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volume 19 | issue 3 spring 2015

common ground celebrating





check inside to find out how we’re celebrating & how you can join us!

pre-order “nexus” today

follow ccc’s legacy through 20 years of photos and memories



20th anniversary




ccc’s legacy (then & now)


dear 2015-16 cohort


community submissions


joy de la cruz


academic papers


Complicated community and centering the self: the importance of memory, celebration and growth.

As I write this Common Ground entry, the end of the school year is fastly approaching and the 20th celebration is less than 30-days away. I cannot help thinking back to the first CCC newsletter, published in fall 1996, by then newsletter/PR Intern: Govind Archarya. In those days, we had to cut out clip-art and tape the images down before they went to print. To this day, we still have those first copies because our collective memories and archives help the Center link our past to the present. This story comes to mind as I am typing on my iPad, which will be sent to our current Common Ground Intern: Elaine Raif; and uploaded to Issuu: a create your own magazine site where anyone can view and comment from far and wide. We have come a long way community; from the old cut-andpaste days and 3-inch floppies that could only hold 12 pictures; to flash drives that held our photoshopped newsletters on their way to imprints; to finally uploading interactive content and research papers online. For our 20th celebration, we wanted to honor this history. Coming soon is a permanent timeline spanning the last 20 years of community within the CCC and across campus. I want to thank you, Jamez Ahmad, for your vision and work on this project. In this timeline, we see the work, activism, fun, and JOY shared over these past twenty years. This process of memory helps everyone trace their moments in community-building, marking how far we have come individually and collectively. These moments help us consider the work we have yet to do. As we mark this milestone, we also ask: what is next for the Cross-Cultural Center? We are at an exciting and pivotal time. As I write this, our new VC-EDI: Dr. Becky Petitt, has joined the campus to lead the next level of organizational growth in equity, diversity, and inclusion. Our sister Centers: the LGBT, Women’s, Raza, and Black Resource Centers; have a joint internship series with our partners from Critical Gender Studies. Together, we are exploring more direct ways to support leadership and community within student organizations through piloting workshops and courses on social justice and cultural competence. As we move in these new directions, the touchstone of memory will keep us focused on the needs and values of the original founders of the Center, who were looking for a place for the intellectual, cultural, social, and professional growth of underrepresented and underserved students, staff, and faculty. At the same time, we must be ready to meet the new needs and challenges of a changing and growing campus. What a wonderful ride. Can’t wait to see what the next 5, 10, 20 years have in store‌ Edwina Welch Director of the Cross-Cultural Center 2

(Re)Centering: 20 Years of Leadership, Empowerment, and Community Building join the cross-cultural center for an evening of festivities, food, and performances celebrating the community and the space that students have called home for two decades.

*all guests must also be registered individually through the registration form: 3

NEXUS: COMPLICATING COMMUNITY & CENTERING THE SELF A 20 year Retrospective of a college-based community center. Available for purchase at:

********************************************* Note from Editor: it is my greatest honor to be publishing the 20th anniversary special edition of common ground. i am so excited to share with you all the empowering stories, the realest talk, and unending compassion cultivated at the Cross-Cultural Center today, as it always has. in this issue, you will be able to explore the CCC’s legacy, be moved by community’s art, dive into student’s academic work, and finally, reflect on your own experiences and growth. i would like to thank my cohort, professional staff, jamez, community, and CG readers for the support, as I wholeheartedly dedicate my work to you all. Enjoy my very last issue and congrats to the new common ground intern of 201516! take full care of this newsletter, you play a critical role in sharing the CCC’s story. blessings, elaine raif common ground 2014-15


The CCC’s Legacy the 2014-2015 academic year marks the 20th birthday of UC san diego’s cross-Cultural Center. in preparation for the celebration, we launched this site so you can directly upload your photos, art, videos, and stories.


10 Year Anniversary, 2005


intern reunion, 2015

Three Centers Fall of 1993 : Cross-Cultu ral Center coali tion formed Februar y of 2014: Chanc ellor est. Cross Cultur al Center Ta sk Force

e Cross-Cultural May 26th, 1995: Th ors Center opened its do Year 2006-07: Building 510 r te en C ty si er iv Un

Year 2007-08: Interim location at University Center, Building 201

2008-09: Permanent location at Price Center, Second Floor! 6

Dear 2015-16 Cohort, e workling to know that you’r It’s an exhilarating fee g, and to Remember this feelin s? ye C, CC e th for g in in so t tough. You will grow hold it when things ge erintrapersonally, interp y, all ion ss ofe pr ys many wa e of a few I think that this is on sonally… Embrace it. gs you ll explicitly meld thin opportunities that wi gs, critical aces like the SA AC or sp ity un m m co in rn lea s of with the practicalitie classes, online activism al world. social justice in the re nd-theings that happen behi There’s soooo many th time staff ip. Know that the fullsh rn te in e th of es en sc t to you. lves and their suppor se em th of h uc m e giv will through this - whether that’s e iat ec pr ap to r be Remem to the CCC. f or giving your best thanking full-time staf find any directly: remember to And to my successor class, u meet new people in yo r he et wh ity un rt oppo in - to e CCC but not coming th g ein ey le op pe e se or you got involved examples of why you share your personal e tours. s. Give tours - ALL th in the space. Also, tour ay isn’t ks think that the hallw Did you know some fol is, though! open to the public? It

Incoming cohort , I am so thrilled for you! My words of wisdom include a lot of le ssons I have learned along th e way … First an d foremost, do not lose track of your studies. (Yes , working at the CCC is all you may think about, but those readings and hom ework assignmen ts are not going anywhere, unfortunately. I ha d to learn that the hard way .) Do not be afraid to ask questions. (Grow th is imperative, so do not shy away from being self-reflective an d asking questions - the st aff is here to help yo u flourish.) Welcome vu lnerability. (I kn ow it is easier said than done, bu t it is so worth it . In my time here, I have been incredibly vulner able, and it is precisely in th e most painful tim es that I have learned the most. The CCC st aff really is a family and they ca re about YOU just as much as they care abou t your role as an in te rn.) And, for Mauro an d Whitney, welco me to the PI family! My advice for you is to over communicate with Violeta (since you will w or k directly with her) and to work with each ot her as much as possible, it mak es the job even m ore fun! Elzebeth Programming In tern

All my love, Sandra gagement Campus Outreach & En From one intern to another I want to say, enjoy! Enjoy, learn, and grow ll that you can during your time at the Cross-Cultural Center because there is no other place like this out in the world. Always remember to stop and breathe, as well, as, to take care of yourself every now and then. Self care is important and as a student, intern, and everything else in between you might get forget to treat yourself. Be open minded and welcome ambiguity! Best of luck to you all! <3 Elizabeth Joy De La Cruz


As far as logistics and planning, I would recommend brainstorming SIP ideas as soon as you can! Deadlines can creep up on you sooner than expected. Additionally, take advantage of the relative privacy of the intern office, start taking out the trash around 8:15 PM for closing shifts, (for SJEs) consider scheduling weekly work parties, regularly look at your quarter-at-a-glance calendar, utilize the knowledge of the full-time staff, and of course… bond with your cohort! They could provide a support system for you that you might not have access to elsewhere. Additionally, know that you can be yourself at the Cross—quirks, areas of growth, working styles, and all. And as you pursue really getting to know yourself, I challenge y’all to evaluate the spaces you are a part of. Meaning, ask yourself what a toxic space and a healthy space both look like for you. Lastly, please know that you are enough. It can be easy to be caught up in fast-paced productivity and “results”, but remember to take time for yourself. Do what you got to do to cultivate sustainable activism.

Welcome to the intern


ship! I’m personally re

Social Justice Educator oming I would really encourage the inc rgy to cohort to spend the time and ene able create opportunities to be vulner always together. Something that I will a treasure from my experience as how Cross-Cultural Center intern is close our cohort became and how port, comfortable I felt asking for sup g sharing my struggles, and holdin

work each other up. Look for ways to your together—don’t feel locked into over PI, SOPs, or SJE teams. Always

in and communicate; constantly check one reaffirm each other because no

g it is will understand how challengin dent, to balance being a CCC intern, stu activist, and all other aspects at than your fellow interns!

ally excited to see what you all you can off er the Cross and your potential growth as part of the internsh ip program. I’d like to share some of my reflections from my ex perience as an intern for you all as my words of wisdom. One of the most rewarding parts of my internship was investi ng time, energy, and lov e into my relationships with the othe r interns in my cohort. Working on those interpersonal re lationships is somethi ng that I feel has made me feel more af firmed, supported, an d happy overall. My cohort has definitely been there for my hard times, and I definitely recommend inve sting in your cohort wh olly. I was also very intentional abou t challenging myself to grow. When I entered the internship, many of last year’s in terns told me that I was chosen to be an intern for a reason. W henever I struggled, I would think back to the faith that last year ’s cohort had in me and in my potential to grow to help me keep pushing. I would also like to leave pass those words to you. Yo u were chosen as interns for a reason, an d I believe you will all achieve greatness.


Yahya Social Justice Educat


Cella Social Justice Educator

with love, 2014-15 Cohort


Community Submissions ********************************************* (A Place I Can’t Recall) by Ryan Galang In a location I can’t recall. With a ridiculous name that slips my tongue. On a street unfamiliar. I apologize for my memory is hazy. A crisp darkness filled the sky. The blurred speeding orbs lingered on the corner of my eyes. The steady rhythm of a song performed by an artist I can’t recall fills the car interior. A conversation between my cousin and me ensues, but I don’t remember what we said. All that does come to mind was the mention. The mention of a place unseen by my eyes. Pacing through the town bathed in light. We headed for the place with a ridiculous name. Passing through streets unfamiliar to my brain. Only the heavy pounds of 808s and steady hums filled any remnants of silence. Burning orange orbs pass over head. That seem to be the only companion to the empty streets. Under a lone street light we leave the steady hum of beats for the silence of the night. Camera clutched in hand. We set path for the rusted gate. Under the veil of darkness, the silence is broken. As the rough scraping of dirt and rocks fill our earlobes. Dark orbs liter the path where our eyes can reach. Soft moonlight illuminates the ascending dirt road. I don’t remember the location. I can’t recall the street. But I remember the view. The view unbeknown to my eyes before. A sea of colors fill my eyes. The town where I live. Transformed. Dancing orbs of light fill the darkness. Mixtures of reds, blues, greens, and oranges harmonize. Constant streams of wind generate an infinite loop of whurrs. Camera clutched in hand. The lights dance across my screen. A town asleep. Now awake as the lights burn across the sea of darkness. A simple moment to some. To myself, it was a realization. A realization that everything is going to be okay. A new perspective of the town where I live. In a location I can’t recall. With a ridiculous name that slips my tongue. A realization came to fruition. The belief in the things I create. On a street unfamiliar, a memory is etched. I apologize once more for my memory is hazy. But I remember that moment, on a dark unfamiliar street. In a location I don’t recall with a ridiculous name that slips my tongue once more.


Community Submissions


“Loud Silence” by Hanh On Drawing on my personal experience, I made a video on the concept of postmemory as it applies to the children of Vietnam War refugees.

“Distant Lullabies” By Diana Li & Jayne Manuel The piece was originally displayed as an audio/video installation at Umbilical, a collaborative exhibition by Jayne Manuel, Diana Li and Erina Alejo, shown at the Adam D. Kamil Gallery in 2014.

Re-producing the atmosphere of a womb through muffled lullabies and childhood stories, Distant Lullabies explores layers of cultural separation between the artists (Jayne Manuel and Diana Li) and their families. As they recall fond memories and songs from childhood, the distance between the artists and their immigrant parents is located in age, generation and language.


Community Submissions


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Untitledâ&#x20AC;? by Megan Ewbank This photo is a self portrait combined with my hometown of Fresno, CA. I tend to have mixed feelings about Fresno: from being my home and what I know so well, to not wanting to go back, to feeling like I owe Fresno and need to go back. This represents my thoughts and memories regarding that place.

Social Just-Us Tumblr: by Sandra Amon This is a blog for social justice education and facilitation. Primarily meant as an entry point for folks not familiar with social justice issues, you'll see various posts ranging from links to socially conscious music, powerpoints, and more...


“In the Mind of a 13-Year-Old Girl with Anorexia” by Elzbeth Islas

It is often the most painful times that make us grow. I am sharing this today because mental health is a never ending process, but it is a process I couple with support, love, and faith. I was thirteen when I developed an eating disorder. I wrote this journal entry to create a sense of escape and remembrance. I tucked it away for years, forgotten, until someone close to me began going through a similar experience. I added the very last paragraph then, as I dreamed my words would create a sense of hope within them. This journal entry is dedicated to four very important people in my life. Three of those people know who they are, and the fourth person is you. If you are going through something similar, I see you, and I feel you. You are not alone.

It was nothing big at the beginning, but

obsessing about my weight. I started

then, it started to get worse. I caught

weighing myself everyday for two

myself looking at all the girls and won-

months straight. (But we'll get to that

dering why I didn't look like that. I

later.) The reason I ever started going

began to feel like a humongous mon-

to the gym was because I felt I needed

ster because every corner I walked

to lose a few pounds. I thought, "Just a

around, I would see a skinny girl with

couple, and then I'll stop." In a matter



of days, I had already lost my first

middle of seventh grade I started

three pounds. I thought, "This is so

worrying about my body. I began to feel

easy, maybe if I lose just a little more …

guilty after eating what I thought was

" I started searching online ways to

going to make me fat. But that behav-

lose weight. I would flip through teen

ior went completely against the way I

girl magazines. "LOSE THOSE PESKY

had been raised. My mom says that


even when I was in "el vientre de


mamá" (mommy's womb) she would

types of headings seemed to be

say I was beautiful. Since I was born,

SCREAMING at me. It was at the begin-

my parents always called me lovely,

ning of summer break that I took the

intelligent, and amazing. "Hay que

next step. I started dieting. I narrowed

hermosa mi niña. Tan lista y tan

my food intake to "just a little bit less."

I need to say that confessing I had an eating disorder was really hard for me. I thought it would be easy, but when you asked me what it was, I just couldn't say it. It's crazy. I have to tell you everything from the beginning. [I think I’m addressing my mom right here.] It started since I was in sixth grade in the most common way girls get this sickness - the media and magazines. I was flipping through some pages and I came across the same body type over and over again. I didn't really think much of it by then, but I did start to become aware of how other girls were shaped. That was the primary phase. It was the most "playful” one. And then I went into middle school. I have to say those years struck me HARD. To come from a family where all my aunts, cousins, my mom and my sisters are shaped in a more curvy way, it was just strange for me to come across girls that were so … not like me.

buena." (Oh, my wonderful daughter;

I continued going to the gym. The days

so smart and so kind.) I was raised

flied by and I was losing weight, fast. It

with love and affection. I owe my

was so easy, and it seemed pointless

parents a lot.

not to take advantage of that. I started

But that just wasn't enough. I needed something I lacked - or what I thought I lacked - beauty.

eating less, and going to the gym more.

I didn't feel pretty. And when I started

just a phase, I don't know, but she

feeling a little better about myself, I

never commented on anything. By the

would see some girl strutting around

beginning of the second month or so

school with her skinny legs. I thought

things started to get … scary. Any time

that was perfection. I needed to be

I felt I had eaten more than I would



allow myself to, I would feel the urge to

expected of me? I didn't feel I was

vomit it all out. I locked myself in the

enough of anything. Sure, I might be

bathroom, and started going insane. I

getting good grades, but that didn’t

felt repulsive, disgusting, like an obese

satisfy me. I didn't feel smart enough.

monster. I would stand naked in front

Or skinny enough. Or beautiful enough.

of the mirror and could “see” that

Little things like that led me to do

forbidden piece of bread growing in my

something I really regret. I started

stomach. I promised myself I wouldn't







My mom started noticing that I wasn't acting the same way around food anymore. Maybe she thought it was


let this happen, ever again. I made my

vuelves loca. Tus emociones son muy

They told me many kids died because

food intake a minimum. I refused to eat

variables, como un sube y baja. Cariño,

of it. He told me that when things got

anything out of my daily routine. The

tienes todos los síntomas de un tras-

really serious, he took me, an innocent

pounds were vanishing from my body.

torno alimenticio." (Honey, your dad

little baby, into his arms, and held me

My mom started noting, and I felt

and I are very worried. You’re much

tight to say goodbye. He paused while

great. Every time my relatives saw me

too thin. You look sad, and you avoid

telling me this story, and started

they would make comments about my

eating. You complain that you’re tired

crying. I was shocked. My dad, the

weight. " ¡ Hay! ¡¿ Que te paso mija?!

and that you feel weak. Every time I

man whom I admire most, my invinci-

No. Estás muy flaca, ponte a comer."

touch your hands, your skin is so cold.

ble hero, looked as vulnerable as a

(Oh my goodness! What happened to

If you don’t go to the gym you go crazy.

little boy. That was really hard for me

you?! No. You’re way too thin. Eat!) I

Your emotions are all over the place -

… to see how much pain I was causing

felt good about myself when they

like a rollercoaster. Honey, you have all

my parents. I felt bad, but the urge to

called me skinny. But it got to the point

the symptoms of an eating disorder.)

continue to lose weight was stronger.

where it was really annoying to hear

When I heard that I was so mad. How

To hear myself place more importance

the same things over and over again.

could she ever say that about me?

on appearance than my parents - my

Mostly from my parents. They urged



reason for living - made me think that

me to eat. I couldn't stand that. I

anorexia are skinny, I was still fat. I

maybe I did, in fact, have a problem.

begged my mom to just let me be, but

didn't listen to her. I kept going.

But that little voice in my head over-

she wouldn't have any of it. After almost every meal, I would go to the



Then the consequences began.

bathroom and cry. I would be invited to


powered, and I followed. My parents took me to a therapist. He

family parties, and would prefer to

Every time I stood up I blacked out. I

advised them to get my blood checked.

stay home because I knew there would

lost my period. I felt sleepy during the

I hated him for that. How could he ever

be food. My stomach hurt on the

day, and restless at night. My 24/7 was

think he was going to stop me? When

inside, but it was working. I wasn't

my weight. How many calories I had

the results came out, I found out I was

going to stop now that things were

eaten, how much weight I STILL had to

very close to being anemic. It was

going so well.

lose. I couldn't think of anything else.

strange because even though my blood

Insanity washed over me. I knew I

levels were all over the place, and I

The following days when I went to the

needed help, but if I reached out, I

KNEW I was hurting myself, it just

gym I began to feel my heart was going

would be weak. No, I HAD to be strong.

wasn't enough to make me stop. I

to pop out. I felt a little light headed,

At the time I was keeping a journal in

NEEDED to lose weight. I still hadn't

but I took it as weakness. I would not



reached my goal. This being an imagi-

allow that. I was losing more and more

happened to me. In one entry, I

nary one because every time I lost a

weight. This was when my mom finally

remember I wrote about how miser-


said stop. Literally. I had eaten four

able I was feeling - how I felt lost, and


cookies (really) for breakfast, and half

wanted to cry out for help. This was an

of a piece of bread for lunch. My mom

inner-battle, I was fighting against

At the beginning of summer, I was a

said she needed to talk to me. I feared

myself, literally beating myself up. My

healthy, curvy teenage girl. By the end

she was going to make me stop. I

mom found that particular entry

of the summer, I was close to 100

couldn't stop, I was still different from

where I confessed my true emotions.

pounds at my 5’5 frame. I needed help

the other girls. "Hija, tu papá y yo esta-

She called me into my room, and read

desperately. I was so deep into this

mos muy preocupados. Estás

it aloud to me. She took my hand and

horrible mess, I just felt forever

demasiado flaca. Te ves triste, y evitas

squeezed it so hard, and started crying

trapped. Then my parents, my loving

comer. Te quejas de cansancio y debili-

helplessly. Then my dad came into the

sisters, and my good friends shined

dad. Cada vez que te toco las manos,

room, and he told me a story of how

some light on me. A very bright light

estas muy fría. Si no vas al gimnasio te

when I was just a baby, I got rotavirus.

that was, because it hurt really badly.









I call this light "recovery," one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Every time I sat down to eat, thoughts of self-hatred invaded me. But, I just I wanted to be happy again. If it wasn't for my parents, I'm not sure if I'd still be alive. My parents and my sisters have always loved me and known my self worth. I was the only one unaware of it. I now realize I AM enough. As Karen Salmansohn would say, I need to love my body. I should feel the need to please my body, not please the scale. I must love myself first and foremost, and from that place of self-love, choose to eat healthy. Looking back, I can see eating disorders, extreme dieting, and “skinny beauty” are not glamorous, nor do they equate to happiness.

If you are reading this, I urge you to lean on those who love you. Choose yourself, THE REAL YOU, not what the monster in your head tells you to be. I, for one, think you’re beautiful, perfectly imperfect, and worthy of love when you are YOURSELF. And that’s why I am sharing this with you.

“Recovery. It’s work. It’s process. It’s worth it. It is possible.”


Joy De La Cruz intern Exhibitions (Also known as the Commmunity, Art, Culture and Activism Intern in honor of joy)

“Community Memories” by Joy De La Cruz Art & Activism Intern

“The CCC Before The CCC?” by Unknown

“Women Of Hope Photographs” by Cheung Ching-Ming and Idaljiza Liz-Lepiorz


A Tribute to Joy August 6th, 1978 - October 6th, 2003

To: Elaine Joy de la Cruz

For our girlfriend-sister-daughter -babae-Picanaacti vista-

freedom, This is in honor of our beloved joy, an inspiration and heart to

our community. We don't know how to write this because it doesn't seem real. We are left to struggle with words for someone who could wield them effortlessly. We miss you joy. We mjss you more than words or

thoughts. You are and always will be bigger than life. Joy: the one who dances like an octopus.

Joy is a lineage of sisters, mothers, and daughters. Women of color

full of strength and beauty, they radiate. The tongue, soul, and corrido of our people. Joy is a poet, artist, confidant, mentor, student, teacher

-goddess. To UCSD, Joy is the Freedom Writer. She is the one who never leaves the Cross-Cultural Center intem office. She is the CCC newsletter editor. She is the organizer of the first Woman of Color Conference. She is the free spirit -a Leo. She puts the smackdown!

Joy is that feeling you get when you are about to be really naughty

and are going to enjoy it. She is the coy one, soliciting gifts from strangers.

Joy is the soft-spoken voice that deafens and inspires. Joy is our

poetry. She is our imagination. She is in every raised fist, and she will be there every time we resist. When our bodies are tired and our souls are taxed, our sister gives us breath to scream back. She is the feeling you have when you feel you are too tired and broken, but push on and

achieve. You are the dance that we shut the door to be. You have gone to join Mexica womb spirits to make the sun rise, and as we watch you each moming we know that we will see you on the other side.

Joy we want you to feed yourself. You nourish us.

Lite is life. joy is Joy.

*A collective work from Joyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s friends as recorded in the 2003-2004 newsletter*


in this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new common ground edition, the following section is dedicated to your scholarly works. for a chance to publish your *academic papers, send your submissions to!

********************************************* *grade marks are required. submission does not guarantee publishing.

Image: Common Ground Issue Spring 2008


Intersecting Identities Ableism, Sexism, Heterosexism, and Classism by Elzbeth Islas

I have learned and grown so much from this past quarter alone, that writing this essay will require a lot of much needed self reflection. I say that it is much needed because I always find self reflection to ground me. Additionally, as an Ethnic Studies major aspiring to work in Student Affairs, all of these topics touched me deeply. First, as a reflection on the course itself, I found CGS 198 to be extremely effective because it allowed us as interns to learn about the different “isms” through a lens of work and practice at the campus community centers. I tend to struggle in my classes because I either cannot seem to find the importance of the topics I am learning, or because I do not know how to apply them. This course, the staff, and the structure were successful in resolving this. Furthermore, I really appreciated the way in which this course pushed us all as interns to be leaders, but also to be team players. We all experienced facilitating a topic, and also stepping back and having our peers teach us. Additionally, I deepened my understanding of praxis taking theory and practice and combining them through the readings and class activities. Though all of the topics are imperative and should all be implemented in K12 education, the frameworks I will focus on are; ableism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism. I will also focus on how all these forms of oppression are connected to my work as an intern, the labor of the CrossCultural Center, the teamwork of the Campus Community Centers, and the broader connection of the CCC praxis to social justice movements beyond this institution. Ableism, or disability oppression, is defined as “the all encompassing system of discrimination and

and exclusion of people living with

since I learned about the reality of



ableism, is that I catch myself policing

Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990, amended

folks who use words like “lame,” but I

2008) considers a person to have a

need to train myself to realize all my

disability if she or he has a significant

social justice knowledge is a privilege

impairment that interferes with a

not everyone has the access to.



major life activity, such as walking,

Sexism is defined as “a system

seeing, hearing, learning, speaking,

of advantages that serves to privilege

breathing, standing, lifting, or caring

men, subordinate women, denigrate

for one’s self” (2007, p.461). It is impor-

womenidentified values and practices,

tant to keep invisible disabilities in

reinforce male dominance and control,

mind while talking about ableism. Invis-

and reinforce norms of masculinity

ible disabilities are, for instance, mental

that are dehumanizing and damaging



to men” (2007, p.174). The reasons for

individual from living a “normal” life.

my interest are still evolving. I realize

My reason for choosing to write about

that sexism is very much present in

this framework is that, in the past, I

the United States, and worldwide, and

played a part in the discrimination of


people who are differently abled. I have

Although I can tell its significance, I

noticed that it is commonly used for

have not yet fully invested myself emo-

comic relief in the media. I grew up

tionally. When I was younger, I was less

hearing ableist slurs, and I thought that

aware of the disparity between men

it was okay to use them. I now know

and women. I grew up in a relatively

otherwise, but it is still difficult to stray

progressive home with only women,

from using ableist slurs with my family

except for my father. I do not recall

members, whose social justice knowl-

experiencing overt sexism, though

edge is very limited. For instance,

that is not to say that I never experi-

words like “crazy” and “lame” promote

enced microaggressions. It is still diffi-

the ridiculization of people with disabili-

cult for me to wrap my head around

ties, but we have been socialized to find

sexism and its importance, to be com-

them harmless. My reasons for promot-

pletely honest. This is why I am so

ing the awareness of ableism have

thankful for the Women’s Center,

changed, as I was diagnosed with an

because there are folks in this univer-

invisible disability at the age of 16. I

sity who are willing to teach me. The

have not yet come to terms with seeing

class activity for sexism was definitely

my experience with anxiety as a disabil-

helpful, as I learned more about the

ity, but I am thankful that it allows me

three waves of feminism, and the

to empathize with folks from that com-

(vivid) injustices that are committed

munity. Furthermore, catching myself

by white feminism. I find it important

when I use ableist language has not

to talk about white feminism because it

been easy, but I think it is worthwhile.

intersects with racism, which is a form




Another aspect that I struggle with







of oppression I am more comfortable

heterosexist reality of the world, and

people are either misinformed, or very

with. An example for this is the

to find they are also pushed out of


constant “savior complex” replicated

LGBT+ communities makes me really

supremacy. I can also relate the

through narratives of white feminism,

uncomfortable. One of the topics in

concept of meritocracy to a current

where white women hold the belief

the reading that struck me was the

experience I had. I attended a film

that it is their duty as enlightened and

fact that, “the socially constructed

screening of “Selma” in Mission Valley

free women to liberate women of color

notions of ‘sex,’ ‘gender,’ and ‘sexual-

because a conversation was scheduled

like Muslim women who simply want

ity,’ are organized and maintained

to follow. This event was put on by a

to follow their religion. I also find it

upon oppositional binary frames with

San Diegan African American leader-

important to talk about sexual objecti-

their attendant meanings, social roles,

ship organization, which I believed

fication, which is a topic within femi-



would ensure social justice involve-

nism that I feel very strongly about. I

p.373). This makes me wonder who

ment, given the topic of the movie. I

really like to talk about images in

created the rules of sex, gender, and

was disappointed to hear “pick your-

media, and how they perpetuate social

sexuality, because whoever they were

self from your bootstraps” mentality,

injustice, and sexual objectification is

had very real consequences on all of


a blatant example.

humanity. This former thought can

classism and its intersection with

also be expanded to talk about other

racism is present in communities of

identities like race, ability, and class.


Heterosexism is defined as “the overarching system of advantages bestowed on heterosexual based



Classism is defined as “the







Learning about all of these

on the institutionalization of hetero-



frameworks would be incomplete with-



inequality. Classism is not the same as

out praxis. There is a connection

founded on the ideology that all people

class, which is a relative social ranking

between the practice of Cross-Cultural

are or should be heterosexual, which

based on income wealth, education,

Center work to the theory of social

privileges heterosexuals and hetero-

status, and power” (Classism Group,

justice work, and the integration of

sexuality, while excluding the needs,

March 2, 2015). I found this specific

this knowledge onto my internship

concerns, cultures, and life experi-

class discussion to be unique, because

experience. I strongly believe the

ences of lesbians, gay males, bisexuals,

it was the one I felt the most uncom-

Cross-Cultural Center is an example of



fortable with. The warm-up questions

an all-encompassing space where all of

p.373). This framework was essential

consisted of talking about the markers

a person’s complexities are welcome. I

to my growth as a social justice advo-

of class and what class we belonged to,

am thankful to work with interns and

cate. I have felt very strongly about

and I felt uneasy sharing. It was a

professional staff members who expe-

heterosexism for a long time now,

relief to hear that others resonated

rience the different forms of oppres-

though that is not to say I did not fall in

with me. I also though the group made

sion explained above. With that in

its traps before. The class activity that

the information accessible and less

mind, I have witnessed the Cross-

followed the reading also stood out to



Cultural Center’s labor in workshops

me, as I have seen those forms of

assigned readings to have done quite

that include heterosexism and sexism,

oppression in everyday life. One of the

the opposite. It was also calming to see

among many other identity oppres-

topics discussed was biphobia which

some of the terms that came up, since I

sions. As an intern, I will take what I

opens up the topic of changing that

have previously learned about them.

have learned through the research and

term to one that does not link identi-

An example of this is “meritocracy,”

facilitation I led with my team mem-

ties to extreme fear experienced by

since it is a topic I have facilitated

bers, and implement it to my work. My

bigoted individuals. I found it heart-

conversations on as an OASIS Contem-

self-initiated project will consist of a

breaking to realize the bisexuals feel

porary Issues discussion facilitator.

panel on anxiety. I will make it a point

that exclusion from the lesbian and

Meritocracy is a common concept

to include ableism in society as I facili-

gay community. Bisexual individuals

during Affirmative Action debates,


are seldom accepted in the

and it is disheartening to hear how

proceeding the panel. Furthermore,















my experience in CGS 198 would not be complete without the love and labor from the other campus community centers. It was so helpful to have everyone present, and to see all the centers form a collective to support one another in publicizing our events. By learning about what both the LGBT Resource Center and the Women’s Center was organizing and teaching about, I could tell we were doing our part to join the resistance in social justice movements. We, as a group of learners committed to growing personally and academically, were all changed in some way during the course of our time in CGS 198, and our time as Campus Community Center interns. I changed my focus, deepened my understanding of social justice, and realized my positionality across a spectrum of diverse communities in order to spread that knowledge and plant a seed. In this way, we make a change, as small as it may be. “Social justice is not about ‘helping others,’ but about making sure individually and collectively we are



expressing, and self-defining.”


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Common Ground Spring 2015  
Common Ground Spring 2015