Women of color find support in campus club

With over 100 different clubs on Sonoma State University’s campus, students are exposed to a variety of different choices and opportunities to get involved with an organization that best fits their needs and ideas. One relatively new club, on their second semester at Sonoma State, strives to work toward the support, education and dissemination of a collection of student's issues. The MALCS club, which stands for Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social or translates to Women Active in Letters and Social Change, hopes to create a safe space for their members where they can share their stories and experiences.

 

Dr. Mariana G. Martinez  had brought the idea of the new organization to Patricia Ayala Macias, who is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of MALCS, both felt that there was a great need to support women of color in academia especially at Sonoma State.

“I saw the need for an organization to provide a space for women of color at Sonoma State that acknowledges intersectionality and intersectional feminism,” said Macias.

With the help of Martinez, Patricia started the chartering process and since then has seen an increase of interest in their club.

Although MALCS is a new club at Sonoma State, they have had no shortage in both hosting and attending events on and off campus. During the Fall, MALCS celebrates Dia de los Muertos and created an altar to commemorate and remember women of color who represented leadership.

MALCS also participated in Sigma Pi Alpha and Nu Alpha Kappa annual celebration of Dia de los Muertos, while also taking part is Dia de los 43, which is a community altar in Roseland.

An event MALCS is collaborating with UndocuScholar Coalition and Students for Quality Education (SQE) is the Undocu5K that will take place at Sonoma State on April 29th.

“The event's mission is to fundraise money to create scholarships for continuing undocumented students at SSU” says Macias.  

Like many other clubs at Sonoma State, MALCS has weekly meetings. Maria de los Angeles Mendoza, who is the Co-Chair and Treasurer of MALCS says,

“The topics at our meetings are consistent and usually have a theme from academia, experiences as a women of color and issues we want to address,” said Maria de los Angeles Mendoza, co-chair and treasurer of MALCS.

“The rest of the meeting we dedicate time to plan our events and give a space for members to bring up any challenges/successes they have had during the week. Other times we bring in a guest speaker and invite other staff and faculty women of color to join us at the meetings,” said Macias.

Macias has also noticed that the members of MALCS have gained more confidence in speaking in public, gaining new friendships and more women of color are able to put into words their experiences and feelings.

Although MALCS has had such a successful fall semester, being a new club, they have definitely had their fair share of bumps in the road but continue to work together to resolve any problems that may occur.

“As a club, one of our visions is to engage with community events but without funding, our plans become limited. Yet, resolving the issue means doing extra work outside the club by means of contacting Sonoma State faculty who will support our vision,” said Mendoza.

As MALCS continues to grow at Sonoma State, many members have very high hopes for its future.

“I hope that MALCS continues to grow in numbers and continues to recruit new members. I have met so many students on campus who have experienced the same culture shock that I experienced when coming here, and sharing that feeling of not having anyone you can personally identify with. So, having colleagues with whom you share similar struggles and accomplishments with, who understand your frustrations, and who are there to say ‘you are not alone’ is an amazing feeling,” said Melissa Vargas, an MALCS member.