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New club on campus for queer students of color

(Photo courtesy of Celine Barrera) The Queers of Color Alliance began at Mills College in fall 2017.
(Photo courtesy of Celine Barrera)
The Queers of Color Alliance began at Mills College in fall 2017.

A new club on campus is providing space and voice to queer students of color: the Queers of Color Alliance.

According to club president Lizbeth Cuevas, the club was created because of the lack of campus resources for LGBTQ+ students of color.

“It provides a brave space for queer people of color,” Cuevas said.

The club envisions creating leaders and building connections with similar clubs, he noted.

Elizabeth Rangel Maldonado (who uses they/them pronouns) is the publicity chair of the Alliance. They described the club as “just a space for you to be there with other people of color, because they will probably understand what you’re also going through.” Referring to the lack of representation for queer people of color, they said that “[The club] gives people of color a platform to talk about issues that mainstream outlets won’t talk about.”

Club advisor Alfredo Del Cid is excited about what the club has to offer the Mills campus.

“I think it will definitely help with continuing the conversation, particularly intersectionality,” Del Cid said. “I also hope that it will help educate the campus at large through events, through programs and just through visibility.”

Del Cid went on to explain why he is excited about the creation of the club on campus.

“I think a lot of times people still see different identity groups as somewhat separate, when we know that’s not the actual case. And I think this group really highlights the beauty and complexity of intersecting identities,” Del Cid said. “Queers of Color Alliance really helps provide a space for that, where you can be hopefully as true of yourself as you can be here at Mills. The way I see it, it’s actually going to strengthen the work that the other organizations already do.”

This idea of support through and between multiple clubs resonated with Celine Barrera, vice president of the Alliance. She said it was actually in a meeting of the Latinx Student Collective that she made her first connection to the queer community.

“It wasn’t until I was in a room full of queers of color that I learned what the term queer meant and what that entailed for me,” Barrera said. “And I had the bravery and the strength to say to myself and to the people around me that, hey, I identify as a queer of color. And that was really exciting.”

“I really hope that it continues to expand and that people find it as a place that they can go to learn more about themselves and the people they’re going to school with and the queer of color movement,” Barrera said. “I hope that it expands and that more queers of color on campus go to it and use it.”

Queers of Color Alliance meets on Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the LGBTQ+ Lounge. They have already held their first two meetings, an ice cream social and craft night.

Barrera said that at the second meeting the Alliance created posters and art to go up in the LGBTQ+ Lounge, “just so it’s more of a space we feel comfortable going into.” She wants these events to be spaces where students can learn “what we can do to feel stronger and to build ourselves up and build each other up.” According to Cuevas, such plans for the future include a drag show, a Latinx and queer documentary screening, a queer mixer and much more.

Barrera summed up why Queers of Color Alliance was created.

“Mills just needed this space, and I did too for my personal growth,” she said.