply to jobs, but they gain knowledge of cultures that they never have been introduced to before.” In the past, study abroad trips included China and France, but because of the connection and relationship built over the past six years with Professional State Institute Services for Food and Wine and Hospitality in Otranto, it became easier to provide a streamlined program. “I found that students can get real handson skills in Italy,” Sharkes said. “But also, living in California, we are trying to introduce the Mediterranean cuisine because that is what California is about — the freshness — and that’s what Italian cuisine is about too.” Sharkes said, “Adding all the ingredients into the method of cooking it does really help the students to get a little perspective on healthy cooking, healthy menu and healthy habits.” Christine Sanok, who is in her second semester as a culinary arts major, said she’s heard from previous students that it’s an incredible experience of learning how to cook Italian from an Italian chef. “To be chosen out of the 20 something people who applied, it means a lot. It means an awful lot,” Sanok said. “Especially for me because I’m retired. So I’m just doing this to be a better cook at home and from what I

understand it’s so much different from the Italian food we prepare here.” Also on the itinerary is a visit to a pasta and olive oil factory, the opportunity to see the Colosseum in Rome and a tour of the Vatican Museum. “Getting that authentic flavor of being in a different country, I’m hoping to represent not only the college and the program very well, but also the city of San Pablo.” Sanok, with a playful chuckle, said she is most looking forward to bringing back some olive oil and wine. The culinary study abroad program, which started 11 years ago, uses an application process to choose which students are awarded the trip. Those participating must have been, or currently be, enrolled in Culinary 120, 127, 130, 131, 230, 231, 241A or 241B; be an active participant in the 2018 Food and Wine Event, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. Also, students were required to submit a 500-750 word typed essay detailing their qualities, talents and character strengths that set them apart from the other potential candidates. Culinary arts major Michelle Bynun said, after speaking to friends who went to Italy last year, that she will only be packing basic things she needs. “I’m just bringing a few pieces of makeup and shoes. I’m not bringing a curling iron, or anything like that.” Bynun said she is thankful and happy to be able to experience a new culture in Italy. “I’m really looking forward to learning different techniques of cooking and trying different foods other than the foods we have here in the U.S.,” she said. “I’m more into baking, so I would like to learn how to make gelato.”

Art show paints La Raza culture Local art exhibit unites community By Xavier Johnson scene editor

Local artists were invited to showcase and sell their art in Fireside Hall on May 2 for the “Resist to Exist: Art Show to Document the Undocumented.” Alongside a silent auction was a competition where patrons would fill out a ballot listing their favorite pieces on display. Oakland artist Jose Lopez took first place and was awarded a $100 gift card. Second place went to Richmond’s Eddie Chacon winning a $75 gift card and a $50 gift card went to David Casaneva for his third place finish. The theme of the art show was immigration. La Raza Student Union Vice President Ricardo Sanchez said each artist was asked to bring a piece relating to the topic of immigration but they were free to bring any other pieces they desired. The event sponsored by the LRSU is the first art show they’ve done. “We do a lot of poetry already but we never had an art show and a lot of people in the community are artistic and express

their culture through their art,” Sanchez said. Before the show got underway a striking Aztec dance performance took place in the Campus Center Plaza. La Raza studies major Alexis Garcia said while putting together the art show she thought it’d be a good idea as a way to share their ancestors’ traditions. She, along with several others ranging from children to adults, performed three traditional Aztec dances. Garcia said she performed Huitzilopochtli, which translates to hummingbird. The other two dances were Danza de Meztli, which translates to Luna, and Apache, which represented the Apache people. Sanchez said the dances are often used as a way to open a ceremony and the performance is a way to bring themselves closer to their ancestors. As the art show began and patrons were given their ballots local rock band First Contact played several songs. Associated Student Union Senator Christopher Miller plays bass guitar for the band. Undecided major Ashley Santos said all the pieces in the


La Raza studies professor Augustine Palacios paints a butterfly during the “Exist to Resist” art show in Fireside Hall on May 2.

show held significant meaning for her and her favorite was “El Coyote y sus Pollitos.” El Coyote is the name for individuals that assist Mexican immigrants in crossing the border. The pollitos represent the immigrants that the coyote is guiding. All pieces from the art show

are being displayed in the Library until May 21. The art that was sold will be given to the buyers after that date. Sanchez said he received a positive reception from the artists and hopes to have another event for the fall 2018 or spring 2019 semesters.





J. Cole offers new high Modern rap spurs response from J. Cole By Efrain Valdez social media editor


n the modern era of hiphop, driven by the use of Xanax, Percocet, cough syrup and cannabis, rapper J. Cole has become this generation’s conscience with his new album “KOD.” The three-way acronym meaning “Kids On Drugs,” “King Overdose” and “Kill Our Demons” are the issues he tackles throughout the 12-track album. Cole’s depiction of mainstream rap’s admiration of drug abuse delivered through his slithery rhymes will propel him to his fifth consecutive platinum album. On release, the album toppled Cardi B’s “Invasion

of Privacy” on the Billboard Top 200. Cole is also the first performer in Billboard Hot 100 song chart history to debut three songs in the top 10 simultaneously. In the Hot 100’s 59-year history, no act had previously debuted three songs in the top 10 in the same week. Cole proves he’s this generation’s conscience through indepth examination of racial injustice in minority communities and how it leads to drug abuse. Cole also calls out cannabis use, which is a drug that is more accepted socially. Cole challenges listeners and some of his own friends to skip some of these drugs when dealing with pain, like on the song “FRIENDS.” On this song, he mentions what fans believe to be Cole’s brother “Zach” and Dreamville Records producer Ron Gilmore by reversing the sound when saying their

names. He directly addresses them and cannabis users when saying, “Smoking medical grade, but I ain’t got prescription. All the way in Cali where they ain’t got precipitation, feeling like the only one that made it and I hate it for my n----s ’cause they ain’t got ambition.” He is one of the first major rap artists to call out cannabis users as a way to inflict change in his community. Songs on this album like “ATM” and “KOD” will assuredly grow into anthems his more casual fans will enjoy. This is Cole’s third straight album with no features. The sole feature credit on the album is Cole’s altar ego KiLL Edward. This alternate persona is inspired by his step-father who separated from his mother in 2003, which led to her abusing alcohol. KiLL Edward represents a side of Cole that doesn’t deal well with pain, one of the ma-

jor themes of the album. Rap fans would certainly give an arm and a leg to have Cole feature artists like Miguel to replicate the seamless sounds of great songs like “Come Thru and Chill.” Not having any features is one of the disappointing aspects of the record, however this gives Cole the opportunity to highlight his versatile vocals with eclectic production. Cole ALBUM poignantly REVIEW lectures the “KOD” new wave of ★★★★★ rappers about Artist: J. Cole how they Genre: Hip-hop should handle Label: Dreamville/ Roc Nation fame, the Release Date: glorification April 20 of drug abuse and how that correlates to kids being influenced into trying harmful drugs on the last track, “1985 (Intro to ‘The Fall Off ’).” Through his tone Cole raps

from a place of authority: “I must say, by your songs I’m unimpressed, hey but I love to see a black man get paid and plus, you havin’ fun and I respect that, But have you ever thought about your impact?” On the funky trap-inspired beat he addresses young rappers like Lil Pump and 6ix9ine who use their substantial platforms to glorify drug abuse and push the stereotype of African-American being drug addicts. Cole then points out that they are entertaining upper and middle-class white kids by glorifying black drug abuse when he says “these white kids love that you don’t give a f--k, ’cause that’s exactly what’s expected when your skin black.” On “KOD” Cole shows us why his voice should be respected. His conscientious lyrics and thoughtful criticism of the rap game put Cole on a level few modern rappers could ever hope to achieve.

Approaching semester Production theater schedule marked Line-up will close out the season in April with “Ministers of Grace: The Unauthorized Shakespearean wo world premieres Parody of Ghostbusters,” written bookend next year’s by Jordan Monsell and directed supernatural-themed by professor John Crosthwaite 2018-19 theater season from Los Medanos College. continuing the momentum built Crosthwaite worked with from this past season’s successful Chavarria for “The Cries of La final production “The Cries of Llorona” as fight choreographer. La Llorona.” While the play has been The first world premiere is performed at readings during an original horror play written various theater festivals, Chavarby Contra Costa College draria said the play has never been ma department Chairperson performed as a full-fledged proCarlos-Manuel Chavarria titled duction. Based on the original “Vengeance: A Ghost Story” in “Ghostbusters” film, this re-tellOctober. ing maintains the same story Chavarria said the play, while but with a script adapted with not yet written, derives loosely a Shakespearean flair in iambic from “The Injustice to Dou E,” pentameter. a Chinese play written by Guan He said that going into next Hanqing (1241–1320) during season a particular theme wasn’t the Yuan dynasty. In this play, planned out like this past seaa woman is falsely accused and son. During the 2017-18 season executed for a crime. Prior to a conscious effort was made her death she predicts omens to have plays that represented like snow in the summer and a different groups, such as “The severe drought that will happen, Cries of La Llorona” representproving her innocence. ing Latino theater or “Emotional Chavarria said he has a basic Creature” focusing on the expeidea of the story he wants to rience of young women. write. It is a modern play about In November, Angelina a family that’s celebrating a LaBarre directs the second show birthday in a cabin somewhere of the season, “Water by the in Northern California. A ghost Spoonful,” written by Quiara will appear and there lies the Alegria Hudes. conflict that drives the story. LaBarre said the play is told He said he wants to emulate through interactions in an ontypical horror movies, except he line message board for recoveris going for less gore and more ing addicts and also follows the psychological horror. struggles of Elliot Ortiz, a Latino The second world premiere soldier returning from Iraq, as By Xavier Johnson scene editor


the second part of a trilogy of plays about Elliot. Chavarria said “Water by the Spoonful” is a serious play in the vein of November 2017’s “How We Got On” this past season. He said for future seasons November could be the landing spot for the season’s most serious production. Fall semester will feature productions from familiar faces in LaBarre and Chavarria. However, spring 2018 will include two new directors from different schools in the Contra Costa Community College District. Accompanying Crosthwaite will be Ryan Weible, professor at Diablo Valley College, directing “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” in March 2018. Chavarria said, “It’s like eating the same food all the time. Eventually you’ll get tired eating the same food. I’d like to bring new people in to get a wider variety of plays based on what they like.” Weible said “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” is a great piece that incorporates the artistic concept of magic realism. Magic realism is a style of narrative fiction that is largely a realistic narrative that incorporates surrealism. The season will also see a new faculty fundraiser production. “No Clue” will be replaced by a faculty performance of “Baby With The Bathwater” written by noted playwright Christopher Durang.

Fall 2018

“Vengeance: A Ghost Story” OCTOBER 2018 Directed: Carlos-Manuel Chavarria “Water by the Spoonful” NOVEMBER 2018 Directed: Angelina LaBarre

Spring 2019 “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” MARCH 2019 Directed: Ryan Weible “Ministers of Grace” APRIL 2019 Directed: John Crosthwaite

Advocate 5-16  

The Advocate is a weekly newspaper produced in San Pablo.

Advocate 5-16  

The Advocate is a weekly newspaper produced in San Pablo.