ARC’s UNITE Center partners with Pride Center to bring an intersectional speaker series about social justice to students

A diverse student body calls for diverse role models to shape the future of social and political change

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Queer, nonbinary, Native two-spirit activist Candi Brings Plenty, was promoted on UNITE’s Instagram before their appearance in “The Movement Will Be Intersectional” speaker series, at American River College in Spring 2021. (Photo via UNITE’s Instagram)

Ben Kynaston, Staff Writer

Beginning over a decade ago, the issues of police brutality and transphobic bathroom laws and marriage equality laws brought stories of unjust treatment to the tongues and minds of many in the form of news stories and online movements that opened the door for more marginalized groups to speak on their own issues.

With the sharp increase of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders targeted by hate crimes after the racialization of COVID-19, the importance of including them in the conversation about a better, more equitable future is clear, according to Roderic Agbunag, faculty coordinator of the UNITE Center. 

This has inspired the members of the UNITE Center and the Pride Center to put together a virtual speaker series, “The Movement Will Be Intersectional,” which will be an ongoing event featuring speakers from diverse backgrounds with stories to tell that will help amplify the voices of marginalized groups and help students to learn from different experiences about the importance of social change.

These events are publicized on UNITE’s instagram page and scheduled to take place on most Wednesdays at noon. 

“We look forward to hearing the experiences and knowledge of the invited speakers. They all come from diverse backgrounds and will discuss their intersecting identities as part of the series,” Agbunag said in an email to the Current.

This series was designed with the promotion of inclusion in mind, choosing speakers with intersecting marginalized identities to lift them up and give them a platform for better visibility according to Agbunag.

“The hope is that our ARC community will gain a better understanding of communities that they may not be knowledgeable about, find ways to support disproportionately impacted people, and most importantly uplift our QTBIPOC communities through positive representation,” Agbunag said.

The UNITE Center has also collaborated with Sacramento City College to help support AAPI individuals specifically in light of these horrible hate crimes to feel heard and seen in a group of their peers. These sessions are every Friday at noon.

“We hope to be a resource for our API community. We invite them to join us in these sessions to be heard, to sit in silence together, or simply allow us to provide resources for those experiencing fear, anger, and confusion due to these violent attacks on the API communities,” Agbunag said.

The UNITE Center has partnered with WEAVE for Sexual Assault Awareness this month and is also planning various events to celebrate API Heritage and History through early May.

 “We’re not sure if our center will be returning for the upcoming Fall semester, but I look forward to seeing our students in person and feel as a community once again,” Agbunag said. “Working in a virtual environment has felt isolating at times and I know that our students miss being in our centers of support too.”