On May 25th, 2018, a reception was held in the Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties to introduce the new director of the Center, Kishi Ducre, Ph.D and recognize the vast accomplishments of the RCCDMUN students relating to their New York conference.
The Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties is in downtown Riverside, CA, and is home to a research museum and art gallery that puts a light on significant events that have helped shape the history of the area. The building was constructed on the motto of being “inspired by the past to enrich our future” and it shows through the beautiful architecture of the building inspired by a Churrigueresque architecture style and a Spanish baroque façade. The center is home of art pieces such as Japanese-American Mine Okubo’s to honor the hard work of those who made Riverside their home in the name of a better future for their families.
Front Face of the Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties
First on the agenda was the introduction of Dr. Kishi Ducre who is highly esteemed with multiple publications in the fields of environmentalism, youth, gender, and race. This includes works such as: Racialized Spaces and the Emergence of Environmental Injustice, Race(ing) to the Baby Market: The Political Economy of Overcoming Infertility, and A Place We Call Home: Gender, Race, and Justice in Syracuse.
Also attending were representatives from Congressman Mark Takano and assembly member Jose Medina, along with the Mayor of Riverside, Rusty Bailey. Each presented the members of the RCCDMUN team with an individual award marking their hard work with in the program. Along with this, the team was also given awards from the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) National Model United Nations.
A few members of the team posing in front of the center before the reception.
After receiving awards and being greeted by the Riverside City College Board of Trustees, several RCCDMUN students were asked to speak about their individual experiences within the program. Speakers included Gamaliel Perez, Aria Haghighat, and Rachel Lennox. What was most stunning about their speeches was not the eloquence in how they were delivered or the variety in what was said. No matter how much each member’s MUN journey was varied, each had the commonality that they said they had grown immensely through being part of the Riverside City College Model United Nations program. No matter how hard they had to work, none regretted the experience as each had obtained invaluable lessons and experiences from being able to take part.
After these heartfelt speeches, there one more surprise at the end of the reception. Dr. Dariush Haghighat, faculty advisor for the RCCDMUN program, called Rachel Lennox to the podium once more to present her with a symbolic award for all of her hard work as team captain. Lennox had led the team not only through the New York conference, but several others through the course of the past academic year. Without a doubt, she was a fantastic and caring leader whose fire and perseverance could get any job done; whether it was in committee or at team practice sessions.
Rachel Lennox delivering her speech on how important MUN is to her.
After all was said and done, the team lamented on how lucky they were to have been able to travel to New York and how proud they were of one another for having achieved so many awards and recognitions for all of their hard work.
For having come from a community college, many members of the RCCDMUN team never believed that they could travel and see all the things that they have been able to through the program. Not only this, but no one had ever expected to find such a fantastic outlet to network and meet people with the similar interest of wanting to engage and change the world for the better. This year’s team coming from RCCD was one of the youngest and most diverse.