Volume 47, Number 1
Solomon advises and provides support to students
Growing up in a conservative rural area, Lisa Solomon didn’t have access to an LGBT center or a Gay Straight Alliance Club, and as a result, knows how important it is to provide support to the students at Imperial Valley College, where she is a history instructor.
“That support means more to those students than you may ever know, and it is needed today as much as when we were students,” she said.
Solomon made her remarks upon receiving the second annual David A. Sanchez GLBT Award during CCA’s fall conference in Sacramento. The award was created by the CCA Faculty Equity and Diversity Committee and named after former CTA President David A. Sanchez, who was not only the first Hispanic, but the first openly gay CTA president.
The prestigious award honors those who have supported, promoted, recognized, and educated our community college family regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) issues.
As an instructor, Solomon has worked to build a more tolerant atmosphere at IVC, serving as an advisor and supportive faculty to GLBT students. Students at the college are currently in the process of organizing a new LGBTQ Club and are hoping to create a Safe Zone program by the end of this are stepping up to provide support to GLBT students as well, Solomon says.
“It is part of our responsibility to ensure that they are able to leave our campuses as adults who are ready to face the challenges of society and be willing to do their part to make it better,” she said. Noticeably touched by the award bestowed on her by colleagues, Solomon reflected on the both the progress that has been made within the LGBT community and the challenges that remain.
Progress and challenges
“Today we have better treatments for HIV/AIDS, but an increase in the rate of infections. Reports of violence and harassment against the LGBT community continue, but more people are speaking out against such actions. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is still legal in many states, yet more and more voices are calling for change. Young people are still having to deal with hatred and bullying from classmates as well as teachers, yet more of those classmates and teachers are stepping up and out and saying, ‘no more,’” she said.