The BCC VOICE
Spring 2017, Issue 2
3 Young Moms Speak Out
Smashing Stigmas and Getting Degrees
4 On the Chopping Block
What Trump's Budget Cuts Could Mean
Derek Chartrand Wallace
5 What's in a Name?
The Little-Known History of BCC
David l. Laidig
6 Fund Your Study Abroad Trip
Don't Let Barriers Stop You
8 Staying Fit
Shortcuts for Students
10 KIKI: A DOCUMENTARY
A BEAUTIFUL DEPICTION OF LGBTQ LIFE IN NEW YORK
Six-Word Story Contest Winner
12 Mental Health Crisis
Should Police Be the First Responders?
THE BCC VOICE is produced by English 14/15 students at Berkeley City College, with funding from the Associated Students. A special thank you to the ASBCC, the BCC English Department, administrators, faculty, and students who make this school great!
Smashing Stigmas and Getting Degrees
ON THE COVER: Bri Lamkin is a western Colorado based artist. She received an Associate's Degree from Brigham Young University - Idaho with an emphasis in photography. She has been behind a camera for over ten years. Her recent work is primarily collage and attempts a lighthearted approach to discussing heavy topics such as mental health, feminism, and earth conservation.
See more of her work at brilamkin.format.com
Check her out on society6.com/brilamkin
Find her on Instagram @brilamkin
Photo of Cruz and family courtesy of Vanessa Cruz
Inside This Issue
BCC Voice - Spring 2017 - Issue 2
By Alex Burt
Photo of Burt and daughter courtesy of Brook Christensen at Camera Shy
I had my daughter at twenty-one. When most of my friends were just starting to explore the bar scene, I was exploring mommy-and-me classes and trying to navigate the hierarchy of the Bay Area mom scene. I didn’t have a brand-name pregnancy; I wasn’t pushing a top-of-the-line stroller, and wasn’t privy to the status symbol a handwoven, organic, sustainable baby-wearing sling would provide. But, I would soon learn that even with the material trappings, finding support and friendship as a younger mother is difficult to achieve.
There is a stigma around young motherhood in the Bay, one that paints us as less capable, as reckless, as irresponsible, as kids having kids, as not having goals. It’s not always said, but heavily implied with a raised eyebrow, a pointed glance, and a slew of inappropriate comments.
For me, it often comes in the form of offhanded comments or questions asked as casually as one would talk about the weather. She can’t be mine; I must be the nanny. Had I considered abortion? Did I use protection? Why would I willingly throw my life away?
I can’t imagine people asking these questions of a first-time mother in her late twenties, or early thirties, the “respectable” ages to have a child in today’s society. These types of questions are invasive, and while I’m proud to be a mom and I'm proud of my daughter, I can’t help but feel my hands clam up, and my face get hot with shame over my age, every time strangers seek to sate their curiosity.
This behavior diminishes me, and other young moms, who are actively smashing this stigma by balancing work, school, and motherhood. Being a young mom isn’t easy, but being a mom isn’t easy, period.
Ask Vanessa Cruz, a BCC employee and student bound for transfer to San Francisco State University in the fall, who's raising an energetic four-year-old, and balancing a demanding AFROTC Cadet training schedule to boot. Cruz had her son at sixteen, and experiences her fair share of snap judgments and probing questions surrounding her parenting style. People ask whether her son is her little brother, or how she’s able to do it all, and do it well. But that didn’t stop her and her husband from moving from LA to the Bay on their own to carve out the best life for their family. Her husband is on a full ride scholarship at UC Berkeley, which Cruz says is “extremely family friendly, with a parent center where [she] spent most of her time when [they] first moved here, and found [she] was able to build a support system of other student parents.”
She explains that often she and the other moms would take turns watching each other’s kids between classes, and occasionally exchange babysitting, which led her to feel like she wasn’t alone. This type of community is essential to young parents seeking to finish their education and circumvent the stereotype of being uneducated or unable to support their families. Cruz says it isn’t as easy to find this type of assistance at BCC where the breastfeeding room is “a storage closet covered in boxes, tucked away on the top floor, which isn’t easily accessible at all.”
She explains that there is no type of mother’s room or any way for moms at BCC to connect. She went so far as to put together an entire presentation on how BCC could benefit from the same type of designated space for student parents to take their kids and better be able to manage the demands of raising a child and pursuing a degree. Not a babysitting center, simply a kid-friendly space for moms and dads to converge, study, and occasionally look out for one another when times get tough.
Lily Milián is a single parent of four children, who had her first baby at age nineteen. She has been told by family, friends, and even strangers that she's not going to become anything, that everything was wasted for her, and that she'd amount to nothing outside of being a mom.
CONTINUED on page 11
YOUNG MOMS SPEAK OUT: continued from page 3
Milián hasn't let discouragement derail her. Instead, it's a motivator. "I'm showing people that even with four kids, and all by myself, I'm able to finish this goal," she says. Though, at times it's difficult. She often stays up "until three in the morning doing homework and helping with the kids' homework." On top of that, she's "making dinner, doing all of the laundry and working."
Milian has also experienced backlash at having a mixed family, and for not being married. Especially in the Latino community she has older women ask her if all of her kids are her own, and if she's married, and when she says no, they want to know why not. At times she's felt like a burden when she's sought aid and been made to feel like she's taking services away from more deserving people.
Her children are of different ethnicities, so she also experiences hostility from strangers looking at her with contempt or making comments that she has to tell her kids "not to listen to" because of their hurtful nature. She explains that she's "learned to just ignore people and do what [she's] going to do" rather than constantly defend herself and her family.
Milian is transferring to Cal State East Bay in the fall, but she agrees with Cruz that a student center would have been invaluable to her during her time at BCC. It stands to say it would also benefit the twenty-five plus single moms Milian knows personally through her work-study role with EOPS and the CalWorks programs. These moms often have to miss class or beneficial workshops when they have no place for their child to go. Times like these are when a parent center would give these student-moms access to a support system and the resources they need to succeed and keep pushing towards a brighter future.
If you aren’t a parent and have made these types of judgments before, give it a second thought and offer a smile or wave instead, a little kindness goes a long way. For the fellow mamas and dads out there doing their best not to raise assholes, get your degrees, and juggle a job too—you’re not alone.
Young Moms Speak Out
Photo Credit: Loan Nguyen
The Little-Known History of BCC
By David L. Laidig
On the Chopping Block
By Derek Chartrand Wallace
President Trump has proposed a budget that if approved by Congress will slash $9.2 billion in funding from the Department of Education, according to the White House website. This would force millions of low-income students under the axe and reach all Peralta College campuses. The “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” document calls for cancellation of $3.9 billion from the Pell Grant system’s surplus—money that politicians on both sides hoped to channel into summer school programs.
Pell Grants are provided for students with financial need who have not earned their first bachelor's degree. Unlike loans, they do not need to be paid back. Despite describing these grants as an efficient way to deliver need-based aid, Trump is hovering the executioner’s blade over this reserve while also threatening to cancel funding to undergraduates in the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program. FSEOG awards are given to highest-needs students demonstrating low “Expected Family Contribution” in the form of parents' and/or students' inability to provide for post-secondary education expenses.
Work-Study funds will also be reduced “significantly,” which the National Association for Financial Aid Administrators estimates will hurt more than 600,000 students with jobs germane to their studies.
Loan Nguyen, Berkeley City College Financial Aid Supervisor, told the BCC Voice in a recent interview, “Our department might have limited funding to use for hiring more hourly staff or less money to buy supplies and other office operating needs would be limited.”
Chancellor Jowel C. Laguerre says the district is preparing for these potential cuts, but he feels students should not let fears negatively affect their desire to receive a quality education. “The United States Congress has supported financial aid programs for many decades,” Laguerre told the BCC Voice. “The threat to reduce or eliminate funding has happened many times, so it is important that students be active in support of ongoing funding for education.” He believes that, “It is important that students be determined to complete their studies as quickly as they can."
As far as alternatives to Pell Grants and FSEOG awards, Laguerre postulates that, “We will have to rely heavily on the Board of Governors’ Fee Waiver as well as whatever relief the California Legislature will see necessary. Students who participate in the Oakland Promise, the Alameda Promise, or the Berkeley Promise could get some limited relief from these funds.” He concludes that, “Nobody should be alarmed; it will work out at the end.”
Nguyen reiterated the Chancellor’s call for calm and for BCC students to maintain dedication to course completion. “I’m hopeful that Trump’s budget will not be approved by Congress, but if it is, we are here to help, support, and assist students in any way.” Nguyen highlighted a more immediate hazard to students who need help paying for college and related expenses. “I have been working here for many years and have seen too many students unnecessarily disqualify themselves from financial aid because they didn’t think they met the criteria, so I would suggest every student apply, regardless of their situation or any change in regulations because you don’t know if you qualify unless you apply.” She also reminds those attending and considering attending college that, “There are new changes in 2017/2018 coming up for FAFSA where the student can apply earlier than January. Now you can start as early as October.”
Nguyen also stresses the availability of student-workers who are on campus daily, Monday through Friday. So, if you don’t have a background in computers or know how to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), her staff can help with those questions. “Please come by and visit us,” she beams. “We’re happy to see you!”
What's in a Name?
What Trump's Budget Cuts Could Mean for Students
As the new building took shape in 2004, Vista Community College was still the official name.
Photo Credit: David L. Laidig
Berkeley City College’s current building has been in use for 10 years, but few know the full story of the college, which started in 1974 as the Berkeley Learning Pavilion. For many years the Berkeley community pushed Peralta Community College District (PCCD) to establish a full-scale junior college in Berkeley. At first, the answer was “No, you’ve already got the university.”
That’s how I remembered the time in 2006, when students and faculty eagerly prepared to move from scattered, rented classrooms and labs into our own new building on Center Street. As I looked into attribution for those memories, I got deeper into the narrative. Who knew it would be so difficult?
Fortunately, Hannah Chauvet’s Multimedia Arts 198 class conducted many insightful interviews in 2014 to document BCC’s fortieth anniversary. Jenny Lowood, one of the interviewees and longtime chair of the English Department, gave me a 2009 BCC catalog that neatly summarized key dates and evolving concepts.
The college started with an impetus for alternative post-secondary education. In line with this, the Learning Pavilion’s name was changed to Peralta College for Non-Traditional Study in October of 1974.
BCC Professor of History Chuck Wollenberg, in his 2014 interview with the Multimedia Department, described this new approach to education as “life-long learning.” The “college without walls” responded to business, industry, and community needs by offering vocational, business, art, and creative options in twenty different locations. By using non-traditional locations like the West Berkeley YMCA, Summit Education Center, Oakland Army Base, St. Mary Magdalene School, and the North Berkeley Community Center, as well as under-utilized classrooms at Berkeley High School and U.C. Berkeley costs were kept low, pleasing PCCD administrators and developing a tradition of flexibility and innovation. In 1978, the school changed its name again to Vista College. By 1981 over 200 locations were hosting courses.
But by this time, the community service approach was losing favor with state legislators. The funding formula began to focus more on degrees and transferable credit. College leaders, considering these changes and the need for accreditation, decided that a more traditional model was needed for Vista.
However, offering more credit transfer and career tech courses put Vista in direct competition with the three older Peralta colleges: Laney, Merritt, and Alameda. In the developing rivalry, Berkeley had the advantage of lower operating cost because of low rent and mostly adjunct (part-time) teachers. But the lack of a permanent location made Vista more peripheral and more expendable. They exploited this weakness whenever cut-backs were needed. Former PCCD Trustee Tom Brougham (1987-2000) stressed this in a recent interview with The BCC Voice.
Brougham characterized Vista in his era, as the least established, but most productive and innovative of the district, but said the Trustees had a persistent dynamic. Whenever they needed to chop their budget, they would resist any district-wide reform and vote instead to chip away at Vista. Yet, when new state funding was available, Vista would respond rapidly by bringing new money into the district.
A PCCD chancellor in the mid-90s, Dr. Robert Scannel, was aware of this value and resisted efforts to close Vista. He was fired by the Trustees. Brougham said this triggered the "deannexation movement," an ultimatum in which Vista threatened to break away and form its own district (taking Berkeley’s affluent tax base with them) unless the PCCD granted funding equity and a permanent campus.
In 1995, the drive began to create the Vista Community College District by deannexing the cities of Albany, Berkeley and Emeryville from the PCCD. (Imagine California breaking away from the U.S. to become its own country.)
CONTINUED on page 11
WHATS IN A NAME: continued from page 5
Their petition was from the community at large and had strong support from the faculty, but a few didn’t want to rock the boat. Wollenberg recalls exciting secret meetings with other “rebel” faculty.
Jenny Lowood remembers joining the faculty in 1989 as an adjunct. There was a sense of equality among the part and full-timers that was not reflected in PCCD’s budget allocation. Based on “full-time equivalent students” Vista was not getting its fair share. The college was bringing in $5.5 million a year, but PCCD’s budget for Vista’s operating expense was only $3 million. Enter the "Cash Cow," a cow mascot designed to literalize the metaphor.
All school districts in the affected cities needed to be convinced so, in addition to a Powerpoint presentation explaining the math, the Cash Cow would amble in to highlight how Vista was being used and drained, with the cream flowing elsewhere. Now Chair of BCC’s Modern Language Department, Dr. Fabian Banga played the cow’s rear end.
Capping a 2-year effort, in November of 1997, the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges voted to place deannexation on the June 1998 ballot. Voters of the whole PCCD would decide if Vista should separate from the cities of Alameda, Oakland, and Piedmont.
Then it got even more contentious. The PCCD Board filed a lawsuit against the state board.
Three months later Alameda County Superior Court Judge Henry Needham ruled that splitting the district would significantly affect the racial composition. A San Francisco Chronicle article on March 6, 1998 cited an analysis by the Alameda County Office of Education: the new Vista district would be 63 percent white and 17 percent black, while the remaining PCCD would be 40 percent white and 37 percent black.
Finally, cooler heads prevailed. In return for giving up deannexation, Vista was promised a new building and equity funding from the District.
Ground was broken in 2004. After much discussion, a new name was chosen once again. In 2006, Berkeley City College students began their fall semester in an almost finished building.
Students in line at Financial Aid (open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and until 6:30 on Wednesdays).
Financial Aid is located on the 1st floor.
Jarrett Wright in Nice, France with UC Berkeley's summer 2016 study abroad program. Photo courtesy of Jarrett Wright.
If you could study abroad, where would you go and what would you study? A semester in Italy to study art, in Germany to study politics, or in Japan to study media? Students dream of studying abroad, but perceived barriers stop them from pursuing their goal.
Less than 10 percent of American college students study abroad, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE). At Peralta Community College District, between 2014 and 2016, 113 students participated in a study abroad program. Drew Gephart, Peralta’s International Services Manager, wants to double that number of students studying abroad by 2020.
For students, the barriers to studying abroad can seem daunting: non-transferable credits, delaying graduation, incurring debt or loss of current home and employment.
“We want to be able to help students go abroad because the stats show, students who study abroad actually have a greater chance of college retention and completion,” said Gephart. “Having traveled abroad and seeing others who have, I have seen how it has changed their lives.”
The initial questions students should answer to help create an action plan to knock down those barriers are: What do I want to study? Where do I want to go? How much money do I want to spend? How long do I want to go for? Do I want to earn credit or just have an interesting experience? Gephart suggests the online site, gooverseas.com where students search by country, program type or term. Once you have your answers, research and navigating the system becomes easier.
Time, Credits, and Graduation
If you are on a tight two-year to a four-year transfer plan and do not want to risk prolonging graduation, there are alternatives to the traditional year or semester long programs. Short-term programs for a month or a few weeks are viable options.
The Gilman Scholarship offers awards up to $3000 to students studying abroad for at least four weeks, or a two-week program specifically for community college students. This can also be a workable solution for students with housing and employment barriers who are unable leave for three to four months.
To ensure your course credit abroad will count towards graduation, work with your Peralta department chair. “Download a syllabus, take it to the department chair, and ask, does this course qualify for any classes at Peralta?” suggests Gephart. Admissions and Records has a petition for a substitution form available on their website. “Students should get it approved before they go and to have the documentation. There is a way to transfer the credits; they will need to do the work ahead of time and consult an academic counselor.”
Peralta students can also participate in other college study abroad programs such as City College of San Francisco and UC Berkeley summer program. Jarrett Wright, former BCC student and current UC Berkeley undergraduate, took this opportunity during the summer of 2016. “I knew I wanted to go to Cal., and I happened upon a presentation given by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology on Cal Day 2015. They were talking about a program focused on innovation, creativity, and start-ups. It was essentially, how you move from the idea cloud, to product in hand, team in place, and company started in three weeks flat.”
Wright visited the program’s website, and discovered students could spend a summer in Nice, France participating in a start-up incubator. “I was looking at the criteria, and it read 'one year of college required.' I wanted to be prepared as best I could because I was afraid that there was some kind of hidden requirement like I had to be a UC student.”
Wright spent the summer and fall of 2015 tracking down the staff of the program to get more information. “I was trying to find them but they were having new offices built. I would show up at one location and it would be closed. I emailed the contact person who was in a third location but she was hard to pin down.” Once he did, it was true, the only requirement was one year of college.
Money, Money Money
The number one barrier for students who want to study abroad is finances. Each program is different when it comes to cost. Third party organizations offer scholarships to encourage students to participate in their programs. API Study and Intern Abroad offer scholarships from $250 to $1000. Trips can also be organized through third party organizations such as World Teach or Carpe Diem Education, who handle travel arrangements lodging, and airport pickups.
Peralta sponsored programs to Ethiopia and Ghana, typically cover all of the logistics, travel, lodging, meals, and travel insurance. “The African American Studies Department at Merritt has been doing trips forever, longer than I’ve been here,” said Gephart. “They do a lot of fundraising to keep the program at a low cost.”
Wright was in a difficult position and had to be creative in order fund his study abroad program to Nice, France. “I was in a weird place. I was leaving BCC in spring 2016, starting UC Berkeley in fall 2016 and the program happened in summer 2016. The program fee and tuition was $5,700, plus a $400 deposit and my flight cost. I felt like that guy in the movie who is tuck in the airport. But I had to go and if you want it bad enough you’re willing to do what it takes.”
He applied for as many scholarships as possible, some far outside the box. “I was working with the Peralta Foundation to find out about new scholarships. I went to their workshops and TAP, so I knew how to craft an essay.” Gephart advised him to start a GoFundMe page.
"I had an elevator pitch so anybody and everybody I bumped into knew what I wanted. I’d say, Did you see my GoFundMe page? Here take a look. Some people would say, I saw your fundraising page and hand me $40.”
During his time at Peralta District, Wright was involved in Umoja and assisted in writing the student equity plan. “People knew my work ethic and my reputation came with me. I asked for help, and when that person was unable to help, they would say, but go talk to this person. You are going to get a ton of no’s. Are you going to let those no’s be a wall or speed bump?”
In addition to his GoFundMe campaign, Wright was awarded six scholarships. He covered the program costs plus a little extra for trips to Spain, Morocco, and Rome with his classmates. “Because it was a summer program, I did not have to come up with three months’ worth of rent. It was a four to six-week program and I earned six units of UC Berkeley credit.”
Peralta’s study abroad website has a link to a scholarship database. Students can go to StudyAbroad.com and search for funding. There are two language scholarships available from the U.S. Department of State. “I would love to have more students apply for those because they are full ride scholarships, basically free,” said Gephart.
Although applying for a financial aid loan is possible, Gephart strongly warns against it, “I would recommend scholarships, fundraising or using their financial aid such as FAFSA. There is so much money out there, it is just a matter of doing the work.”
Wright will be graduating next year with a BA in Rhetoric and he’s planning to apply to Harvard Business School in 2020. He recalls his time in France, “What I learned was invaluable. It shaped my time at Berkeley. You are spending six weeks with the same people and you are doing everything together so you have a special bond with these people. There were 80 people on that trip and every day on a campus of about 37, 000 students, I saw at least one from the program. Seeing those familiar faces made it a little bit smaller, intimate and manageable.”
Peralta’s Office of International Education estimates 107 students will study abroad programs in 2017, doubling the total from last year.
To learn more about available opportunities, sign up for the study abroad newsletter:
http:// web.peralta .edu/international/study- abroad- newsletter or contact Drew Gephart at (510) 587-7834 or email@example.com.
By Tamara Sherman
Don't Let Barriers Stop You
Drew Gephart presented at the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) 2016 Best Practices Conference. Photo courtesy of Drew Gephart.
Fund Your Study Abroad Trip
By Aigerim Dyussenova
Photo Credit: Gabriel Hamsi
Living in East Bay on a minimum wage, being a student and having two or three jobs is not something hard to imagine. How do students get by? Cut the daily expenses and minimize any extra activities such as gym memberships.
Tacos at a taco shop cost around $3-$6. Buying the ingredients for your taco—avocado $2, tomatoes $2, onion $0.60, tortillas $2-$3, meat around $7-$15—the math is already above $20. Plus travel time to the grocery store can take up to an hour, and cooking time is 40 minutes. Most students would go with the first option of simply going to the taco shop to buy cheap tacos.
However, have you thought about the amount of salt in your delicious taco beans? Salty and sugary foods can lead to many health issues, including diabetes and other heart risks. Finding affordable healthy food options is a task which comes with lots of frustration and time consumption.
For most students snacking is an important part of the daily routine, a must to stay fit and to keep from starving yourself. It is hard to imagine being healthy without having exercise on your to-do list. It can be frustrating for a student on a budget to sign up for a membership at a local gym. Gym membership requires a sign up initiation fee from $50 to $100 dollars. Monthly gym memberships cost somewhere between $30 and $79 dollars. Let's also keep in mind the annual fee some gyms charge on top of membership fees which could be another $50 or $60 dollars. On top of the financial expense, students are also short on time to prioritize their exercise routine. With these struggles in mind, the BCC Voice interviewed local experts on diet and exercise to get some tips for students who want to stay healthy.
“Planning and preparing meals ahead of time will help save time and money, and it will help maintain a healthy lifestyle. For example, if you plan on having rice and beans on a particular day every week you can prepare the meal in bulk and freeze it in portions that can be warmed up as needed.” says certified nutritionist and personal trainer, Dani Arruda Feres. Students could choose a healthy option of buying an orange and apple for $2 instead of a muffin or scone for $3. Trader Joe’s grocery store is a 7-10 minute walk from Berkeley City College to grab prepared salad snacks.
“One great meal prep option is fruit, nuts and low-fat yogurt for breakfast. This meal can be rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants, and can be prepared quickly,” says Arruda Feres.
In the age of social media maintaining a healthy weight has become more like a trend than staying healthy. “The basics for maintaining a healthy body weight would be drinking plenty of water, making sure to eat fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and manage your emotional stress.” says Arruda Feres.
Busy college students have the best excuses to skip exercise from their daily routine. I’m late to my class, I’m late on my deadline, finals are approaching, etc. “When it comes to exercise, students might think the core is sweating or devoting hours in gym. Believe it or not, 30 minutes of speed walking is considered a cardiovascular exercise.” says Christian Dale Sanchez, fitness instructor at the YMCA.
Dale Sanchez further explains “Both cardiovascular and weight training exercises help memory and cognitive functions by reducing insulin resistance, reducing inflammations, and stimulating the release of growth factors. All of these affect the health of brain cells and promote growth of new blood vessels in the brain.” In other words, working out will help you study better.
Thirty minutes of cardio exercise helps to improve performance whether at school or at work. For healthy brain functioning, personal trainer and fitness instructor at the YMCA, Zachary Wells says, “When you think brain function, also think blood flow. Cardio-based exercises help encourage blood flow throughout the body to promote and maintain healthy brain functioning.” Students should think of exercise as part of their semester-long project. For example, try 10-minutes of jumping jacks to prepare the brain before beginning a big writing project.
Another barrier to student health and success is sleep deprivation. Both Dale Sanchez and Wells expressed their concern about being sleep-deprived and exercising at the same time. While Dale Sanchez suggested exercises that are no more than 30 minutes and low intensity, Wells stresses the importance of a stretching routine coupled with some mind-body exercises, such as yoga or meditation.
The Bar Method Berkeley studio owner, Helen Liu approaches gym time from different prospective. “I always find that in my 60-minute workout at The Bar Method, it's my hour to push aside all other thoughts and stay present in the moment. As a result of remaining focused and present, exercising can serve as a tremendous stress reducer. At the end of the day, if I have a clear mind and can put aside stressors, I will certainly get a better night's sleep,” says Liu.
Make time for short exercises. “There are many ways to sneak exercises into your daily routine. Try working on your balance while washing your hands, do calf raises while brushing your teeth, or even body squats while waiting for the bus or BART. You may get some funny looks, but we are in Berkeley, so that's OK. Everyone's doing something funny.” says Wells. Liu adds “Before getting dressed, do 20 push-ups, stretch for 10 seconds, hold a plank for 1 minute (this targets every major muscle group), stretch briefly, and then do another 20 push-ups. This will take less than 5 minutes to complete each morning, and it's a great way to wake your body up and build core strength."
"Push-ups, performed on your knees or your feet, are similarly beneficial for targeting large muscle groups throughout your body and increasing cardiovascular health,” says Liu. “Start by working in a small range of motion, and over time as you develop stamina, you can make the motion larger and increase the number of reps. When your core is strong, you benefit from improved posture and reduced pain.”
Liu also pointed out that “Your deepest and strongest abdominal muscles are your transversus abdominus, which attach to your diaphragm. While sitting down, suck in your navel tightly and hold the position to engage your transversus abdominus. Do this as often as you remember to throughout the day. You will slim your abs as they become stronger. For example, whenever you're standing in line, squeeze your thigh and glute muscles, hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Do this off and on while you're in line.”
Staying healthy is not something students should compromise with. Having a healthy lifestyle and making it a habit is not a task that can be delegated. Only you can be the CEO of your health department. Pay attention to what you eat, and exercise daily – even 5 minutes can make a difference.
If you start a membership at The Downtown Berkeley YMCA, you can get a free Fitness Coaching session with ether Wells or Dale Sanchez. The Bar Method has a promotion for BCC students: New clients are able try 30 days of unlimited classes for only $65 (normally $99). Use promo code "BCC2017." Promotion ends May 31, 2017. The Bar Method is located at 2095 Rose St., Ste. 102, Berkeley, CA 94709. http://berkeley.barmethod.com
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Shortcuts for Students
As the newly-named Berkeley City College began classes in their new building, some areas were still masked in plastic sheeting and a few floors were still bare concrete.
Photo Credit: David L. Laidig
Six-Word Story Contest Winner:
Pain makes you a normal superhero.
By Nichelle Pete
By Katie McCluer
Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA
A BEAUTIFUL DEPICTION OF LGBTQ LIFE IN NEW YORK"
Photo Credit: Katie McCluer
Photo Credit: IFC Films
"kiki : a documentary
Throughout history, the LGBTQ scene has made a home for itself in New York City, with or without acceptance from the public. More recently, that home has taken shape in the Kiki scene; a group of houses that compete regularly in the Kiki ball, where they dress in drag for a dance competition. Sara Jordenö brings Kiki into the public eye with her documentary film on the resilience of the young people within the scene. The movie showed at Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive in the African Film Festival on the night of April 27th, 2017.
The festival is a myriad of different genres and themes. “We try to show all different modes of filmmaking, by established filmmakers as well as emerging filmmakers. We’ve always tried to do that every year,” says Kathy Geritz, curator for the Pacific Film Archive. Geritz chooses films that represent a multitude of perspectives. “Something like ‘Martha and Nikki’ or ‘Kiki,' they’re amazing for their profiles of young people, whereas something like ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ or ‘A Chadian Tragedy’ are portraits that enrich our knowledge and show the depth of difficult experience that Africans and African Americans have, so they bring about different experiences,” says Geritz.
The film focuses on how Kiki gives LGBTQ youth not only refuge from disapproving parents but also support and acceptance from their found family within the scene. Concentrating on LGBTQ youth of color, the film covers a multitude of topics, from the dance competitions to the political dimension of being LGBTQ. Dedicated to her cause, Jordenö spent five years with the people in the film, catching beautiful images of their daily lives and candid interviews with their family members; recounting their reactions to their sons coming out as gay or trans.
During her five years with the prominent members of the Kiki scene, Obama was re-elected into office and gay marriage became legal for all same sex couples, regardless of the state they live in. Given the current political climate, this feels bittersweet, but in an appearance after the film, Jordenö reassured the audience that the advocates have not been discouraged. The members of Kiki are shown fighting for their cause in Washington DC, giving a more well-rounded view of their lives. Kiki might be taken lightly if Jordenö showed only dancing scenes.
Jordenö makes insightful choices about which footage to include; the film covers the spectrum of hardships the LGBTQ community faces; including HIV, homelessness, disrespect from the police, disrespect from their families, sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation. In a particularly engaging moment, a trans woman speaks openly about how easy it can be to turn to sex work when you can’t find any other job because of discrimination.
Many depictions of queer communities either do not include people of color, or don’t put emphasis on this underrepresented group that is working for social justice. Jordenö pays particular attention to LGBTQ people of color; making the film fresh and relevant.
Aesthetically speaking, the film is gorgeous. Still shots and close ups of faces make it intimate, and awe-inspiring dance shots grace the scene with the backdrop of New York City as a curtain.
The stories and struggles of the Kiki participants have a profound impact on the viewer. By the end of the movie, someone watching feels as though they know the members of Kiki personally. The film is politically relevant, raw, emotional, and picturesque. These things combined make it a significant portrait of the LGTBQ community, unlike any other of its kind. “Kiki” can be rented online for $6.99, or owned for $12.99 at www.kikimovie.com.
Starting April 6th, alongside the African Film Festival, the archive will also be a venue for the San Francisco Film Festival. Coming up in June, July, and August, there will be “a series of films about authors and books with the Bay Area Book Festival," “a series on Toshiro Mifune, a famous Japanese actor," “a series of films from the 40s and 50s based on women crime writers,” and “a series of fun summer films." Films cost $8 for students and are located at The Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St., Berkeley, CA, 94720.
Mental Health Crisis\
By Christopher Do
Should Police Be the First Responders?
Derek Wallace, a BCC student, was walking down Shattuck when he noticed a man lying down passed out on the corner. Wallace observed a couple of people walk past the man and ignore him as if he were not there. “I felt like I had to help that man,” Wallace later told the BCC Voice. He went to the man's side and attempted to communicate, but he was mumbling incoherently, so Wallace dialed 911. A few minutes later the cops showed up, sirens blazing, which led the man to panic. Eventually the situation escalated into a verbal conflict. “I was worried that I had made the situation worse by calling the cops,” said Wallace. Luckily, soon thereafter the fire department came followed by the ambulance and the man was seemingly taken care of. Wallace, however, felt like the police who arrived first weren't adequately trained to help stabilize the man.
In 2015, the City of Berkeley's Housing and Community Services Department released that there were about 800 homeless people in Berkeley. About 20 to 25 percent of those people suffer from some form of severe mental illness according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, which leaves approximately 200 homeless people in Berkeley who may have a severe mental illness. Whenever one of these people commits an illegal or disruptive act such as yelling, loitering or even sleeping, the only number available to call is 911, which dispatches police, who may not be prepared to handle delicate situations involving mental illness.
People with mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed by police according to a 2015 national study by the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center.
Bill Pickel thinks that police should not be the first respondents to a mental health crisis. Pickel is the Executive Director of Brilliant Corners, a non-profit which provides supportive housing for developmentally disabled people in California. In his 10 years at Brilliant Corners, Pickel has seen and heard of many abuses caused by police towards developmentally disabled people. “All you can get when you have an emergency is paramedics or police and neither of them are realistically suited towards dealing with a serious mental health issue,” he says.
Pickel used to work as the housing developer in 1999 for Christian Church Homes providing low income housing. Then he was offered a position as the executive director at Brilliant Corners, which was known as West Bay Housing in 2007. After nearly two decades of first-hand experience with developmentally disabled people, Pickel believes that “There should be annual courses which train police with mental health crisis, to focus on deescalating situations and identify when there is a serious mental health crisis. In addition, each police department should have a mental heath specialist which is able to deal with the most serious of mental health issues.”
Pickel was quick to say, “I'm sure that not every time the police are called a situation escalates or turns violent, but all too often the only time we hear about situations involving mental health crisis is when things go awry.” In fact, last October, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee announced a plan that would link together licensed mental health professionals to police officers in order to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence when it comes to mental health suspects, according to reporting by the SF Gate.
A social worker who works closely with Brilliant Corners, providing clinical case management for the chronically homeless, and who wishes to remain anonymous, told the BCC Voice that, “Police have a hard job, often times they go into a situation with little to no information. Thankfully, every time I have had to call the cops it has only been for wellness checkups not for deescalating a violent situation.”
This source believes identification and communication are key when involving the police in cases pertaining to mental health crisis. “Often when the police are called in for mental health disturbances, the person who is having the crisis is non-violent. Sometimes these people are just confused and can't cross a street or need to talk to someone, but are unsuccessfully adapting to an unfamiliar situation. This is compounded with whatever is mentally abnormal with that person.”
So what are you going to do the next time you see someone collapsing in the street talking to themselves and feel the moral obligation to help someway? If you are in Berkeley you can call Crisis Services at (510) 981-5290.
If you must call the police, follow the anonymous social worker's advice: make sure that you clearly state that you think the person is having a mental issue and identify whether or not they have a weapon or are violent, in order to avoid unnecessary escalation.
Octavia Court, An assisted living home developed by Brilliant Corners, an oasis of housing for developmentally disabled adults. Photo courtesy of Brilliant Corners.