The Cross Cultural Center (CCC) was founded on October 16, 1974 by a core group of concerned UCI faculty, staff, and students. Since opening its doors, the center has embarked upon a series of programs, activities, and services to assist the university in supporting the personal, social, cultural, and academic needs of UCI's diverse students.
The Cross-Cultural Center at UCI is dedicated to creating and maintaining a socially just campus, fostering the cultural identities within our community, and providing opportunities for intellectual exchange, leadership development, and community engagement.
As a team of professionals, students, and student organizations, the Cross-Cultural Center strives to create meaningful dialogues and interactive programs between and for all people, implement programs and services that foster a sense of social responsibility among students, and provide a network of support for students from traditionally disenfranchised communities. The CCC also aims to provide opportunities for community service and experiential learning in order to enhance the personal, social, cultural, and academic wellbeing of our students.
Acting as the conscience and voice of many individuals, communities, and populations by recognizing and challenging inequities on local, national, and global levels.
Creating a society that works collectively toward a common goal to end inequities and increase rights for all people.
Working together and engaging with one another in productive and healthy ways to successfully work towards the CCC mission and vision.
The act of learning, growing, and understanding individuals, communities, and populations.
Seeking out opportunities to educate oneself with others in regards to social issues.
Diversity refers to all of the identities that make individuals unique. Idenitites include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual identity, ability status, socioeconomic status, age, religion/spirituality, national origin, and citizenship status.
The Cross-Cultural Center (CCC) was founded on October 16, 1974, by a group of concerned UCI faculty, staff, and students who recognized the need for creating a social-cultural support system for ethnic minority students. The CCC was the first multicultural center at a campus of the University of California. The stated purpose of the Center was "to create Third World interaction, student outreach, and provide necessary information to the minority community on campus." The first director was Dr. Larry Onoda, a psychologist from the Counseling Center. The CCC was housed in an 1,800 square foot temporary building located across Ring Mall from the School of Humanities. The original facility consisted of a reception area, a director's office, several student offices, and a conference room separated from the reception area by an accordion-style partition.
Under the direction of one full-time staff, and in partnership with students, faculty, and staff, the 'Cross,' as it affectionately came to be known, embarked upon a series of programs, activities, and services support the emerging needs of UCI's growing underrepresented student population.
In 1976, the Cross-Cultural Center dedicated the first of several murals that would become synonymous with the facility. The first mural, designed and painted by UCI students, was developed under the direction of Manuel Hernandez, a visiting lecturer in Studio Art. It depicts prominent historical figures who were voices for equality and justice. It also portrays significant events in the annals of California's minority communities.
Another date important in the history of the Cross-Cultural Center was the creation of the annual Rainbow Festival. Established in 1984, the Rainbow Festival has become a tradition at UCI and has served as a multicultural program model for other colleges and universities. Occurring in the fall, the Rainbow Festival is a celebration of cultural and ethnic diversity that offers speakers, workshops, and a cultural fair for the entire University community. The theme of UCI's first Rainbow Festival was Many Faces, Many Dreams.
Changing demographics and campus growth necessitated the expansion and relocation of the Cross-Cultural Center. After considerable campus debate about the siting of the new Center, it was determined that the new Cross-Cultural Center would be located on Ring Mall across from the Administration Building. On April 18, 1989, the "new" Cross-Cultural Center opened its doors to the UCI Community. The facility grew to be 3,400 square feet, and consisted of a lounge, administrative offices, student offices, a small library, a student work room, and two conference rooms divided by a moveable partition. The original mural, dedicated in 1976, was moved to the new facility and is prominently displayed in the lounge. In 1993, a mural conceived by the well-known muralist, Judy Baca, was installed in the 'Cross' conference room. Commissioned by the National Institute of Mental Health for the National Conference on Refugee Services, and undertaken as a mural class project by UCI students, this mural depicts the silent suffering of Asian/Vietnamese and Latino/Central American refugee communities.
In the spring of 1991, concerned student organizations within the Cross-Cultural Center established the Ethnic Students Coalition Against Prejudicial Education (E.S.C.A.P.E.). The goal of E.S.C.A.P.E. was to push for the implementation of ethnic studies programs at UCI. All of the student umbrella organizations unified in this effort, and they sponsored several major rallies to generate campus support. In 1993, Asian American students held a 35-day rotational hunger strike in an effort to secure more faculty for the Asian American studies program as well as an additional staff member for the Cross-Cultural Center. This extended, but peaceful, protest received considerable media attention and galvanized the Asian American community.
In July 1999, Corina Espinoza departed UCI for a position at California State University, Bakersfield. Corina had served fifteen years in various staff positions in the CCC, nine as Director. After serving as Acting Director, Anna K. Gonzalez became Director of the Cross-Cultural Center in 2000. In 2008, Anna departed UCI for a position as Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Director of the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Anna left the CCC having contributed to another CCC expansion. This expansion, in conjunction with a referendum that redeveloped UCI’s Student Center, led to the creation of a second-floor administrative suite of offices, as well as a large multipurpose room dedicated to Professor Emeritus, the Godfather of Black Psychology, Dr. Joseph L. White. Upon Anna’s departure, Kevin Huie was hired as the Director of the Cross-Cultural Center and continues to serve in this capacity today.
During the 2010-2012 academic year, the students at the CCC, led by graduate student Yaron Hakim and 2010 alumna Edwina Dai, both from UCI’s Department of Studio Arts, created its third mural. Though untitled, this mural was created to give voice to students who were wanting to express their values and perspectives during a time in which their education was threatened by the drastic cuts throughout the state – a result of a national economic crisis. The mural is now hung immediately outside of the Dr. Joseph White Conference Room.
Five student umbrella organizations continue to be recognized by the Cross-Cultural Center; the Black Student Union (BSU), Alyansa ng mga Kababayan, the American Indian Student Association (AISA), the Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA), and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA). The number of individual organizations under these five umbrellas is constantly growing. As it has since its establishment in 1974, the CCC continues to provide many students a home away from home. And, for many, it remains a "safe space" from which students may launch their involvement in a myriad of campus programs and leadership opportunities.
In response to the growth of underrepresented populations and the overall diversity of the campus, the 'Cross' continues to evolve and expand its programming to address the issues and perspectives relative to these changes. At its core, the CCC endeavors to promote the education and celebration of a "multicultural sensibility" as we evolve within a global world.