Sneak peek: Social Justice Center opening soon


A view of the student collaborative workspace inside the still unopened Social Justice Center on Wednesday, Sept 14. The collaborative workspace is a space for students and clubs to work on flyers, posters and other projects. (Igor Colonno | The Union)

Students, regardless of race, color or religion, will have a place to discuss social issues and learn about different cultures and creeds when the Social Justice Center at El Camino College has its grand opening on Wednesday, September 28th.

Plans for the center started in 2020 when students voiced their concerns with El Camino College lacking a space for mobilization and discussion of societal issues. The same students went to the Board of Trustees for help and after lots of hard work and collaboration, the Social Justice Center was born.

Student Equity and Achievement Coordinator Monica Delgado will be the center’s organizer. Delgado said she is very excited about its opening and has been working hard to get the space ready.

“The main mission is to have a space for students to gather and mobilize around different issues and to feel safe,” she said.

Delgado said the Social Justice Center is also meant to serve as a hub for not only different cultures but all programs and clubs focused on social justice, with the help of the extended El Camino Community.

She hopes that the dedicated space will encourage clubs to work with the center and its staff.

Monica Delgado in the collaborative working space.
Monica Delgado, who will be the coordinator for the Social Justice Center, stands in the collaborative working space on Sept. 14. The center is slated for a grand opening later this month.
(Igor Colonno | The Union) Photo credit: Igor Colonno

To encourage this, the center will feature two different councils working in conjunction with each other.

First, the student council will bring representatives of clubs that are working on ideas/projects related to social issues. Then, an advisory council will help push the students’ ideas forward.

Student Services Specialist Christopher Dela Cruz said he has been waiting years for a space on campus where people can appreciate each other free of judgment.

“The goal is to celebrate and support each other [and also] bring a sense of community,” Dela Cruz said.

The Union accepted a tour with center organizers before the grand opening to learn more about Social Justice Center and what it will offer students.

Students who enter will first encounter the main room, which will serve as a lobby for the center.

The lobby is currently undergoing renovation, but it will feature an art mural where students can submit any art ideas relating to social justice. Delgado hopes the mural will serve as a welcome.

The lobby will feature an announcement board to promote future events at El Camino College related to social justice causes.

Delgado said that the main room will also offer film screenings where students can sit on comfortable couches to watch movies related to a different culture or social topic.

Announcement area. Board of announcements.
Sun shines in from the open door to the still-in-progress Social Justice Center on Sept. 14. The main room, or lobby, is the first thing students will see as the enter, still unfinished announcements boards can be seen hanging on the walls.
(Igor Colonno | The Union) Photo credit: Igor Colonno

Students will be able to bring up their own ideas for film screenings, and Delgado hopes that this will serve to both entertain and inform.

Beyond the lobby, the Social Justice Center has a conference room and a pantry area where students can eat and talk freely. Outfitted with tables, chairs and a TV for presentations, the conference room will be a place for students to bring new ideas.

Still in progress, an area designated as the collaborative working space features paintings of social justice heroes on its wall. Here, clubs can work together to make flyers, posters and other projects.

Every semester there will be a student artwork exposition, where students can share and discuss their newly crafted artwork.

The Student Equity Advisory Council, a student organization that supports diversity and equity-related clubs, will have its own office in the Social Justice Center. The space will provide computers for the students working on the student council.

A rotating office will also be available to work with legal services and bring in immigration lawyers monthly to talk with students about any immigration issues they might have.

As The Union wrapped up their tour, the excitement was audible from student employee and history major Matthaeus Schulz.

“I’m glad there’s a place now where people can express their passion for social justice here at El Camino,” Schulz said with a smile.

The Social Justice Center is located in Communications Building 204. Following the grand opening, the center will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Monday through Thursday, although the schedule is subject to change.