GWC hosted their Chican@/Latin@ College Day on Friday, November 4, 2016. Over 400 students from ten local high schools participated in this annual event. Keynote speaker Obed Silva, Assistant Professor of English at East Los Angeles College and former gang member, welcomed the crowd of high schoolers in GWC’ gymnasium. The students attended different workshops throughout the day including financial aid info, CTE programs, learning about transferring into the UC and Cal State University systems, “Beyond Brown Pride,” and the Puente Project. Resource booths were set up in the Central Quad and lunch was provided.
Keynote Speaker Obed Silva
Obed Silva was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, but was raised in Orange County, California. Raised by a single mother who was often at work, Obed found comfort in the streets, joining a gang at age fourteen, the same age he dropped out of high school. After spending the next few years in and out of juvenile institutions, Obed was shot in the back and left paralyzed from the waist down while participating in a liquor store robbery. A year later, he found himself in a courtroom being charged with attempted murder for shooting a rival gang member. At the time, he was looking at serving more than fifteen years in prison. Ultimately, he was sentenced to five years on gang-terms probation—a sentence no one, including his lawyers, were expecting. It was during this time that he committed himself to a life of education, earning an associate of arts degree at Cypress College before attending California State University, Los Angeles, where he later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing and a Master of Arts degree in English.
Obed taught English at Orange Coast College and Cypress College for over six years. While at Cypress College, he was the English instructor for the Puente Program. Presently, Obed is a tenure-track assistant professor of English at East Los Angeles College.