By Elizabeth Limbach
Founded in 2006, QQPoC is a crossroads of people with diverse cultures and genders that connect to offer support, open dialogues and take action. Unlike registered UCSC student organizations, the QQPoC is a workgroup composed of students, staff and faculty and is made possible through the collaborative efforts of four UCSC Ethnic Resource Centers, the GLBTI Resource Center and the Women’s Center.
City on a Hill Press (CHP) sat down with three members of QQPoC, returning members Tommy Le and Solymar Sola-Negron and first-time attendee Louis Ortega, to discuss what function the group serves on campus.
_What about the group’s structure makes it different from typical student orgs?_
Sola-Negron: Something that is important to note is that it’s not a student organization. It’s a workgroup, inclusive of students, staff and faculty. It is not specific to students or to staff — it’s a collaborative effort between all of the constituencies on campus.
_What space do you feel this group creates on campus? One which perhaps it was previously lacking?_
Ortega: I think it is a QQPoC collective effort to involve not just MEChA or ABSA or any other individual ethnic organization. It offers an opportunity where we can all come together as a community to create events that support the entire QQPoC community beyond just being an individual ethnic effort. It’s a collective.
_What issues are on the table when you get together? What kind of things are you trying to work on or support each other through?_
Sola-Negron: Something that is unique to the QQPoC community is that there are a lot of different identities. Not only are QQPoC members people of color, which is already a marginalized community on campus and socially marginalized everywhere else, but it is also a queer community that has a lot of identities within itself. So there are a lot of issues that we could be talking about — access to higher education at the same time as your coming-out stories [for example]. It’s very fluid what we can and will discuss.
_Does the QQPoC have any goals for the new year?_
Le: One of the goals for this group is putting ourselves out there so that other persons of color on this campus see that there is a space for them. There isn’t any other space for queer people of color on this campus. If there is, it is ethnic-specific. So it’s just [about] putting ourselves out there and showing queer students of color that we are here for them—creating visibility.
_Louis, as a new member, what attracted you to the group and what are you hoping to get out of it?_
Ortega: I’m hoping to get a more solid sense of community on this campus. A lot of queer people on campus aren’t only queer—possibly they come from a low-income family or are a person of color. All of these marginalizing things that come together to isolate us from one another. I hope this group will become a safe space for all people of color and all queers.
I really hope that we throw more events and branch out to the isolated members of the queer community who really don’t have any sense of community and are out there by themselves.
_The QQPoC is hosting its Winter Reception tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Student Union. The event will include guest speakers and food will be provided._