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Comunidad Releases Annual Newsletter

May 3, 2021

Photos of Los Rios employees and students included in the Comunidad newsletter

Los Rios Community College District Latinx/Chicanx Professional Affinity Group
Annual Newsletter 2020-2021

La Historia

There has been a long history in the Los Rios Community College District of Latinx/Chicanx employees who have organized a support system for new and continuing professionals in the district. A sense of familia is critical for Latinx/Chicanx individuals to thrive in the large and complex institution of education, for professionals as much as students.  Below is a brief history of the various versions of this support system that has established a foundation for Comunidad today.  We have a current 2020-2021 roster of 729 members.

  • Early 2000’s: Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association (CLFSA) formed at Sacramento City College
  • 2013: District-wide Comunidad first met during UC Davis HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) Summit 

Mission and Vision


Comunidad de LRCCD strives to be at the forefront of research-informed, data-driven, and culturally relevant innovation to dismantle systems of oppression and build an environment that reflects the aspirations of our communities, colleges, and District.


Comunidad de LRCCD is a culturally-based professional network that serves to enhance professional opportunities, advocate for students, and create a safe and welcoming environment for the Latinx/Chicanx and undocumented communities.

Comunidad Leadership 2020-2021

  • Mario Rodriguez
    Mario Rodriguez
    ARC Co-Chair
  • Veronica Lopez
    Dr. Veronica Lopez
    ARC Co-Chair
  • Rick Ramirez
    Dr. Rick Ramirez
    ARC Professional Development Chair
  • Griselda Casillas
    Griselda Casillas
    ARC Community Partnerships/Outreach Chair
  • Ricardo Caton
    Dr. Ricardo Caton
    ARC Campus Partnerships Chair
  • Bee Curiel
    Bee Curiel
    ARC Record Keeper/Communication Chair
  • Mariana Valdez Jimenez
    Mariana Valdez Jimenez
    ARC Secretary
  • Melissa Sanchez
    Melissa Sanchez
    FLC Chair
  • Tania Hernandez
    Tania Hernandez
    SCC Co-Chair
  • Paula Gonzalez
    Paula Gonzalez
    SCC Co-Chair
  • Rosana Chavez-Hernandez
    Rosana Chavez-Hernandez
    SCC Secretary
  • Lorena Jauregui
    Dr. Lorena Jauregui
    LRCCD Comunidad Communication Chair

Honoring and Remembering Ruben Ruiz, Sacramento City College

Ruben RuizThis edition is dedicated to Comunidad member Ruben Ruiz, who passed away on January 22, 2021.  He worked at Sacramento City College since 1993, most recently as a financial aid officer.  Students saw Ruben as someone they could rely on for timely and thorough assistance.  He would go above and beyond to ensure that students were supported and had the right information to succeed. Ruben is missed dearly by his colleagues at SCC and by the members of Los Rios Comunidad.

Comunidad News

Summer Comunidad Retreat August 14, 2020

 To kick off this year of education during a global pandemic, we held our first-ever virtual Comunidad retreat. This one-day event included sessions on networking, a “Comadres, Compadres, No Binaria” session, digital inclusion, and Anti-Blackness in the Latinx Community.

a group of Puente students posing in front of a table outdoors, and wearing masksPuente

American River College

ARC Puentistas are starting to announce their college admissions news, which include Sac State, UC Davis, Berkeley, and many more! The ARC Puente celebration for students will take place on Wednesday, Cinco de Mayo. Some students from Honors College Composition and Literature course, and TA Claudia Guerrero, joined English Coordinator Cathy Arellano to virtually attend the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies conference. Counselor Carmelita Palomares and SPA Katia Morales-Becerra kept the mentee-mentor mixers lots of fun with their virtual games, such as “Lotería Treasure Hunt” and “Among Us.” In addition to teaching ENGWR 300 and ENGWR 94 in the Fall and ENGWR 301 in the Spring, English Professor Melissa Diaz added her special pizazz to the online events. Mentor Griselda Rodriguez with Counseling/Coordinator Dr. Rick Ramírez facilitated “Our Cultural Strengths and Assets: Reframing Deficit Thinking” workshop and Mentor Stephanie Gomez led the “Self Care Is for Everyone” workshop. This semester, in Honors ENGWR 481, Mentor Claudia Guerrero has been volunteering and Nacho Fernandez of WAC has returned to work with PUENTE students. Finally, back in Fall 2020 all of the cohorts attended the statewide virtual conference and heard incisive calls for social justice from Dr. Cornel West and Las Cafeteras.

Cosumnes River College

The CRC Puente team consists of Aselia Valadez Melo as Puente Coordinator, Chris Torres as HCD Professor, Priscilla Hansen as English Professor, and Tria Vue as Puente Support Staff.  This year’s events included a Culture and Identity Presentation and Chicano Movement documentary screening Presented by Senon Valadez, PhD, Emeritus in Anthropology from Sacramento State University, and Director/Producer of Chicano Movement Oral History Project. Puente provided the Film Screening of “Singing Our Way to Freedom” and Q/A with Producer/Director Paul Espinosa. This year Puente began providing major information sessions to Puente Major-Familia’s and hosted events such as UC Davis Prep Médico: Navigating Your Path into Medicine, as well as information sessions about UC Riverside, Chico State, Department of Psychology, Sacramento State Business Administration and UC Davis Avenue E Engineering and Avenue B Biology programs. All sessions included a student panel. Puente Collaborated with CRC’s Music Department and Co-Hosted “In the Studio” with Estevan Azcona, Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at San Jose State University, and co-producer of the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings release, Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano Movement. This Spring, CRC Puente selected 6 students nominated for their leadership to attend UC Berkeley Hope Program Mujeres Leadership Meeting, where students met directly with professionals in various professions; students selected were Kalian Rivera, Monserrate Rosas, Maria Del Carmen Iturriaga, Jaiden Gallegos, Ana Yesenia Murillo Rivas, Grecia Gomez. CRC Puente also began a partnership with SMUD’s Luna Program for Mentorship and Internship opportunities. 

Sacramento City College

This academic year, SCC Puente welcomed a new English Instructor, Rachel Spangler. With her guidance, we had a 100% completion rate for English Writing 300! The Puente Program at SCC was the first program to develop a remote Mentor model that was used and shared throughout the nationwide program. SCC Puente Program Student Personnel Assistant Alejandra Benites and Counselor/ Coordinator Sandra Guzman both worked together to develop these "Mentor Platicas." In collaboration with RASA Center, Sacramento City College Puente hosted many activities, including a virtual discussion with renowned author, Reyna Grande.

Los Rios Undocumented Student Resources

California AB 1645 was passed, providing funding to enhance and institutionalize undocumented student support in California community colleges. During the Fall 2020 semester, Los Rios campuses collaborated to host virtual “Undocu- Weeks of Action'', a High School Senior Undocu-College Week, and an Undocu- Leadership Conference component to the 5th Annual Keeping the Dream Alive Conference hosted by Dream Resource Center at Sacramento State. In Spring of 2021, Los Rios Undocu-Resource Programs collaborated with other northern California colleges and partnered with Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) to host the virtual “Undocu-Wisdom Workshop Series” for students, allies, and the community. 

American River College

Jose Gonzalez
Jose Gonzalez was hired as the new UndocuScholar Resource Connect Student Services Specialist in February, 2021. Jose earned a BA in Social work in 2017 and will be graduating on May 15, 2021, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling from CSUS. Jose is an Alum of Cosumnes River College and Sacramento City College, and a former PUENTISTA. His previous experiences include a coach for the DEGREES Project (Dedicated to Educating, Graduating, and Retaining Education Equity Students). In addition, Jose was a social worker for Children’s Law Center. He is excited to be a part of the ARC Comunidad, a group of passionate people willing to go above and beyond for our students. His goal is to continue advocating for UndocuScholar students and help eliminate barriers that prevent them from achieving their educational and professional goals.

Folsom Lake College

Andrea Fuertes
Andrea Fuertes currently serves as the Equity Center Specialist and Undocumented Student Liaison at Folsom Lake College (FLC). She has been with the Los Rios Community College District since 2016.  Prior to working with Los Rios, she served as Success Coordinator for Ohlone College and as an EOP Counselor for California State University, East Bay. She holds a Master’s degree in Education from Chico State and prides herself in being an advocate for UndocuScholars and students of color.  Andrea’s dedication to serving students come from her personal experience as a first-generation college Latina and daughter of undocumented parents. She is proud to support FLC’s undocuscholars through her work in the FLC Equity Center.

Cosumnes River College

Joann Ramirez
Joann Ramirez has served Cosumnes River College as an Outreach Specialist since 2017 and as the Dream Center Liaison (AB1645) since 2020. In this capacity she oversees Dream Center programming and support services for students impacted by undocumented status. Joann currently serves on various district and state-wide committees and collaboratives to increase collaboration across the Sacramento region to serve undocumented students and students of mixed-status families. These include: LRCCD Rapid Response Team, CCC Undocumented Student Advisory (Entering the Path Lead), member of the CCC SB1159 Workgroup, Northern California Undocu-Centers Collaborative (Co-Chair), CCC Undocumented Student Advisory Committee Member.

Cosumnes River College

Aracely Larreynaga
Aracely Larreynaga was hired in November 2019 as the CRC Dream Center Student Personnel Assistant. Aracely received her BA in Psychology and BS in Human Development from UC Davis. She is currently a graduate student in the Counselor Education Program at CSUS. Aracely has dedicated her time to engage in intentional services and programming that are unique and specific to the undocumented student population. During her time at the UC Davis AB540 and Undocumented Student Center, she engaged in support services on campus that were unique for students impacted by the undocumented status. Her dedication to serve and support undocumented students are due to the need for advocacy for students who are impacted by their status every day. She will continue to engage and support students who are disproportionately impacted by their status in every step of her educational and professional career.

Sacramento City College

Angelica Garcia-Galvan
Angelica Garcia-Galvan was hired in September 2019 as a temporary Student Support Specialist for the Undocu-Resource Program and was transitioned to a full-time Specialist in April of 2021. Angelica is a former Sacramento City College Alumni, RISER, and Puentista (2012-2013). She recently earned her Bachelor's degree in Ethnic Studies from California State University, Sacramento. As an undocumented student, Angelica has dedicated herself to supporting and advocating for students who are undocumented and/or underrepresented. She has worked at Sacramento City College for approximately 8 years as a Student Assistant and Student Personnel Assistant for general counseling, the Learning Resource Center, EOPS, and the Puente Project. As an SPA for the Puente Project, Angelica co-founded the Luther Burbank Dreamers Program in 2016, McClatchy Dreamers Program in 2019, and helped coordinate Future Scholars Conferences in 2017 & 2019.  Sacramento City College has been a second home to Angelica and she is happy to contribute to the Panther community, especially as an advocate for other students like herself.


“Honrando a Nuestros Estudiantes” virtual event, May 6, 2021

Honrando a Nuestros EstudiantesThe annual Latinx/Chicanx Recognition Ceremony, Honrando a Nuestros Estudiantes (Honoring Our Students), is a Los Rios Community College district-wide event that celebrates the accomplishments of students that have earned a certificate and/or degree or are transferring to a four-year university. The committee also awards multiple scholarships to students.  For the 2021 virtual ceremony, we have an unprecedented 261 graduates and transfer students registered to participate.

Los Rios HSI Updates

A “Hispanic Serving Institution” is a federal designation that allows colleges to apply for competitive grants focusing on Latinx and low-income students. Sacramento City College’s HSI Title V grant that funded SAGE (Students in A Global Economy) is closing after fulfilling its grant goals of providing students a learning community with a global and cultural focus. This project was most recently led by Director Rosana Chavez-Hernandez, who also spearheaded the grant-writing of a new HSI Title V Project that was awarded to SCC and will focus on an early college program starting in Fall 2021.  The SCC SESI Project, “STEM Equity Success Initiative”, is funded by the HSI STEM Title III grant.  This program serves STEM students in a learning community environment, and also has a faculty Professional Learning Community. This project is led by Director Martin Ramirez.  Cosumnes River College was awarded an HSI Title V Grant that will focus on developing the “MI CASA'' Project, providing students the opportunity to enroll smoothly in college, stay in college, and reach their education completion goals on time. A big congratulations to CRC’s Gladis Sanchez, who has been hired as the new CRC HSI Grant Project Director.

American River College Professional Development Series

This inaugural series has a focus on supporting the success of Latinx/e students based on the Latinx DI Report. “Mejorando ARC para nuestras comunidades: Bridging the gap between education and liberation for Latinx/e students” launched this spring and was facilitated by Griselda Casillas and Dr. Veronica Lopez.

Mario Rodriguez, ARC, Awarded ACPA Latinx Community Advancement and Service Award

Mario Rodriguez received a meaningful award from the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), which is an international student affairs professional association. He was recognized for his long-time work advocating for the Latinx community in higher education.


Congratulations to our Comunidad colleagues who completed a degree in 2020-2021.


  • Anjelica M. Lopez
    MS in Counseling
  • Jose Gonzalez
    MS in Counseling
  • Martin Tellez
    MA in Higher Education & Student Affairs


  • Joann Ramirez
    MS in Counseling
  • Nayeli Chaidez
    MS in Counseling


  • Alejandra Benites
    BA in Liberal Studies/Multicultural Studies
  • Angelica Garcia Galvan
    BA in Ethnic Studies
  • Paula Gonzalez
    MS in Counseling
  • Yolanda Ramirez
    BS in Career and Technical Studies

Hires & Promotions

A big welcome and congratulations to our Comunidad colleagues who were hired or promoted into full-time positions in 2020-2021.


  • Jose Gonzalez
    UndocuScholar Resource Connection Student Services Specialist
  • Karina Tinoco
    Interim Outreach Specialist
  • Bee Curiel
    Interim Outreach Specialist
  • Angel Garcia
    Interim Director of ETS


  • Gladis Sanchez
    HSI Title V Grant Project Director
  • Mario Rodriguez
    TRIO SSS/STEM Specialist


  • Angelica Garcia Galvan
    Student Support Specialist for Undocu-Resource Program


Congratulations to our Comunidad colleagues who retired from our district in 2020-2021.


  • Diana Montijo
    Counseling Student Personnel Assistant
    15 years of service


  • Denise Castaneda
    English Professor
    13 years of service 

Comunidad Calendar of Activities 2020-2021 (all virtual)

  • July 30, 2020
    Comunidad Leadership Planning Meeting
  • August 14, 2020
    Comunidad Virtual Retreat
  • September 14, 2020
    Comunidad Bienvenida for Los Rios Students
  • September 15, 2020
    SCC Raza Bienvenida Week: Latinx Student Bienvenida
  • September 15, 2020
    SCC Raza Bienvenida Week: Latinx Bingo
  • September 16, 2020
    SCC Raza Bienvenida Week: Labels and Identity Workshop
  • September 17, 2020
    SCC Raza Bienvenida Week: HSI-SESI Faculty Long Introductions & Student Educational Journeys
  • September 17, 2020
    SCC Raza Bienvenida Week: “I’m in College!  Now What?” Student Workshop
  • September 18, 2020
    SCC Raza Bienvenida Week: Puente Club Creative Circle for students
  • September 18, 2020
    Platicas With Comunidad Professional Development: LGBTW+ 1010 - How to be an ally
  • September 23, 2020
    Platicas With Comunidad Professional Development: Ways to Support Hispanic Serving/Latinx Initiatives
  • September 28, 2020
    Comunidad Social hosted by ARC
  • September 28, 2020
    “Drag Ball” Drag show event for Latinx Heritage Month hosted by ARC
  • September 30, 2020
    Platicas With Comunidad Professional Development: Supporting New Professionals in Los Rios
  • October 2-3, 2020
    “Feria de Educacion” College Preparation Event for Students - hosted by Sacramento State
  • October 15, 2020
    SCC Comunidad General Meeting
  • October 20, 2020
    Platicas With Comunidad Professional Development: Road to Pursuing your Master’s Degree
  • October 22, 2020
    Platicas With Comunidad Professional Development: Road to Pursuing your Doctoral Degree
  • October 28, 2020
    Comunidad Social hosted by SCC
  • November 2, 2020
    Los Rios Dia de los Muertos Altar Share
  • November 12, 2020
    Self Care with Comunidad: Yoga Session
  • November 16, 2020
    SCC Comunidad General Meeting
  • November 18, 2020
    Self Care with Comunidad: Stress Reduction Workshop
  • November 19, 2020
    Self Care with Comunidad: Viva La Joteria - Latinx LGBTQIA+ Staff/Faculty Space
  • November 19, 2020
    Comunidad Social hosted by FLC
  • November 30, 2020
    Self Care with Comunidad: Yoga Session
  • December 3, 2020
    Self Care with Comunidad: Meditation Session
  • December 17, 2020
    Comunidad Posada Social
  • February 3, 2021
    ARC Comunidad General Meeting
  • February 6, 2021
    “Steps to College” College Preparation Event for Students - hosted by Mexican Consulate in Sacramento
  • February 11, 2021
    Statewide Colegas Latinx Virtual Mixer
  • February 17, 2021
    ARC Comunidad General Meeting
  • February 18, 2021
    SCC Comunidad General Meeting
  • March 3, 2021
    ARC Comunidad General Meeting
  • March 17, 2021
    ARC Comunidad General Meeting
  • March 25, 2021
    SCC Comunidad General Meeting
  • April 14, 2021
    ARC Comunidad General Meeting
  • April 28, 2021
    ARC Comunidad General Meeting
  • May 6, 2021
    Honrando a Nuestros Estudiantes Virtual Celebration
  • May 12, 2021
    ARC Comunidad General Meeting

Related Links

Comunidad: Latinx Resource Group