By Steve Trujillo
In consideration of a badly-needed name change for Cabrillo Community College, there are three considerations that should be paramount:
1. If it is to be an individual, what personal characteristics and accomplishments make the individual worthy of putting that name to a community college?
2. If It is to be a name that reflects our region, what aspects of our region best reflect a new name for our community college?
3. Can we be satisfied with the new name, having given its exalted status in our community ?
Yes, it will probably cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the change. But to leave it in the name of a genocidal criminal is unconscionable. I suggest a GoFundMe account for community members to contribute to help with the expenses.
First, let us consider possible candidates for the name of our community college.
There are at least dozens of possibilities. I would like to suggest 5:
1. Cesar Chavez: brought dignity and respect to the farmworker. Although he was not born here, he spent most of the late ‘60s and ‘70s in our community.
2. Henry Mello: a true friend of the community who brought Watsonville High School its performing arts center and was a dependable champion of our county for many years.
3. The Rodriguez family: was awarded the first land grant of 400 acres, which John Watson tried to take away in court. He lost.
4. The Gizdich family: escaped Hitler and came to our Pajaro Valley to build one of the LAST original berry farms.
5. Fermin Tobera: was shot and killed during the Watsonville police riots against the Filipino community in 1930, simply for being Filipino.
Second, let us consider place names that identify our community and enrich our lives as great places. I will suggest 5:
1. Natural Bridges: clearly a geographic feature, but the name is symbolic as it represents our community college for what it is: a bridge to a better future for each student in attendance.
2. Nisene Marks: the forest that provides us with flora and fauna for contemplation and meditation.
3. Branciforte: not just the name of a creek, but also a place of waters that were used for both people and farm animals long before we had water storage here.
4. Costenos: people of the coast, which we certainly are.
5. Soquel: was the main rest stop and Inn on our coast for visitors exhausted from their trip on horseback or stagecoach. It allowed the traveler to nourish, bathe and sleep, in preparation for the next day on their journey.
And you, dear resident, can suggest others as well. We must keep in mind that we exalt the name when we choose it for our community college. It represents progress in education, life changes for the better and, for many, the opportunity to join the middle class.
Steve Trujillo is a candidate for Cabrillo Community College Governing Board Member, Trustee Area 7, in the upcoming Nov. 3 election. His views are his own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.