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Pronouns: When and How to Use Them How to be an ally with the LGBTQIA+ community

Riverbat Life During a Pandemic

See how students are adapting to virtual learning

The Time I Realized I Am a Minority

ACC Students share their story

Contents 3



Letter from the Editor


Riverbat Life During a Pandemic


LGBTQIA+ Breaking Down the Acronym


Campus Cast


Pronouns: When and How to Use Them


The Time I Realized I’m a Minority


Austin Support of Black Lives Matter


ACCENT Organization Information



Contributors Executive Team ADVISOR | Halie Ramirez EDITOR IN CHIEF | Marissa Greene WEB CONTENT EDITOR | Jasmine Griffin PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR | Emily Pesina ART DIRECTOR | Tina Herbst-Alam PODCAST EDITOR | Melanie Laporte

Reporters Angela Murillo Martinez Alexa Smith Grant Loveless Emily Pesina

Graphic Designers Zoe Axelrod Kate Korepova


Marissa Greene

Editor in Chief, ACCENT Student Media

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR I think everyone can agree on how much of a roller coaster this semester has been inside and outside of Austin Community College. Students have been affected by this pandemic in their academics, finances, physical, and mental well-being in one way or another. Whether this is your first semester at ACC or last, I will say that we as Riverbats have grown to be adaptive, resilient and learned to use our voice. When we didn’t have adequate technology or great WiFi we spoke up. ACC listened and provided iPads and Wifi hotspots for students. When we needed help with our classes we spoke up. ACC listened and brought us online tutoring and virtual office hours. When we felt lost or alone we spoke up. ACC listened and began virtual counseling, mentors, and academic coaching.

Speaking up and using our voice can be the first step to change. The first step is always the most challenging step toward change. That is also the reason why it is the most important. I ask Riverbats to keep using their voice, inside and outside of the classroom because you never know who could be listening. One of the main purposes of ACCENT is to give you a platform, as a student, to share your voice. Without you, ACCENT would not be where it is today. In a world full of constant notifications, updates, and conversations, make sure you are heard. Hang in there Riberbats, you got this. Until next semester,


Riverbat Life During a Pandemic By: Angela Murillo Martinez It is no surprise that nobody’s life is the same as it was before the pandemic occurred. Whether a student or a professor, or working at an office, or at a store, life has changed. As the number of cases in Travis and Williamson County continues to rise, life will continue to be different and will never be the same. Many have had to embrace change as they’ve had to continue working or even going to school, and as time continues it becomes more of a new reality. New routines are being built and embraced openly as there is no other option, but to continue in the midst of a pandemic. According to the CDC, as of


July 25, the total number of cases in the whole United States is 4,099,310. A major spike in cases occurred as many states allowed public spaces to re-open such as stores, amusement parks, churches, workplaces, and many more. In the state of Texas, it is reported that there are 369,826 cases. Although the number of cases continues to rise in the state, public spaces in the state continue to remain open. In Williamson County alone, so far 5,145 cases have been reported in one day, and in Travis County, 18,939 cases have been reported. It is important to remember to follow safety procedures to avoid furthering the spread of COVID-19 and to make sure that everyone remains healthy and safe. If one finds themselves going out, don’t forget to bring a face covering. As of the third of July, all Texans are required to wear face masks in public spaces. Failure to comply with such orders may result in a warning at first and in further violations, one can be fined up to $250. Additionally, it is important to respect the space of others and maintain a six feet distance when out in public. The Texas Health and

Human Services also recommends washing one’s hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds and also mentions avoiding touching one’s face with unwashed hands. Amongst other actions shared on their website to prevent the spread of COVID-19, an important one is too often disinfected surfaces that are often touched by others. With this being said, people have to keep working, students have to continue going to school, and in general, life has to continue. The only difference now is exactly how life is being continued by people. For Stephanie Murillo, a student studying criminal justice and obtaining her paralegal certification, she has had to not only adjust to a new job but also adjust to working from home and taking online classes. It had been only two weeks at her new job as a court clerk when her office was closed and she had to start working remotely. Now it’s been five months and she’s had to learn everything through zoom calls and emails, while also managing her online classes. She admits that it has been hard having to manage to work at home and taking online classes, especially since her hours at work have

extended. No longer being able to follow the usual seven to five schedule she had been following before the pandemic. “Before I was able to leave work at five and it would stay there, and I would be able to come home or go to school.” Stephanie Murillo said. “But now I just feel like I work extra hours because my office is my room.” On top of that, she admits that taking her classes online has required more time and commitment. To her, it seems that her days have only gotten longer and the workload has become heavier. Furthermore, she has felt it was a difficult transition to have to learn everything she needed to



know remotely and to also learn how to manage all the technology necessary to continue. “I was in the process of learning my new position but then when the pandemic started, I had to be trained in something that was new to my co-workers, which was working remotely from home.” Despite the difficulties and challenges she has to face, Murillo has grown to like working from home and admits that she will find it difficult to return to the office. Although she’s been told that they will return to the office since June, so far the official date is still uncertain and continues to change as the situation escalates. They have planned to return to the office on Aug.17, though this isn’t a set date. So for now, she continues to work remotely and learn as much as she can while being physically apart from her co-workers. For other students such as Kylie Birchfield, a talented photographer studying photography, she’s had more time to focus on her passion. Though she did find the last couple of months left in the Spring semester difficult as a result of transitioning to online classes, she has found herself with more free time on her hands as a result of the pandemic. Not only has she been able to work more on her own personal photography projects, but she’s also been able to get an internship with Austin Woman Magazine. “I know not a lot of people have gotten good things out of this, but


for me, I’ve had a lot of good things come out of it.” In her internship with the magazine, she has been able to do a feature with them on COVID-19 where she photographed three women who find themselves on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic. She has found that as more people spend more time on social media, the more people she has finding her page and lining up to work with her. Although now, there are certain safety procedures she follows to avoid furthering the spread of COVID-19 such as maintaining a distance and wearing a mask when working with others. As the previously mentioned

guidelines are more implement into one’s new daily routine, she often has to remind herself of bringing her masks and maintaining a distance at photoshoots. “Sometimes I have to rethink what I’m doing in photoshoots. I can’t get up close, can’t move their hair, I have to ask them to move their hair around.” With this being said, she continues to find herself with more opportunities and considers this a “kickstart” for her career. Despite losing her job as a result of the pandemic, she finds herself blessed to have the free time she has now and has been using it to do what she loves.

Others like Mary Monk, a student studying Government, no longer finds herself having to commute to her classes. Hence, saving her time that she would spend taking the bus and traveling from class to class. While she did find it hard to transition to online classes at the end of the Spring semester, she realized that in most of her classes they were easy to finish without meeting in person. As a result of the pandemic, she has found it hard to find an internship or a job. “Your Freshman summer is supposed to be the time where you get internships and jobs, and it’s so hard because I applied to so many internships and they’ve just been like ‘oh, we have to see because of COVID’... So it’s been really difficult in that regard,” said Monk Although Monk was used to her friends going to different schools and living far, resulting in not being able to see each other often. She now finds herself talking more consistently with them through text and video calls. “With family, at first, I think we were all on the same page, but as time goes on, and people are in their homes for longer, our family gets a little divisive on what we should be doing, and what caution we should be taking,” said Monk But as far as her immediate family, she finds herself at home with them safely and spending more time together as they are unable to go out. As she continues to take online classes, she sees this as an opportunity to further her studies.


“I feel like I can take on more than I probably thought I could if I had to do them all in person because with actually going to school, physically, you have to take into account how long it’s going to take you to go from one building to another.” Now, Monk takes her classes online, her room becomes her classroom and she no longer has to


leave it to attend class. She plans that if the pandemic continues on for longer, which she thinks it will, she will most definitely take more classes and hopes to find an internship that can begin to prepare her for her career. Despite being unable to meet on campus or be physical together, organizations are still continuing to meet through video calls. One of those organizations being the German club, which has met every three weeks during the summer. Although there are certain things that have changed and other things that they are no longer able to do since moving to video calls, the club hasn’t changed that much. “We do the same things, we just do them differently. We used to play board games, and we obviously don’t do that anymore, but we played hangman at a bunch of the meetings I remember going to, and we still play hangman online,” said the club president Lauren Sanders. Though their group has gotten smaller since they transitioned to video calls, they have built a small, defined group who all meet together and converse in both German and English. They do admit that it has been harder to get people involved since they are no longer able to put posters around the Highland campus or have people show up after German class, but still, they continue to meet and encourage that all those interested in German no matter the level of expertise, to join them. Since the pandemic started, the

club never planned on stopping and quickly continued moving forward. “I thought the club was going to end, seeing how things were going, only a few of us were left. But when they were saying, we have to decide who’s going to be the president, treasurer, and secretary, ‘I was like ok, we’re still doing this. I’m in’ and I mean it’s something to do when I’m at the house quarantining all day,” said Emiliano Antunano. This same resilience has kept them going through the pandemic and continues to push them despite having to continue meeting online in the upcoming fall semester. The club which consists of German speakers of all levels has a supportive and welcoming community, where they are all helping each other improve their German, but also keep each other company in the midst of the pandemic. In the words of a club member, “I hope to go to the inperson meeting when all this ends since I haven’t been able to go to those since I joined after all this happened,” said Marshall Brown. While life had seemed to pause at the beginning of the pandemic, people were unable to continue like this forever, and life has had to continue. As people begin to return to work at their offices or at stores or begin to go out again or return to campus, it doesn’t mean that the pandemic has completely gone away. If anything, the number of cases continues to rise, and therefore, everyone should continue

to be careful to protect not only their health but the health of others. Everyone is having to face a new reality and is experiencing new routines, so no one is alone in this situation. Although life continues with uncertainty, if everyone works together and follows the necessary precautions, soon we’ll be able to all be together again on campus.



L G B T Q I A +

Alexa Smith








Nonbinary, nonconforming, pansexual and more

Many are familiar with the acronym LGBT. In recent years, more letters have been added to the acronym, but what do they mean? ACCENT spoke with Co-Chair of ACC’s LGBT Equity Committee, Matthew Campbell, about what LGBTQIA+ encompasses.

Campbell described it this way, “Some things that normally hadn’t been under LGBT are now starting to fall under it more. This is my way of looking at it; if it doesn’t fit a heteronormative of a man and a woman then it is grouped under LGBT. That’s one of the things I love about being so active in the LGBT community.

You have the standard LGBT; Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender. Q is for queer or questioning. I for Intersex. A for Asexual. And then the plus goes on to add more. So we have nonbinary, nonconforming, pansexual.

“You have the standard LGBT; Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender. Q is for queer or questioning. I for Intersex. A for Asexual. And then the plus goes on to add more. So we have nonbinary, nonconforming, pansexual.” Says Campbell, then went on to say how the acronym even includes more than that. He recommended a couple of resources that give an extensive view of all the different identities included under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. Campbell shared this article from The New York Times as well as this article from Human Rights Campaign. With all the recent additions, it can be hard to understand what falls under the LGBT Acronym.


It is so open and so giving and so caring that when these things don’t fall under standard man to woman we’re like ‘You know what, come on over here.’” Campbell is one of the original LGBT Equity Committee members at ACC. He says, “being a gay male myself the committe was very close to my heart. Being a very active member of the community I felt it was a really good thing...Our students and our faculty and staff need something like this so they know they have someone at the college they can talk to.”

Matthew Campbell

“This is my way of looking at it; if it doesn’t fit a heteronormative of a man and a woman, then it is grouped under LGBT.”


Photo courtesy of ACC’s LGBTeQuity Facebook

The LGBT eQuity Committee

The LGBT Equity committee came out of the Gay Straight Alliance, which was a student organization. Now that they are a committee they are able to offer more resources to more students.


The LGBT Equity committee offers ally training for faculty and staff, hosts events, and provides resources to ACC Students. The LGBT Equity committee has tons of opportunities for students to get help or even connections. You can check out their website to see what resources and online events they offer.



The LGBTQIA2+ Community: Our Pronouns, When & How To Use Them SHE


Personal Essay

Grant E. Loveless


The primary reason the LGBTQIA2+ community and pronouns matter is to create a positive impact on mental health, emotional well-being and quality of life for those within or allies of the group.

What Does LGBTQIA2+ Mean & Its Importance? The LGBTQIA2+ community, also known as the Rainbow community, are people who are allies with the LGBQIA2+ movement or are lesbian, gay, transgender, etcetera. People from the LGBTQIA2+ community come from all walks of life, including people of all races and ethnicities, ages, socioeconomic statuses, and from various locations. To break it down some more, LGBTQIA2+ is an abbreviation that stands for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning), intersexual, asexual and twospirited.

LGBTQIA2+ Pronouns: When & How To Use Them Every day we use pronouns in our speech and writing to address certain individuals or groups. With the use of pronouns, we all can agree that we use them unconsciously and sometimes aren’t mindful of others’ comfort or identities when doing so. Too often, when speaking of someone in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied. These associations are not always accurate or helpful. Note to self, mistaking or assuming peoples’ pronouns without asking first, misrepresents them, their identity and sends a damaging message. Using someone’s correct gender pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity and show support to the LGBTQIA2+ community. Now-a-days people aren’t necessarily identifying with the sex they were given at birth. Examples of this are how people who identify as transgender (meaning they identify as a different gender than the sex they were assigned) or those who identify as non-binary (meaning they don’t identify as exclusively male nor exclusively female).


While most of us try our best to respect these gender non-conforming individuals, sometimes language—and a simple lack of information—can make that complicated and lead to a lot of confusion, anxiety or create animosity in some spaces.

Also, more and more people have begun adopting gender-neutral pronouns—those that neither connote male nor female gender. These people feel as though the typical male and female pronouns do not accurately represent their gender identities and expressions.

That said, it’s imperative to take a mental note when someone tells you which pronouns they prefer. In this regard LGBTQIA2+ people have said themselves that when someone says their pronouns are ‘too difficult’ for them to remember, what they hear is that you don’t value your friendship, the work that they’re doing in the world, or them as a person.

While cisgendered people tend to use the pronouns we’re all familiar with to describe themselves—he/ him and she/her—some nonbinary individuals choose different pronouns that you may not have heard of before. I. What Are Gender Pronouns? A gender pronoun is “the pronoun that a person chooses to use for themselves” to describe their gender. What this means is that, even if a person was born with male genitalia, they may still choose to use feminine pronouns to describe themselves, depending on what suits their gender expression. To bounce off of the example earlier, some transgender people change their pronouns to help identify more closely with the gender they are inside.


Those who identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming opt to use gender-neutral pronouns like “ze/ zir/zirself” and “ve/ver/verself.” Though it can be confusing, some non-binary people choose the pronouns “they” and “them” in place of “he/him” or “she/her,” since there is no gender associated with “they/them.” To view pronouns and some examples, view the chart created by BestLife Magazine.

II. How Do You Use Gender Pronouns?

As said before, it is ALWAYS important to be mindful and ask someone which pronouns they use to identify themselves. You can’t—and shouldn’t—judge a book by its cover. Simply asking, “What are your gender pronouns?” can be one of the easiest ways to show support for the LGBTQIA2+ community, as it signals to them that you both care about and respect them. We all should be able to use pronouns that accurately describe our gender identity and expression.

So, for those of you who want to be allies to the LGBTQIA+ community, start familiarizing yourself with the pronouns of friends, family members, and strangers. The small act of using a person’s proper pronoun can make all the difference in their day. To learn more about pronouns or even on how to get familiar with LGBTQIA2+ community visit ACC’s LGBT eQuity website at austincc. edu/lgbtequity and see how we, Riverbats, take pride in our students, faculty and staff.


The Time I Realized I’m a

MINORITY By: Emily Pesina and Angela Murillo Martinez

Over the years, we’ve become familiar with the word minority; whether hearing it on the news, reading it in an article, or seeing it tossed around in an interview. Although a minority is usually perceived as going hand-in-hand with race and ethnicity in the United States, definitions differ between the way they are used by people. Denotatively, minority means the smaller part of a number. According to Merriam Webster minority in social terms is defined as “a part of a population differing from others in some characteristics and often subjected to differential treatment,”. According to the Austin Community College Fact Book, minority students make up over half the percentage of total students who were enrolled in the spring 2020 semester. ACCENT



spoke with a few students to get their story of their journey. Nikkoo Vafaee, ACC Transfer student, had a realization after joining a student organization when at ACC “I joined this organization and I [felt] like “dang I do feel like the minority”... I [was] the only white/ Persian here.” During her earlier years in public school, diversity was the norm as cliques and clubs were integrated, however changes came with college. “It was strange because I’ve never been in that situation... where it’s not diverse,” said Vafaee. The same contradictory knowledge between your comfortzone and the real world was noted by Diana Gorostieta, a first generation student and ACC alumni. Gorostieta recognized her minority position upon entering college, describing it as “the whole

pot”, which opposed her high school experience of previously making up the Latino majority. As a DACA student pursuing education with limited resources, Gorostieta tackled challenges through finding guidance and support through ACC’s Ascender program, which opened up doors for her. “Stay active within the community. That way you’ll build connections, friendships, and that leads to other comfort’s a home away from home,” said Gorostieta. With an overworked automotive tool in one hand, and a pencil for schoolwork in the other, Armando Sanchez is an individual paving his future as the next generation’s leader. “The moment I realized when I really was a minority was when I was thirteen, and my grandparents were [filing paperwork] for me to be on DACA,” said Sanchez. Upon the process of filing fingerprints, portraits, and sealing the contract with a signature,

I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, CREATE AN IMPACT. Sanchez understood the purpose of this years later when his ability to work, drive, and study in the United States was protected by a 6’ x 4’ identification card. Sanchez expressed how his future relies on the decisions of the supreme court in terms of possibly overturning DACA was further realization of the minority. However, through an internship, a never-before-seen snapshot formed in his mind as he found himself working alongside government representatives. “Two years ago I thought I’d just be working on cars. Now I want to make a difference, create an impact...[and] we were doing something, showing those who see us as not doing anything important later in life... anything you do, we can do too,” said Sanchez. With an associates degree under his belt and a current pursuit in a duo major/minor, Sanchez shares how he feels that he can relate to the apprehensive feelings new or incoming riverbats may have. “When I first came to ACC, I felt like a nobody. [Everyone] seemed so educated, well-informed, and that made me feel like a nobody... for that reason, I understand their level. Students come across to me as if they’re afraid to speak up, or to do anything because


DON’T BE AFRAID OF WHO YOU WANT TO BE. no matter what they do, it won’t matter. If you feel like that, that’s okay. Learn to oppress that feeling... don’t be afraid of who you want to be,” said Sanchez. Sanchez stresses the importance to remember who you are. His optimism, eagerness, and overcome-challenges continue to be recognized by all that he meets. For Maudriel Goodlet, a liberal arts student, the word minority means “a group of people who don’t have the same privileges than the more powerful group in America.” “America is supposed to be for everyone that lives [here], and


some people don’t have access to those privileges,” said Goodlet. Her realization of being a minority started in kindergarten, where white children made up the majority of her peers. Goodlet noted that she didn’t look like everybody else, and while she initially didn’t care, others started to realize and comment on her exterior differences. Growing up in Minnesota, Goodlet recalls experiencing weird situations from getting stared at in public to being asked unusual questions such as, “Do you have a lot of money?”, or constantly hearing comments such as, “your dad is black.” A certain situation at the store still lingers in her mind, when a lady purposely pushed her basket away from Goodlet, where the woman had left her purse. “She was going to go into the

bathroom, and I was going to go to the bathroom too, so I wasn’t worried about the purse she was leaving in the basket,” said Goodlet Being able to move to Austin and receive higher education allowed Goodlet to learn not only about herself, but about the community around her. “They wanted to teach people in public school, where the government has a heavy hand in their education that everybody has a place here. Not true...It really matters what you look like,” said Goodlet. Although she feels ACC is inclusive, Goodlet would like to see more diverse professors. “I really liked having a black teacher for my English class. That was really cool. She talked a lot about racial issues and tensions, and she was inclusive with

AMERICA IS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR EVERYONE THAT LIVES HERE, AND SOME PEOPLE DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO THOSE PRIVILEGES. everyone in the class,” said Goodlet. ACCENT thanks the students that participated in sharing their voices, and the students that will lead the next generation as future leaders.


Support BLM in Austin!


400 + 1 Bail Fund

Mutual Aid ATX

This specific fund was created to help one man but is now being expanded to support those arrested at protests.

This organization is run by marginalized students at UT and collects funds to provide collective care.

Instagram: @400and1

Instagram: @mutualaidatx

Austin Justice Coalition “The Austin Justice Coalition is a Racial Justice Group that educates and builds community power for people of color who live in Austin, Texas that need support, community, and liberation during a time of systemic injustice in America.” -AJC website They are accepting donations to support their mission and they also currently have a petition going to tell Austin City Council to defund the police. Sign here. You can follow them on social media to find educational material and stay updated on their work.

Six Square Six Square is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that celebrates and preserves the great arts, culture and history of Central East Austin. Instagram: @sixsquareatx Twitter: @sixsquareatx

Allgo Allgo is a statewide queer people of color organization that supports those communities, “through cultural arts, wellness, and social justice programming”. Instagram: @allgoqpoc Twitter: @allgoqpoc

Instagram: @austinjusticecoalition Twitter: @atxjustice


ACCENT ORGANIZATION INFORMATION About ACCENT ACCENT meets as a student organization, bi-weekly. We strive to be the first reference source that current, future, or previous ACC students utilize for campus news and entertainment

Benefits of Joining ACCENT operates as ACC’s student media and a student organization within Student Life. ACCENT offers experience and a chance to grow your skills in journalism, producing multimedia content, photography, videography, graphic design, podcasting, web design, marketing, advertising, leadership and more.

Students enrolled in ACC and join ACCENT Student Media will benefit from the organization in ways such as:

Hands-on experience

Have published content

Portfolio building and improvement

Opportunity to grow in the organization

Hourly paid leadership positions

Service hours (volunteer hours)

Attending conventions and events

Submitting work to local, state, and national contests

Letters of recommendation


About ACCENT Welcome to ACCENT, Austin Community College’s student media organization. We provide entertaining avenues to find resources and opportunities available to you. We create videos, articles, columns, and reviews for past, current and future students of ACC. Don’t forget to follow/subscribe to our social media channels!

Our Vision To be the first reference source that the current, future or past students of Austin community college utilize for campus news and entertainment.

Our Mission To engage Austin Community College through the stories and information provided on our ACCENT website and zine.

We support the student media outlet by creating diverse and fair content to inform and entertain the students of ACC. These publications are supplied for the college and Austin area to encourage student participation. Please feel free to visit accent at ACC round rock campus, building 2000, Rm. 2107

ACCENT is a student-run organization at Austin Community College. Views and opinions displayed here fo not represent the views of ACC

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