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News: PCC Safe Zone Coalition Holds Community Press Conference to Celebrate 1-Year Mark

The Pasadena City College Safe Zone Coalition – a network of college faculty and staff trained to support the unique issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) and undocumented students – will be celebrating the end of its first year on campus with a community press conference on April 16, from noon-1 p.m. in the PCC Circadian. PCC President Dr. Mark Rocha will help mark the event by signing a declaration of support for Safe Zones and an open letter for Partnership for a New American Economy, which calls for rational immigration reform. 

State Sen. Carol Liu (D-25th District) will be presenting Safe Zone Coalition members and allies (those who have completed Safe Zone training) with a state commendation for their ongoing work supporting cultural competency.

“Despite the tremendous issues being faced by our general student body, our LGBTQ and undocumented students face additional burdens and it’s our job as the PCC community to support all students by learning more about how we can help their overall success; the Safe Zone Coalition has been a great facilitator,” said Dr. Cecilia Medina, PCC counselor and Safe Zone Coalition committee member.

The Safe Zone Coalition began organizing in 2011 in response to the many policy changes on the issues of undocumented students, including the Dream Act. The coalition believes that the movements for LGBTQ and immigrants’ rights are fundamentally intertwined because both populations struggle with issues of marginalized identity. The goal is to bring awareness and increase the campus community’s understanding of LGBTQ and undocumented students’ issues to help support student success. Through professional development training, student workshops and community outreach, the Safe Zone Coalition has made great progress over the past year.

“For us, the biggest accomplishment has been the overwhelming support we have received on campus and the great turnout for our workshops,” said Juan P. Carreon, PCC Student Affairs advisor and Safe Zone Coalition committee member. “We would like to continue to train more faculty and staff, with the goal being that eventually there won’t be a need for the coalition; that all students on campus feel comfortable no matter what their status may be.”

Upon completion of training, Safe Zone allies receive a sticker that is identifiable by LGBTQ and undocumented students. The sticker conveys a source of support if an LGBTQ and/or undocumented student needs help, advice or just someone with whom they can talk. The coalition has more than 70 trained allies.

The open letter Rocha will be signing is a collaborative effort by presidents of leading American colleges and The Partnership for a New American Economy – a bipartisan group of mayors and business leaders raising awareness on the economic benefits of immigration reform. The letter calls on President Obama and Congress leaders for a bipartisan solution that will provide international graduates with a clear path to a green card.

Student representatives from both United Without Boundaries and the Queer Alliance will be sharing a few words at the press conference along with President Rocha.

For more information, call (626) 585-7092 or email Dr. Cecilia Medina at cdmedina@pasadena.edu.  

Release Date: 04/15/2013
Contact: Juan F. Gutierrez , Director, Public Relations
Phone: (626) 585-7315
Email: jfgutierrez@pasadena.edu