Bakersfield College discusses civil rights

Vanessa A. Munoz

Associate Dean Corny Rodriguez explains the actions for the civil rights and how the new districts and data intake will give direction on the progress that is needed for the minority population.

Trina Goree, Reporter

Bakersfield College’s Leven Center was host to a civil rights act lecture recently.

The lecture touched on numerous issues that the Mexican American communities deal with currently as well as in the past. The failure of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s and the structural roots behind inequality and political exclusion in California’s San Joaquin Valley were among the night’s discussions.

The evening began with an introduction and back-story given by BC’s own Corny Rodriguez, associate dean of students.

Also discussed was a proposed project to help with Kern County minorities. The proposed project would be a center of social justice. The center would help change policy along with other initiatives. Nicole Parra asked, “What is the goal of the proposed center?” which Rodriguez responded with mentioning everything is data now, and the potential data collected by the center could be part of a bigger picture regarding the underrepresented Hispanic community.

Also mentioned was a leadership and equality academy. BC adjunct faculty, philosophy was among the speakers that night. Cantu demonstrated that there is a direct connection to homeownership and voting regarding minorities especially amongst Hispanics. “Homeowners are more likely to be involved and engage in local politics,” stated Cantu. Cantu gave statistics on Kern Latinos, and in the surveys it showed depending on education, language, and incomes were all important factors in determining the voting probability of Latinos.

Another speaker Jesus Garcia, CSUB adjunct political science and demographer agreed with the information being presented and also gave his own presentation on data he collected while researching the similar demographics. Garcia’s data was based on Oval Park a suburb of Visiala. The suburb is a mixture of solid middle class. The information showed that the area has been plagued with troubled political history. Part of the trouble, there has only been one Latino on the city council in the city’s 100-year history. Garcia also demonstrated proposals for a relining of districts that would better represent the Latino voter.

Finishing the night’s lecture, Rodriguez spoke on the lack of minority representation not only in Kern County and Bakersfield but at BC as well. Rodriguez mentioned the student body having a large minority representation and how the faculty at BC disproportionally represents those figures and hoped that students would come back to BC to teach after receiving their education.