Ideas for equity, big and small, presented students an opportunity for reflection and motivation during Lit Lunch, held on Feb. 26 in the Office of Equity, Social Justice and Multicultural Education.
Speakers Angelica Esquivel, program coordinator for the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action and director for Higher Education for AB 540 Students, and Vivian Bejarin, English instructor, talked about their work in making De Anza College a more equitable place.
Esquivel, who focuses on helping undocumented students, and whose research on immigration policy programs has taken her to the White House, spoke of her goals for equity at De Anza.
She said she hoped students understand their power, and to use that power to bring about change.
The issue of equity might seem to huge an issue to take on, but everybody can adopt changes to address smaller, simpler issues of equity, she said.
“Whatever they want to advocate for at De Anza,” she said, “they can count on me to help them.”
Bejarin struck a similar tone when talking about her support of equity among students. She said she teaches students to use their agency and their voice, and hopes that empowerment will help them with advocacy in college or the community.
Like Esquivel and Bejarin, Adriana Garcia, Office of Equity administrative assistant and organizer of the event, stressed the need for students to realize their power and their ability to change the campus for their benefit.
She said she hoped the event would help students “start conversations about their needs and to understand their power.”
“They’re the driving force, they’re the decision makers in their journey and our journey in our collective identity as De Anza,” she said.
Attendee Alex Woolner, 23, history major, said he hasn’t done any work towards making the campus a more equitable place yet, but after hearing the speakers he hopes to.
After attending Lit Lunch, this hope is enough to start to make a difference.
“There’s committee works, there’s shared governance,” said Garcia, “and then there’s this thing called initiative and courage that make equity come alive.”