Meet Matthew Pimentel
“Nobody really cares” seems to be a mantra among the young people of this town, but let me prove you wrong. Meet Matthew Pimentel, in his first year at College of the Redwoods, and already motivated and dedicated to both his studies and extra curriculars. So much so, in fact, that he is the driving force for the formation of two clubs at the college: a chapter of the Boys and Young Men of Color (BMoC) organization, and a literary writing club.
Matt first became exposed to the BMoC organization through a trip to Sacramento through his former job as a Research Assistant for the California Center for Rural Policy. There he and four other young men of color attended a meeting of the BMoC organization along with members of BMoC clubs from across California. After an introduction, they met with legislators in the capitol who expressed their support for the program and its goals: to inform, combat, and counter injustices.
BMoC’s have been formed in rural communities like ours in order to allow for a safe place for people to talk about the injustices young men of color face. Matt seeks to open a chapter here, so that information can flow more freely, and a thoughtful discussion about issues of race can be fostered, and people of color given a voice in our community. He says that the club would be open to anyone, not just people of color, nor just men; all are allowed to come and be informed of what young men of color face, how they can combat and counter institutional racism, and how they can contribute to a community free of racial prejudice. Matt is working very hard with the club coordinator at the college, and wants to make the club available to high school students as well. Ruthe Rhodes, an English professor at the college, has volunteered be the supervisor for the club’s meetings.
The revitalization of the literary club stems merely from Matt’s passion: writing. He is currently working on a novel of his own and understands the importance of feedback and criticism when it comes to writing. The literary club’s original purpose was to fund scholarships using money raised by the sales of a literary journal of collected works, written or selected by people in the club. This function would be retained, but what Matt really is to create a safe place for writers, where they can share their work and receive advice in a friendly environment.
Matt’s passion and drive to create these clubs is truly inspiring. Hearing him speak about these programs while I interviewed him was incredible; he really got excited about the prospect of these clubs, and in turn, so did I. What Matt is doing is very important and powerful, and I say we give him full support in his quest to better the community college experience for both himself and all those attending the school. The results his efforts will bring are not isolated to the college either; his dedication to these programs will improve the entire community. This community needs people like Matt Pimentel, people ready to step up to the challenge of bettering all of our lives.
by Josh Haynes