“There are no words that will make justice for the physical, mental, emotional and social violence that students at UC Irvine are currently going through. We have lost a truly loved member of our community. Christien Rodriguez was a powerful transgender man who was not afraid to speak up the truth and share his knowledge with those around him. He was a mentor and a friend to many of us. His energy and support system brought harmony into my life when I needed it the most. I remember organizing with him, always challenging the system and bringing consciousness to UC Irvine. We shared a mutual respect and love for our queer and student of color communities on campus. We participated together in places to deconstruct the impact of affirmative action, institutional racism, whiteness, patriarchy, time, energy and space. And although we wouldn’t always organize together I felt at peace knowing
that someone like him was out there spreading and sharing his theories with others.
Dear Christien, In life and death you are teaching us very important lessons; you are putting our lives into perspective and making us reflect upon the institutional violence that we face on the daily basis. My dear friend, in honoring your existence and identity I will make sure to cherish those lessons and share them with my community. And even though you are not physically with us anymore, your knowledge is and will be forever.
For my dear friends, let us allow ourselves to mourn this death. We live in such a fast paced society and even though we are so hurt by this system, we never allow ourselves to mourn and heal. We fight, fight, fight, until we realize that we are not ourselves anymore and our souls have been taken away. Especially at Irvine, we live in the belly of the beast where there is no respect for humanity. Just like we take a bullet every day for our communities, we must also allow ourselves to heal those wounds. We must try to find peace in the middle of this battleground; we must love, respect, and appreciate each other.
Con amor y cariño,
If any of you ever need someone to talk please know that I am here for you and that there is a whole community that is ready to embrace your struggle and protect the beauty of your humanity.”