Assemblymember speaks on diversity and voting at RCC

By Kenia Marrufo
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Assemblymember Jose Medina speaks with students in the Digital Library Auditorium in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month on Oct. 10. Jerome Wong | Viewpoints

As the midterm elections are only a month away,  Assemblyman Jose Medina visited Riverside City College to lecture students about the significance of Hispanic Heritage Month and his approach on higher education.

Medina is a member of the California State Assembly and is running in the general election Nov. 6 to represent District 61.

From Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates generations of Hispanic Americans who contributed and influenced society in the U.S. With the high rising mistreatment to immigrants, discriminatory policies within the current administration and the ongoing racism in the community of Riverside, Hispanic Heritage Month is at the peak of it all.

“It’s not enough that we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and we don’t have Latino professors teaching or have Latinos in office,” Medina said.

He continued to discuss the many famous influential Latinos of the past and present who helped give Latinos a voice like activist Cesar Chavez, novelist Thomas Rivera and the infamous Univision journalist, Jorge Ramos who gained attention after President Donald Trump kicked him out of a press event.

With the current issues of discrimination happening in the Riverside community, Medina encouraged attendees to share their experiences with racism and what can we do to resolve them. An attendee shared her experience of discrimination by standing up to a person who was saying racial slurs to an immigrant family while riding the bus in Riverside.

“This is our country too. This country was made of immigrants, this was not made of one specific person, it was made of plenty different people and races,” attendee Patricia Martinez said.

Medina addressed the Rubidoux High School incident that happened Feb. 16, 2017, where teachers faced backlash for their mockery and racial comments of students participating during the ‘A Day without Immigrants’ walkout. The walkout was a nationwide boycott of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and the importance of immigration.

“It’s not enough just to celebrate the month, I think we need to go beyond on that and take action,” Medina said.

Medina legislated a bill that was set to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement for high school students in a three year program but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

In the past, the bill has been recognized and rewritten but been approved. The bill is one of Medina’s ideas to educate the youth in resolving racism, prejudice and discrimination.

“If we make a curriculum that is more inclusive we would all be better” Medina said.“If we don’t care about each other or we don’t even our own history, how can we say that we are educated, I don’t think we can if we don’t.”

The last day to register to vote is Oct. 22. The RCC faculty staff who were present encouraged all the students to vote for the 2018 elections.

“We must be knowledgeable, we must be aware, we must take our classes, we must do our homework and you must participate,” psychology Professor Clarence Romero said. “You are the future, you are now but if you don’t do it today with your homework we will be nothing another 400 years from now and will be the same predicament.”

Midterm elections take place Nov. 6.