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Alejandra Dominguez’s work of art underlines Semana’s week
Photos and Story by James Hill
Alejandra Dominguez couldn’t be happier that her inspiration and talents that are representing the 2012 Semana de la Raza (April 23-27) at the Rock Creek Campus.
This event is Portland Community College’s annual celebration of Latino culture with a weeklong schedule of workshops, speakers and entertainment. This year’s theme is, “Unidos tenemos el poder,” or “United we have the power.”
“It’s a week to represent not only Hispanic month, but also represent the values of the Hispanic community primarily here in Oregon,” Dominguez said.
Every year, organizers for Semana de la Raza ask for poster art designs from art students at Rock Creek. But this year, they opened it up to all students and Dominguez was selected for her depiction of Cesar Chavez, the American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association. Dominguez said she started the painting during fall term and finished the piece in late winter term. The theme of her painting was timely.
“It was very exciting to be selected,” said Dominguez, a Beaverton resident. “I wanted to highlight leadership and the spirit of Hispanic culture and represent my culture with bold colors.”
The artwork endeavor was a way for her to give back to a campus that gave her so much. In her two years at the Rock Creek Campus, she gained English language proficiency through the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program and is on schedule to graduate with an associate’s degree by fall term. Dominguez said it she credits the Rock Creek Multicultural Center and its Thrive Program, where mentors focus on the retention of first-year college students, particularly those who are at risk, as resources that gave her the greatest boost. She is now a mentor for the program.
“Because of Lida (Rafia) and her program I got to know more resources which helped me,” she said. “I think PCC Rock Creek is a good campus. When I first came here to PCC I felt very welcomed. I met other people who have my same experience. And I like to be involved in things that help my community.”
This isn’t her first jump into the art scene. Dominguez said she has been artistic since her days at Sunset High School when a mural was made of one of her paintings. As a result of her talents she earned a Beaverton Arts Commission Scholarship to go to college.
And since she is the first in her family to go to college, her artwork, studies and efforts helping organize Semana de la Raza are paying off in other ways.
“I’m proud I can show my family I can do it and overcome obstacles,” she added. “For me this is a cool week. I love doing something that represents me and my family. It’s also very cool to show off my artwork and, through it, show what it means to be a Latina.”