With Latinx Heritage Month ongoing, Pasadena City College has been commemorating it with several Latinx events. This past Tuesday saw a new organization that was presented to help Latinx students to succeed in their academic and professional endeavors.

“It’s a big thing for us that we have the Association of Latino Employees, that our students know there are a bunch of staff and colleagues that are here to support them in their academic endeavors,” said Carlos Altamirano, Association of Latino Employees president.

California Community Colleges Organizacion de Latinx Empowerment, Guidance, Advocacy for Success (Colegas) is comprised of Latinx professionals who, through intentional advocacy and coalition building, lead and influence transformational systemic change within the California Community College system.

Spearheading this statewide initiative is Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Student Services Dr. Cynthia Olivo.

“We seek to foster and empower Latinx professionals through mentorship, networking, and professional development to ascend and assume leadership roles at the highest influential levels to eradicate systems of oppression to provide opportunities and close the equity gap for Latinx students in higher education,” said Olivo. “Creating a statewide organization for Latinos, mentoring people, providing professional development and advocating for students at the statewide level will help our students be successful.”

The creation of the organization was in response to equity achievement gaps released in reports, as only 36 percent of Hispanic students who enroll in community college go on to earn a degree.

“Whenever I sit down with a student at pass, I try to share my personal experience and remind them that I sat there, I struggled,” Margarita Rivera, Director of Program for Academic Support Services said. . t was challenging, I still struggle as a leader now. Even now as a PCC director, you have to push through. I think that sharing your experiences is very valuable to students. The more you share with students, the more they are willing to let you in. On this same vein as I’m hearing about this Colegas organization, that’s the same thing.”

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