Expanding on the Miné Okubo Collection, history and the arts, and social justice in the Inland Empire…

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First Sundays at the Center Returns!

Abstract Okubo


The Center will be inaugurating the 2015-16 First Sundays season on Sunday October 4th with a fun and free family activity!

In the 1950s, inspired by her time in New York City and the artists she encountered there, our featured artist Miné Okubo turned to abstract painting in bold bright colors. Instead of painting scenes and objects, she used shapes and lines to express the emotion and rhythm of the city. In the spirit of Miné’s abstract experiments with paint, participants in this activity will trace, cut, and arrange geometric paper shapes to create vibrant and dynamic abstract collages.

Modern Art

Our new Gluck Fellow will be on hand to help kids express themselves creatively, so the paper and glue will be flying! Bring the whole family, all ages are welcome!

First Sundays is a seasonal series of free family programs featuring different activities for children and teens at seven locations throughout downtown Riverside. Sponsored by the Riverside Arts Council.

This post was contributed by UCR Gluck Fellow Kelly Filreis and student worker Cynthia Mosely.


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Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Film Series
Thursday, October 1
Screenings at 6:00 and 7:45pm


In honor of LGBT History Month, join us for a screening of documentary film The Case Against 8. This riveting film takes an in-depth look at the historic federal lawsuit filed in an effort to overturn Proposition 8, California’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage.

The Case Against 8 follows the lawyers and plaintiffs from confidential strategy sessions to last-minute trial preparation.Shooting over five years, with exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage of the legal team and the four plaintiffs in the suit, the filmmakers created a powerful depiction of the fight for equal rights. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Proposition 8 case was an important precedent to the recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which legalized gay marriage nationally.

The film will screen as part of our Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Film Series at 6:00 pm and at 7:45 pm on October 1st. Admission is free, but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive early to secure your spot! Please contact the Center with any questions: socialjustice@rccd.edu, 951-222-8846.

This is the second film screening in the Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Film Series on “The Role of Law in American Society.” The Riverside Community College District would like to thank the law firm of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore for their generous sponsorship of this series.

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This post was contributed by student worker Cynthia Mosely and volunteer Danielle Sanchez.

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A Class Action: The Grassroots Struggle for School Desegregation in California

Mendez school pic

Center hosts new exhibit in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

In 1943, 9-year-old student Sylvia Mendez was turned away from a “whites only” public school in Orange County, California. She was told that she and her siblings had to register at the “Mexican” school, ten blocks away from the 17th Street School in Westminster.

Her parents, appalled at the blatant discrimination, rejected the school’s refusal, and began a determined journey to make a change. On March 2, 1945, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez and four other Mexican American families filed Mendez et al. v. Westminster School District et al., a class-action lawsuit against four Orange County school districts seeking an injunction that would order the schools to integrate.

Mendez image

Segregation was common practice in California schools in the 1940s. The idea of “separate but equal” institutions, established by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson, was the American standard. The Mendez case was a major breakthrough in dismantling this status quo. After two years of fighting, the families won their case at the trial and appellate levels of the federal court system with the help of attorney David Marcus, setting an important precedent for desegregation. The Mendez lawsuit helped lay the groundwork for Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 U.S Supreme Court case that abolished legal segregation in schools.

In conjunction with the Justice John G. Gabbert Historic Oral Argument and Lecture on the Mendez case, held at the Riverside Court of Appeals on August 28th, the Center is hosting the special exhibit A Class Action: The Grassroots Struggle for School Desegregation in California, from August 29th – October 4th. It tells the story of this landmark lawsuit and reveals how community organizing and grassroots activism can produce positive change in schools and communities.

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Created by the Museum of Teaching and Learning in Fullerton, California, this exhibit provides a space where visitors can explore the case, its origins, and how its legacy has inspired others to make a difference. Join us during open hours on Saturdays 10am-4pm, First Thursdays from 6-9pm, and First Sundays 1-4pm, and explore this inspiring exhibit!

This post was contributed by volunteer Danielle Sanchez.

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