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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

LGBTQIA2S+ Resource Program and Grads to Be join together

In the library courtyard, students gathered for an afternoon of painting and community in honor of Undocumented Student Action Week.
Art+instructor+Seranie+Ruiz+teaches+students+how+to+paint+a+butterfly+that+represents+both+undocumented+and+LGBTQIA2S%2B+students+on+Oct.+18%2C+2023.
Jose Vazquez
Art instructor Seranie Ruiz teaches students how to paint a butterfly that represents both undocumented and LGBTQIA2S+ students on Oct. 18, 2023.

On a late October morning, students congregated for an art activities workshop, Brushes and Butterflies, located in the library courtyard. Hosted by Grads to Be in collaboration with the LGBTQIA2S+ Resource Program, the event sought to provide students with a space to explore their identities.

“The idea behind the event was to explore identities and what that looks like,” said LGBTQIA2S+ Community Therapist Yanel Bueno. “With the undocu-queer identity, it’s double layers of invisibility, double layers of oppression and that is just including those two identities. You’re further erased in each culture.”

The respective programs offered students the opportunity for absolute expression through this workshop. They were given the freedom to follow the chosen template or to paint whatever came from their subconscious.

“It’s so beautiful to have this collaboration between our Grads To Be and our LGBTQIA2S+ program because it shows the intersectionality of our identities,” said Dr. Connie Moreno Yamashiro. “We know students don’t just have one identity that they hold. We often just see one identity being represented in a program, so it’s nice to see that the two are coming together especially during Undocumented Student Action Week.”

The chosen template was a butterfly. Art instructor Seranie Ruiz spoke on the significance of the chosen painting.

“They picked a painting based on their two organizations put together,” said Ruiz. “It’s a representation of DACA and the LGBTQ+ community. Having to go to a different country, the education system here, working towards what we call the ‘American Dream,’ is not an easy thing. I picture them [DACA Students] as butterflies, they’re here to work hard and make sure they have a better life.”

Located in the 500 building in room 512, the LGBTQIA2S+ Resource Program provides a space for queer folks to find community amongst each other.

“We offer mental health resources, individual therapy, we do group therapy, we also offer identity mixers,” said Bueno. “Every month, we have a different identity. In October, it’s the aero-ace mixer. It’s a space for folks to learn about identity but also find others who identify like them and to further build that community on campus.”

Mental health counselor for the Grads to Be program Janet Polanco, shared additional resources the program offered.

“The Grads to Be program is a support program for undocumented students here at Fullerton College,” said Polanco. “We provide services like academic counseling, wellness, student’s can also get free legal aid.”

The Grads To Be website also cites resources such as anti-racism resources, COVID-19 resources, fellowships, scholarships, legal services, as well as health and mental wellness.

Both programs share the goal of fostering community. Both provide a safe space for queer and undocumented folk to express themselves, to find others who share their identity, and show they will be cared for and looked out for. Most importantly, both share a desire for growth.

“A bigger space for sure. We’ve already outgrown our center. Now that we’re back on campus, it’s helped a lot that we have a location,” said Polanco. “We didn’t have a space before so now that we have a location we have a space for them to come. A safe space where they can chill, find support with other students, and find support with Fullerton College staff. The more visibility we have, the more students know that there’s a space for them where they belong.”

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About the Contributors
Brandon Kearney
Brandon Kearney, Staff Reporter
Brandon Kearney is a staff reporter in his first semester at The Hornet. Brandon enjoys horror, literature, philosophy, and anthropology. With music as a particular area of interest, Brandon hopes to be able to document the life of various music subcultures. In his eyes, each scene has a unique way of life just like any culture found across the globe. In the spirit of poet and philosopher, Friedrich Schiller, his mission is to find how people connect art, beauty, and morality.
Jose Vazquez
Jose Vazquez, Staff Photographer
Jose Vazquez is a returning staff photographer for The Hornet. Jose wants to tell people's stories and cover points of interest in our culture's conflicts, politics, history, and the obscure. His focus currently is on the emerging music and art scene in Southern California. Jose is currently studying at Fullerton College where he is working towards a bachelor’s degree in photography and journalism. He also volunteers at a nonprofit art house movie theatre in Santa Ana, the historic Frida Theatre. In his free time, he creates videos on his YouTube channel and plays drums in a garage gaze band called Black Star Meadow.

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