Three students have been chosen to represent Central Oregon Community College on two statewide network boards. Students Mable Jackson and Patti Tanewasha were selected for the Oregon Students of Color Coalition and Stephanie Pedro was selected for the Oregon Student Equal Rights Alliance.
These boards, which operate under the Oregon Student Association, bring members from across Oregon to lobby for legislation that meets their common goals, according to Kurt Killinger, director of legislative affairs with the Associated Students of COCC.
“I look for somebody with a very broad social justice framework,” Killinger said. “Also someone who can advocate for students in all marginalized communities at a state level.”
OSERA deals with the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and questioning youth, according to Tessara Dudley, co-chair of OSERA.
“We’re looking for students who are LGBTQ or allies who want to work on issues particularly pertinent to the LGBTQ community,” Dudley said. “Last year, we lobbied at the capitol and spoke directly to legislators.”
Last year, OSERA helped pass a bill requiring cultural competency for health care providers that mandates training in health care centers on how to be sensitive to members of LGBTQ culture.
“OSERA is about student representation, student power and student voice,” Dudley said.
While OSERA deals with the LGBTQ community, OSCC represents and lobbies for racial minority students in Oregon colleges and universities. Mable Jackson, a Madras resident and student at COCC, has a personal investment in making colleges better.
“I have two sons attending COCC as well as other family members,” Jackson said. “I’m going to do the best in this position that I can and do all I can to ask questions. …I feel really honored to have been chosen.”
Jackson hopes that, as part of OSCC, she can help make the school experience better for minority students even before they come to college.
“When students don’t want to further their education,” Jackson said, “it’s often because of how they’ve been treated in the classroom.”
Killinger is looking to fill at least seven more board positions before November.
Editor’in’Chief, The Broadside