A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

What’s the Mt. SAC Pride Center?

The safe haven for LGBTQ students and staff
Pride+Centers+entrance.
Andres Munoz
Pride Center’s entrance.

A sense of belonging. Connection. Friendship. All located in a small room on the bottom floor of Mt. SAC building 26A-1640. The Pride Center. A center for the diverse LGBTQ student body of Mt. SAC, open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Many students gathered at the Pride Center to enjoy the community that it fosters as many LGBTQ students don’t have an accepting home to go back to.

 

Kobe Herrera outside the Pride Center. (Andres Munoz)

 

Kobe Herrera, a 25-year old graphic design student explained he feels safe within the center. “The Pride Center is a space to socialize and hang out for me,” Herrera said. “I could actually like, express myself a little bit more than I do in other spaces.”

 

Citlaly Segura outside the Pride Center. (Andres Munoz)

 

Citlaly Segura, a 28-year-old graphic design student, describes that their sense of community comes from their engagement with the Pride Center. “Yeah, I’ve been coming here since like 2018,” Segura said. “It just means, you know, having a place to like to belong. I tell lots of people that if it weren’t for the pride center, I would just probably just take classes and go home.”

 

Cass Ramirez outside the Pride Center. (Andres Munoz)

 

Cass Ramirez, 25, said, “I’ve met some of my closest friends currently here at school, here at the Pride Center.”

 


 



In 2015, a LGBTQ task force made recommendations which resulted in the creation of the Mt. SAC Pride Center. This would make Mt. SAC the fourth community college in the nation to have a pride center. In 2016, the Mt. SAC Academic Senate announced that Kim Earhart would be its first coordinator.

Earhart began working for Mt. SAC in 2005. The history professor’s journey began with her not thinking it was a possibility for her to be gay. According to SAC Media, Earhart described how there weren’t many representatives for the LGBTQ community in the 80’s and 90’s.

Earhart’s journey became the foundation to how the Pride Center would be run. It became the very place she could have seen the models of the LGBTQ community she lacked in her young life.

After Earhart, Melinda “Coach Mo” Bowen ended up taking the mantle in 2017. In Bowen’s time as director, the center started posting on Instagram. She served as coordinator and director in her time before passing on the mantle again in 2022.

Cara Tan now heads the Pride Center, a place that was novel at the time of its inception. Now, there are over 110 pride centers in California community colleges. Mt. SAC’s pride center still stands uniquely above others, being one of the five that have a “professionally-staffed LGBTQ resource center.”

 

Cara Tan sitting in front of various LGBTQ flags. (Andres Munoz)

 

Tan uses her position as the Pride Center coordinator to promote a sense of community in the LGBTQ student body. According to another SAC Media article, she describes this community as a family.

 



The center offers many services from a free-use kitchen, a safe space to eat and free snacks. In addition, the center also has its own library of LGBTQ books, DVDs, games and school supplies.

They also offer mental health services from licensed professionals as well as gender affirming clothes.

 

An assortment of gender affirming clothing at the Mt. SAC Pride Center. (Andres Munoz)

 

Free-use kitchen with fridge and dining tables. (Andres Munoz)

 

LGBTQ movies, books and games at the Pride Center. (Andres Munoz)

 

 

The Pride Center now sees anywhere from 150 to 200 students each week. It’s not just the small room located near a clock but the people who comprise it.

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About the Contributor
Andres Munoz, Culture Editor
Andres Munoz is the Culture Editor. He has been pursuing journalism since 2022 and enjoys covering a range of topics. His knowledge of conspiracy theories knows no bounds.

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