Activist forms Rainbow Club

Quest continues for inclusion, representation


Xavier Johnson / The Advocate

Rainbow Club President Alfredo Angulo has established the club to represent Contra Costa College’s LGBTQ population.

By Xavier Johnson, Web Editor

Young political activists don’t often focus on one issue because as one issue is tackled, inter-sectional problems present themselves.

For an activist, this is seen as an opportunity to enact further positive change.

For sophomore political science major Alfredo Angulo, his activism and participation in the campus community has expanded this semester with the formation of the Rainbow Club.

His is a newly formed club on campus to advocate, provide support and hold events for the LGBTQ population at Contra Costa College.

“I wanted to create a space where queer youth can find community. You feel isolated by the surrounding community — that you don’t fit in,” Angulo said. “I didn’t know a lot of openly gay people and I imagine that’s the experience a lot of students are having.”

The Oakland native was already an active member of the campus prior to establishing the Rainbow Club. After reading an opinion piece written by former Advocate Editor-in-chief Michael Santone, he became aware of the fact that there weren’t any groups on campus that advocated for the LGBTQ population.

“I saw the ‘We Stand Together’ signs on all the buildings, so I knew the campus was doing something to help queer students feel included. But I didn’t know of anywhere there was a club of people on the spectrum,” he said.

Early this semester, Angulo teamed up with freshman Aubrey Kelly to establish the club that had a presence at the semesterly Club Rush event, complete with a live band next to its table.

Angulo took on a mentorship role showing Kelly how to establish the club and navigate the campus community.

Kelly said, “A month before the fall semester began, we met and he helped me understand the college system and the student center. He helped with starting the club and handling paperwork.”

An LGBTQ club has been an inconsistent part of the campus for the past decade.

Alphabet Club was its previous incarnation. But it faded away during the 2017 academic year. Since then, there hasn’t been an active club on campus.

Angulo recognizes this shaky history and looks at the stability of La Raza Student Union as an example. He uses his community organizing background as a foundation for the Rainbow Club to expand upon.

“We need to make concrete how important this club is,” Angulo said. “We want to make sure the people in the club have a passion and drive for building a community for queer students on campus.”

“Once we get a solid structure of dedicated people our presence will expand. People will be more open to joining us,” he said.

Political science department Chairperson Vanna Gonzales said Angulo is a politically active student who wants to get involved in as many things as possible on campus and catalyze structures in different areas.

“I see him as a strong advocate for students, for voting rights and for promoting things that focus on the public good,” Gonzales said.

Angulo’s parents were political refugees from Mexico, and from an early age he has been interested in politics.

After the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, Angulo said he was inspired to get involved in community-based social movements like “Get Out the Vote” campaigns and lobbying.

One specific challenge the Rainbow Club faces is dealing with students who may not be open about their sexual identity due to a lack of comfort or safety concerns. While Angulo is an out bisexual student, he understands that others may not be at that point in their journey.

“I do hope with the club that the people we have who are open will bring comfort to other people. If people aren’t out and want to join the club but want to keep it confidential, I’m totally cool with that.

“I really want this club to give people the agency to feel proud of who they are.”