I am 48 years old, I am a community college student, I am a staff writer and the photo editor of my college newspaper and I am not a plant.
October 26, 2020
By Christy Price, Photo Editor
This piece is part of a series that members of the Citizen staff wrote to share our stories and in response to comments that Trustee Linda Handy recently made about our newsroom.
I’ve lived a life filled with ups, downs and unfulfilled dreams. Time and again, just as I got up and on a roll in life, something inevitably would change my circumstance and I would have to forego my dreams in lieu of survival. Whether that was the abuses I suffered at home, becoming a teen mother or marrying an abusive man and divorcing him 13 years later, something always happened to get in the way of finishing school. In 2016, something finally happened that changed my life for the better: I got fired from my position in the federal government after nearly 14 years.
This was for the better?
Yes. It got me thinking about my dreams again. It got me passionate about things in ways that I couldn’t be while working for the federal government. I couldn’t hide behind a desk anymore. That year I traveled across the country from Oakland, CA to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA in a caravan dubbed “Journey for Bernie.” I marched in the streets with a rag-tag group of “Revolutionaries” for a week in sweltering heat, holding on to the belief that fighting for good could change the world. A few months later I flew into Bismarck, ND to bear witness to the atrocities that mercenaries and local, state and federal governments were committing against United States citizens. I stood in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the fight against what is now considered an illegally built pipeline.
Both of these experiences sparked a few passions inside of me: Photography, activism and independent journalism. In the spring of 2019, I signed up for school because I could not afford to make payments on my predatory student loans and being enrolled would defer them. I began part-time as a photography major. My first semester was two photography courses and an anthropology course. The next semester I added photojournalism. For my final assignment in that class, I covered the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony on Alcatraz Island. Not only did I get an “A” on the assignment, but the piece was also picked up by an independent publication, the Panther Times.
This led to my role as photo editor and staff writer on The Citizen. This is my second semester on staff.
At the Peralta Board of Trustees meeting held via Zoom on October 13, 2020, Trustee Linda Handy had some disparaging words to say about the student journalists of The Citizen, namely that she was disappointed to see adults posturing questions — instead of students — to candidates vying for seats on the board.
I am not sure what Ms. Handy deems the average college student’s age to be, but her comment disconnected her from the diverse student body she is supposed to represent. I am 48 years old, I am a community college student, I am a staff writer and the photo editor of my college newspaper and I am not a plant. Additionally, my opinions about board of trustees candidates have not been forced upon me by my advisor, Eleni Gastis, as Ms. Handy also implied. To be honest, I really had no interest in the Peralta board previously. But Trustee Handy has piqued my interest. I am going to be keeping a close eye on the board to ensure all members are held accountable for their words and actions.
Here are some photos that led me here: