The Citizen is the student-run publication of the Peralta Community College District. Our mission is to amplify community voices while holding those in power accountable. We foster the growth of student journalists while giving full representation to our complex and diverse community. We provide current, balanced reporting — rooted in truth and clarity.
We are reclaiming the word “citizen” to be inclusive of ALL Peralta Community College community members. At the same time, we embrace all of the differences that make us unique.
Our publication is made up of staff who are enrolled in our Journalism 18 course, News Production.
For more information – or if you are wondering if journalism is a right fit for you – don’t hesitate to contact department chair Eleni Gastis at [email protected]
Copyright and permissions: By signing up for this class, the student grants The Citizen permission in perpetuity to use material produced for this class in print, on its website, in social media or to promote the student news media or the journalism program. This includes material created for this class but not published during the course of the semester. Unless the editor-in-chief consents, all material produced for this class will appear in The Citizen before any other publication. Students retain copyright to their work and the right to sell their work after it has appeared in The Citizen or, in the case of unpublished material, after the end of the semester.
Eleni Economides Gastis
Editor in Chief
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Jacquelyn Opalach is a student reporter who has been pursuing journalism since she was 15. Opalach is particularly passionate about the safety net that journalism provides for small communities, and is interested in the intersection of ethical reporting and investigative journalism. When she isn’t scoping out a new story, Opalach is likely sampling out a new recipe in the kitchen, forever trying to satisfy her insatiable sweet tooth.More by Jacquelyn Opalach
Ryan B. is an Oakland native who is following his passion of writing. It has led to his desire to expand his knowledge and insight in this profession by learning and sharing with others. Ryan attended primary and secondary schools in Oakland and has ties to various community outreach programs throughout the East Bay. Having spent his life in Oakland, he enjoys telling feature stories that are occurring in his community.More by Ryan Barba
Ivan Chairez is a 21 year old man simply trying to navigate the enigma of the world. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas but moved out to the bay in 2015 — more specifically, Alameda. Ivan appreciates the simple things in life such as listening to good music, hiking, drinking coffee, and his passion — photography. Photography is very important to Ivan because it allows him to express his feelings and channel his creativity, capturing a single frame in time with the goal of evoking emotion through his photographs. Ivan also runs an independent online magazine called Artistic Bonez Magazine, where he interviews other photographers in an attempt to share their stories and unique photos. Like many other college students, Ivan picked a random major until he figured out what he enjoyed and wanted to study. Originally on paper as an art history major, he later realized he was more intrigued by documenting, interviewing and understanding different perspectives as a way of understanding the world around him. After two years of indecisiveness, Ivan came to the realization that journalism is what he sees himself doing. He is beginning his journey to an Associate of Arts transfer degree in journalism at Laney, hoping to ultimately transfer to a UC. Which UC, you ask? He’s not quite sure yet.
Staff Writer/Social Media Editor
Tamia Lane also known as Mia Sky, is an independent published author, editor, and ghost writer. She is a multi-talented artist, from photography to creating amazing visuals. Tamia enjoys street art, music, and poetry. She’s been writing since the age of seven with only the hopes of becoming a magazine owner. Mia is very passionate about her craft, she keeps her mind focused by journaling daily. Mia loves African American culture and women empowerment. In 2018, she founded Girl Bosses Radio, a podcast media outlet used to uplift women of color.
Leticia Nicolini Luna
Her Japanese heritage, her sense of adventure, and her perseverance prepared her for a life of accomplishments. She didn’t go on to become a rocket scientist, or a Jeff Bezos type with incredible foresight into the future of online shopping, or even delving into the realm of politics. She did accomplish and is very proud of is raising two beautiful children who are now accomplished in their own fields – one in advertising and the other in finance. Another accomplishment is working in the retail industry and later owning a business her own. She is most proud of getting a degree at age 55. Living life on her terms is always changing. She is constantly exploring new avenues of adventure and she is constantly pushing her limits regarding education. The more she pushes herself the more she finds new heights to climb.
Luke Wrin Piper
News Editor/Staff Writer
Staff Writer/Photo Editor
Christy Price is a Photographer and Activist who was born in the Central Valley of California, raised in New York and Texas. After giving birth to her first daughter at the age of 17 in Ft. Worth, TX she moved back to California where she attended Fresno City College and wrote for the school’s newspaper, The Rampage. She married at the age of 24 and had her second daughter a couple years later. After a 14-year career as a secretary at the Internal Revenue Service, Christy switched gears and began working in the growing Cannabis industry. In her down time, she traveled cross country to document the 2016 Democratic National Convention and later that year went to Standing Rock. Her thinking about the dynamics of the way this world works changed with her experiences at Standing Rock and she vowed to do what she could to be the change she wanted to see.
Christy returned to school in Spring of 2019. She decided to major in something she already enjoyed and settled on Photography. Wanting to make an impact with her photographs she decided to try her hand at Photojournalism. During that class she covered the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony on Alcatraz. The coverage was published in the Panther Times. Being published sparked a fire inside of her that helped guide her to her new position as Photo Editor of The Citizen.More by Christy Price
Transitioning from your birth country to a foreign land can be a journey of its own and at times challenging. Menel Raach, was born and raised in Tunisia, a poor country ruled under dictatorship. During her last year in high school, the revolutionary war began in Tunisia, talking about human rights or politics had been forbidden, and the economic system wasn’t strong at the time. Despite living in such difficult situations, Raach considered herself fortunate and privileged to have lived in a good neighborhood and obtain an education. Her beliefs and values are simple, yet passionate as she states, “I don’t like injustice. I don’t care about politics, but I care about justice”. Raach had decided to pursue her career in journalism, thanks to her curiosity and being socially active, then later she pursued her true interest by earning her master’s in film making. With all her achievements in Tunisia, Menel was living her best life, yet knew she had more to pursue, deciding to leave Tunisia and come to California in order to strengthen her English and obtain a further education.
Copy Editor/Staff Writer
Opinion Editor/Staff Writer
This is Pamela Rudd’s third semester at Laney College and her second as a staff writer for The Citizen. Pam was born in San Francisco and grew up in Contra Costa County when cattle roamed the hills and life had yet to cross from rural to suburban. She attended college directly after high school and received a doctorate from the University of Nevada, Reno in psychology. As a Bay Area native she witnessed the the Vietnam War, the Free Speech and Black Panther movements, the AIDS crisis, and the birth of Silicon Valley. Pamela is always amazed by the resiliency of the human spirit and the repetitiveness of history. She is excited to be back in school and to be part of The Citizen’s newsroom. For Pam, journalism was the path not taken..
Tayler Shaw is 19 and was raised in Oakland, originally born in Pleasanton. Currently enrolled in Laney College, she wants to major and achieve in Journalism. Her interests have always been reading and writing, which she takes very seriously and finds joy in. She loves to write out stories and be very creative, journalism is very much new to her so she’s hopeful that she’ll make it in this field. Tayler is very outgoing and intelligent but can be very shy and quiet. It takes time for her to adjust to new things and new people. She loves pictures and is a super goofball when you get to know her. She is very proud of who she is and who she’s becoming as she tries to be a light for those she interacts with. Tayler loves everything and everyone, is grateful for her family and friends and tries to smile even on her worst days.
Associate Editor/Staff Writer
Features Editor/Staff Writer
Tech Editor/Staff Writer
Rashee Taneja was born in Berkeley, CA, and is currently a resident of San Leandro, CA. She graduated from San Leandro High and is a Social Science Major. Though she says she’s not the most outstanding in her science classes she plans to pursue a career in the medical field. Rashee has a fond interest in writing and wants to pursue Journalism on the side. She believes that writing words stand out more than speaking them, and although she struggled with it in grade school, she has expanded her skills in college. She grew up in harsh circumstances and having those experiences in life has lead her to speak out on social issues in society and follow the route of activism. Despite adversity, Rashee has kept her passion strong. She uses that passion to fuel her desires for a better life. She pays it forward by advocating for others and inspiring them to reach for higher goals.
Emiliano Villa is a multimedia journalist seeped in Oakland culture. A lifelong Oakland resident, he grew up with a love for reading. In high school, he found local organization YR Media (formerly Youth Radio). Through his internship with YR, Villa discovered his love of journalism. He has continued to write for YR Media and has also been published in NPR and the New York Times. His story on economic inequality within families for Here & Now, a public radio collaboration between NPR and WBUR Boston, won an Emerging Youth Voice award in 2017. Villa loves all things media and voraciously consumes pop-culture, race-related, and queer media, while also keeping up with politics. He is pursuing a dual-career as a drag-queen journalist and aspires to one day run his own magazine. Villa performs as Poison Oakland at drag venues and parties across the Bay Area. When not performing or writing, he enjoys listening to music and working out.
Joseph Woods III
Michelle Dione Snider
Editor in Chief 2019-2020
Editor-in-Chief Isis Piccillo was born and raised in the Bay Area. An avid reader and lover of libraries, Piccillo knows reading has been key to developing their writing voice. They are invested in covering and amplifying the voices of marginalized and underrepresented groups, especially in the areas of health and science. When not frantically copyediting or furiously writing, Isis can be found on the soccer field, or with food.More by Isis Piccillo