Panelist speak on promoting change in the Delano community


Rhiannon Stroberg

From left to right: Janet Rabanal, Larissa Portillo, Liz Morris, and Ricardo Chavez serve as panelists at the Promoting Change event, while Anhelica Perez served as the moderator at the last BC Delano campus’ Cultural Historical Awareness Program event.

Javier Valdes, Copy Editor


The Bakersfield College Delano Campus Cultural Historical Awareness Program (C.H.A.P.) hosted its last event of the fall semester at the Robert F. Kennedy Lecture Hall on Nov. 19.

The concluding event “Promoting Change: The Importance of Community Involvement,” was arranged by the new Delano Campus programmer for the Department of Student Life, Anhelica Perez.

The panel discussion focused on the importance of civic unity in Delano and how it brings about the betterment of the community. Panelist included Delano City Council member Liz Morris, Delano Chamber of Commerce executive director Janet Rabanal, Delano High School head volleyball coach Larissa Portillo, and Delano mayor pro tem Ricardo Chavez, with Perez serving as moderator.

Questions posed to the panel varied from how to get started with civic duty to what community members can do to encourage the younger generations to stay in Delano.

In regard to civic duty and how the community can become involved, the panelist pushed involvement and networking. Morris suggested that those who would like to become involved can start by joining a cause, using those efforts to meet people. “Get involved in some type of organization, start off with that, because there is all sort of good organizations that do good things for people,” said Morris. “Once you get involved, you will get to know those people, and that’s how you increase your network.”

The panel continued throughout the evening discussing how instilling confidence and how giving back to the community can influence those around you.

As a coach, Portillo urged the need for accountability and the importance of watching her team grow.

“You have to be responsible…learn how to be vocal and stand up for what they believe in,” Portillo said. “I can see the transition in how they talk, how they approach things, and their mindset. It’s so rewarding to see the individual growth and growth as a team.”

As to how the Delano community can encourage the younger generation to remain in Delano, the panelist pushed the need to get involved. They suggested that although many leave because they don’t believe Delano provides as many opportunities as a bigger city would, involvement can change that.

“We hear a lot that there is not much to do in our community … there is a lot of things happening, but you have to get out there, you’ve got to get involved and be the change you want to be in this city,” said Rabanal. “Our unemployment rate is now at seven percent, it went from 35 percent to seven and that’s for you.”

The event ended with a general Q&A session. BC Delano Campus professor Oliver Rosales confirmed that C.H.A.P. would be returning with more free events next semester.