Category Archives: Profiles

The Health of Small Businesses: ShortCutz

The small business community has been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic. Local barbershop ShortCutz on A Street in Hayward is just one of the many businesses that have been temporarily closed and deemed non-essential.

Owner and operator of ShortCutz, Trevoi “Big Tree the Barber” Fortson has been cutting hair for 20 years.  ShortCutz, however,has only been around for 13 years and this is the first time Fortson has ever seen anything like this.

Several barbers alongside Fortson have been out of work for two months and counting due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), resulting in the shop’s employees looking for work elsewhere. “I have a barber who is now working at 9-5 just to make ends meet,” says Fortson. 

Fortson and other barbers in ShortCutz “have been taking classes and test on sanitation and safety prior to the pandemic outbreak,” states Fortson. “Now to be forced to close is horrific.” 

When allowed to reopen, ShortCutz wants clients to feel safe and not be afraid to be in its establishment.

“I will be implementing new routines,” says Fortson. “Wiping chairs prior to service, partitions between each stylist, mask, gloves, and if you’re not being serviced you can stay in your car until we are ready to service them.” 

Those are just a few things Fortson plans on instituting to ensure to safety of his customers when ShortCutz is allowed to reopen its doors. As of now, barbershops are still deemed non-essential, however, a source of income is essential.

In Loving Memory of Sergio Rossi

Italian footwear designer Sergio Rossi passed away on April 2 at the ripe age of 84, after contracting the coronavirus and being hospitalized for days in the intensive care unit of the Bufalini hospital in Cesena. With his passing, Italians grieve because a part of them is lost as well.

Rossi, born July 31, 1935, is part of an essential group of designers, from Baldinini to Pollini, and all in between, who made the art of Italian footwear iconic.

Learning the art of shoemaking at age 14 from his father, Rossi became a skilled craftsman early in life and he took pride in selling his hand-made sandals on the beaches of Romagna. Rossi started selling his first shoes in Bologna stores in 1966, before launching his namesake brand in 1968.

In the 1970s Gianni Versace approached Rossi to work on a collaboration. Their union, now famous, was immediately greeted with great ebullience by the world of fashion, marked as a meeting between two geniuses.

Continuing on his rise into the 1980s, Rossi’s brand formed close and deep ties with multiple fashion houses, producing shoes for Dolce & Gabbana (from 1989 to 1999) and for Azzedine Alaïa.

In the late 1990s, the Sergio Rossi brand was bought by the Gucci Group. In December 2015, “Sergio Rossi” returned to Italian ownership, purchased by Andrea Bonomi.

Over the years, Rossi’s masterpieces have been favored with some of Hollywood’s elite actresses, such as Anne Hathaway, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Halle Berry.

After working alongside his father for years, Gianvito Rossi launched his own business in 2006.

“There are those who have had the good fortune to transform their art into work and those who have the extraordinary talent of transforming their work into a work of art,” Gianvitio wrote in a statement. “Sergio Rossi was this man. A husband, father, grandfather, and progenitor of a family that followed his example.”

Rossi’s family honored him on Friday, April 3, a day after the legendary footwear designer passed.

“The family offers, with love, their last goodbye: ‘With the unquenchable fire of your passion, you taught us that there are no limits for those who love what they do,’” Gianvito added. “Goodbye, maestro.’”

Art Arriola: The Brass Man

Music has the power to not only bring people together but to inspire as well. Art Arriola, a 62-year-old student at Chabot College, uses his talent as a trumpet player to bring joy to all who would listen.

While the trumpet is Arriola’s primary instrument, he also plays the trombone, French horn, and the cornet. He has been a musician for 53 years and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Starting his adventure at Chabot College in the Fall of 2016, Arriola has managed to obtain many certificates that Chabot has to offer such as, Audio Recording through the Music Recording Technology (MURT) classes, Music Industry Entrepreneur, and a certificate for Music Production.

Having a double major in Music and Communication, Arriola after obtaining a degree in Music, wanted to open up a school called “Art, Music, and Promotion.” Its purpose was to teach young musicians how to record, duplicate and promote their music. This was his original plan. As time goes on, plans do change. Having experience connecting with the other students on campus, he decided to pursue a career in counseling.

Most of Arriola’s influences to become a musician came at a very young age. Maynard Ferguson, James Brown, and Tower of Power were the significant influences in developing Arriola’s playing style. He always got a kick out of Jazz, but Arriola felt that Smooth Jazz was quite easy to navigate.

At the age of 15 in the summer of 1971, Arriola was in a band called “International Sound” and participated in the Battle of the Bands that was held at Chabot College. Since then, he has maintained his passion, and 45 years later, that fire in his heart is still burning and managed to find his way back on the campus of Chabot, coming full circle.

Many events happen in the Performing Arts Center (PAC), and the Big Band always drew in a crowd. Directed by Chabot’s very own Professor Palacio, Arriola, of course, was in the brass section. Arriola also put together a crew for the Jazz Combo 2 which is on a smaller scale but still entertaining nonetheless.

Arriola also contributed to helping students learn how to do live audio mixing with the help of other musicians in the music program. MURT 25 was teaching their students how to put PA systems together, and they needed a band. They were glad to help.

When asked what the most rewarding thing about playing music was, Arriola, replied, “It’s fun, it’s very fun. That’s all I can say.” His expression was quite humble and wholesome. Playing with individuals with so many different backgrounds is a reward in itself.

The most memorable gig Arriola participated in was, as he stated, “I was invited to play with a band called Nathan Owens and A Tribute to Sly and the Family Stone. They offered to pay for my plane ticket to Seattle, and my hotel and food were free. Everyone had a good time, and I got paid. It took place around 2014-2015.”

Speaking of favorite gigs, his wife of seven years, Sylvia Mendoza Arriola has this to say, “I used to watch his band play at The Bistro in Hayward, and I caught a few of his shows before I asked to take a photograph with him. He looked real sharp with a suit and a red hat. After seeing another one of his shows, I decided to reintroduce myself, and the rest is history. August 8, 2012, is our anniversary.”

Regrettably, because of his class schedule, Arriola has been tuning down gigs. “It’s hard to find the time working a job and having 17 units on my plate,” Arriola states. He even turned down a gig to perform with Julius Melendez who was a Grammy Award-winning trumpet player who also contributed to the “Supernatural” album by Santana. Fortunately, he has a gig lined up for New Year’s Eve in Danville.

Arriola still maintains contact with Casey Hurt who was a Professor at Chabot for Music Song Writing. His relationship with Hurt could potentially open up a lot of doors for Arriola and could lead to some pretty sweet gigs for composing TV and film.

Art Arriola has the reputation of having a really good dynamic with other musicians. If anyone is at all interested in collaborating with Arriola or interested to see where he goes next, simply go to artarriola.com.

Juztino Panella a Profile

Juztino (Juice-Tee-Kno) Panella, Counselor/Instructor at Chabot College, does much more than his title would suggest. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, he also serves as a member of the Mental Health Force and provides Mental Health Counseling and crisis intervention as needed.  In addition, Juztino is involved with the coordination and leadership development of our Peer Advisors, serves as the Counseling Lead to the First Year Experience program, and is a member of the Student Equity Workgroup.

Andrea Salazar, a student who has worked with Juztino, commented, “I have taken a class with him which allowed me to be comfortable in expressing and communicating with peers, it also helped with reflecting my own life. He is also the main trainer for Peer Advisors, so I am constantly learning new ways to be a better advisor especially in empathetic skills.”

Before starting at Chabot, Juztino spent his early adult life teaching the Italian language, music, and cooking to High School students, as well as organizing travel immersions to his ancestral country of Italy.

“My great-grandfather was a traveling Vigianese musician from the South of Italy, who came to the U.S. with his harp to see if he could make a living.  Music, traveling, and sharing love through the food we prepare has always been central to my family. This is why you may see me playing drums with students at an event or carrying a toaster oven into a class to make some traditional bruschetta for students. Gotta keep true to my roots!” Says Juztino.

As a young man, in addition to making a living as the Italian Pied Piper (as his friends jokingly called him – given his primary instrument is the flute), Juztino would volunteer as a meditation and yoga instructor in different jails, and also facilitated groups to formerly incarcerated individuals as part of their recovery process.  In fact, it was his work in the jail that inspired Juztino to earn his masters in Counseling and Psychology, which he received in 2009 with the intention to have more skills to deal with the trauma that group members would bring forth.

Two years after his graduation and well into his work interning as a psychotherapist, Juztino heard about an opportunity to play the flute at the Loss & Grief Ceremony that was happening at Chabot College.  At the event, he met the Coordinator of Mental Health who happened to be looking for a Mental Health Intern.

Juztino was working on completing the 3000 clinical hours that are needed for licensure and jumped at the opportunity.  In 2012 he was hired as an Intern. Shortly after he became a part-time Counselor, and by late 2014, he was hired in his full-time role of Counselor/Instructor.

When interviewed Juztino commented the projects most dear to his heart are the work he does co-facilitating the Rootz2Rise Men’s Group and the Justice Arts Collective with Tommy Reed, Chabot’s UMOJA Director.  

“It is such an honor to be able to work with a colleague like Tommy, who shows up with so much heart and love for students. Together we create safe spaces where they can be real with one another, support each other emotionally, and support one another with things like basic needs and access to resources. Then as a by-product of these relationships and their feeling of connection to Chabot, the students naturally do better.  They can envision how school will empower them with the tools necessary for their success!” Said Juztino.

Julian Garcia, a Rootz2Rise member, commented, “I learned about myself and life since I joined Rootz2Rise. Juztino has been like a guide who shows you the way but at the same time lets you explore your own walk of life. There was this whole side to humanity I didn’t notice until I started looking and Juztino really brings it out in the way he talks to people, confronts conflicts and has helped me in the men’s group and outside of it.”

Rootz2Rise is a men’s support group founded in 2012 and co-facilitated by Juztino and Tommy. At the meetings, students are encouraged to “check – in” or talk about exactly what and how they are feeling.

As men, we grow up with the idea of bottling up emotions because it is not manly to be in tune with your emotions. Tearing down the barrier of masculinity, Rootz2Rise enables students to effectively communicate in all aspects of life. Each meeting is confidential, so students can share whatever they like. Each session ends with everyone putting a hand in the center and saying a word or phrase that captures the session for them.

“R2R has provided a safe space for me to reflect on myself as well as other issues without feeling judged about being vulnerable.” Joan Cortes, student.

This support group is an open group that invites self-identified males to come any Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in room 552.  In addition to weekly meetings, students can also participate in occasional outings and retreats such as the Mendocino Multi-Cultural Mentoring Retreat.  

Aside from the real talk, the men at Mendocino engage in activities such as poetry writing, drumming, dance, and storytelling. It was through a rap cypher at Mendocino in 2015 that the award-winning Justice Arts Collective was born. Juztino, Tommy and the Chabot students that year created beats that turned into an hour-long freestyle rap in which dozens of youth were able to express their pain, joy, and resilience in freestyles that received love and recognition from the whole camp.

The music was so healthy for everyone that they decided to bring it back to Chabot to recreate this sort of possibility.  In addition, women joined into the process, and together with the R2R men, they began making beats, raps, and songs and within a year had formed the JAC.

Then in Spring of 2017, they recorded a music video of their first song,  “From Mt. Tamalpais to Fruitvale Station.” It won first place at My Hero Film Festival in Los Angeles last Spring, was a finalist in the Oakland International Film Festival and is currently being shown in Whales, England at the Cardiff Film Festival.

As written in the credits of their video, “The JAC creates and performs music to express pain and resilience, reveal and challenge systems of oppression, and build a community to protect and celebrate life.”

Taufa Setefano, President of Nessian’s Unite and JAC member, commented, “JAC has influenced me to be not only conscious of what’s going on in the world but also makes me question my involvement in this fight for peace, equality, and justice.”

Another JAC member Joan Cortes, expressed, “The best lesson that the JAC taught me was to think beyond myself.”

With a non-hierarchical structure, decisions are made within a circle with all members input. All members outreach and propose opportunities. You may have seen the JAC perform or lead a workshop at the Stop Violence rallies, Oscar Grant Memorial, Ethnic Studies Summit, UMOJA Conference, Chabot Transfer Day Celebration, JAC Open Mic Night, Sanctuary Celebration, UMOJA Family Day, College Day for Faculty and Staff or at the My Hero Film Festival. Their last performance was on Saturday, May 19, at UC Davis’ Black Family Day.

If you are interested in becoming involved as Juztino says, “Benvenuti, all are welcome.” Just stop by the Student Initiative Center any Thursday between 5 and 8 to come jam and hang out, or get on the mic!

A Fresh New Face

Christian Murillo Self-Potrait

Christian Murillo is one of the newest additions to Chabot College. Murillo who started his job at Chabot College on October 18, 2017. He is a significant asset to the Mass Communications and Photography programs at Chabot College.

Christian Murillo was also born and raised in San Jose. Murillo attended San Jose State University and majored in both filmmaking and photography and graduated from San Jose State University in May of 2015.

After graduating in May of 2015, he started accepted an internship at an after-school high school program to help students with media projects such as music videos, photography, poems, dance. Ironically the internship was part of his last two semesters at school before it became his full-time job.

Christian Murillo Self-Potrait

While getting to know Murillo, it was clear that his primary passion is filmmaking and photography. He told me a story about how before he got the job at the after-school high school program he initially did catering gigs with his girlfriend. These catering gigs included mostly weddings.

In may of 2016, he had the idea to start his own media company with his old boss and now friend called Escena Media. While developing his company he did many projects such as videography and photography with local community colleges and universities such as San Jose City College, Evergreen College, Canada College, Stanford University and even his alma mater San Jose State University. Murillo was working for an after-school program and developing Escena at the same time which he loved to do.

In may of 2017, he decided to focus on building his own company and expanding his business even further. He left the after-school program. Even though his idea was to focus on his business it simply wasn’t enough for him to keep the business going financially. He saw the opening at Chabot College.

Murillo who had never heard of Chabot College decided to take a risk and apply for the instructional assistant job that was listed. After applying online and going through two job interviews, he was lucky enough to get offered the job and become apart of the Chabot College community.

Many months later Christian Murillo has become a huge asset to Chabot and is thanked by many for all the help and work he does for the school as well as the community.