El Centro celebrated Women’s History Month with a paint night on Mar. 24 centered around Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. All donations raised were given to Ruby’s Place in Castro Valley.
Clubs and organizations at Chabot have been trying to build themselves back up since the start of the in-person semester. El Centro, Chabot’s organization committed to encouraging the Latine community, undocumented and low-income students, announced their paint night to bring students together.
Monica Olmedo is the current Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) coordinator of El Centro and a part-time English instructor. As the paint night event organizer, Monica wanted to come up with a fun subject to focus on while also tying back to women’s history month.
Frida Kahlo was an easy pick for El Centro as the painting subject to focus on, a staple in the Mexican artist world and an icon among the Latine Community. On Jul. 6, 1907, Kahlo was born in Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico. She married another Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, and most of her work reflects her life.
“She represents the artist community, but also the LGBTQ+ community. She was disabled … She was a strong person.” Monica knew that Frida would draw people in and get many excited for a fun night.
Bringing the community on campus back together was a key focus of the event, “I think we just really need this,” Monica hoped that students would be excited to come together and start participating in school activities again and rejoice as a community.
The turnout was a great success, with nearly 50 people and some latecomers also trying to get a seat. Students who worked in El Centro were there to help all the participants hand out supplies and provide complimentary food.
The other key component of the event was finding a way to reach out to more women. This is where Monica located Ruby’s Place, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping end domestic violence and human trafficking and helping survivors regain stability in their lives.
In Alameda County, there are several counseling services for trauma victims and educational resources and housing services, the closest in Castro Valley. As Monica dropped off the donations collected at paint night, Ruby’s Place reached out to her to hopefully connect potential students through the nonprofit and get them started on their academic path.
“It’s funny how some things happen,” Monica was more than excited to hear that her event reached out beyond its initial intention. While a lot of coordination will be needed to work on this new project, it’s just the beginning. “I’m happy this turned into a two-way street to help.”