Féi Hernandez, a poet and teacher, drove all the way from Inglewood to attend the Bakersfield LGBTQ Youth Summit at Cal State Bakersfield in March.
As a teacher, Hernandez saw the youth summit as an opportunity to give back to the community.
“I have been working very hard to be the mentor I never had — the teacher I never had,” Hernandez said. “This is why I’m here.”
The event welcomed people of all identities to learn about resources available in the community, to partake in a safe space and to teach those in leadership roles how to be inclusive and supportive.
The event was hosted by California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) in partnership with The Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, Kern County Public Health Department, Bakersfield LGBTQ, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Teacher Education Department, California Teachers Association and Planned Parenthood.
Gloria Garcia, an LGBTQ community worker at CRLA, was excited about offering and informing youth about the resources available in Kern.
“This event to me means an opportunity to providing young people a resource that a lot of us older LGBTQ people did not have growing up,” Garcia said. “It means an opportunity to create a safe and open space for everybody to be able to be completely themselves.”
A Kern County teacher who attends the summit each year, and who serves as a GSA Adviser, reported,
"For a lot of my kids, this is the best day of the year. The best day.”