Samantha De La Cruz and Delila Solis – Kern County Love Project
The Kern County Love Project is a resource by the community for the community that creates space for queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming youth of color to flourish. By offering educational workshops and a free pop-up clothing closet for community members that are in need of gender affirming clothes, The Kern County Love Project helps combat the lack of knowledge and resources regarding the queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming community in Kern County.
Out of 7,353 ninth graders in the Kern High School District in 2017/2018, 90% did not learn about LGBTQ+ issues or people in class and 83% did not know where to go if they wanted information and support from their school about sexual orientation, gender identity, or LGBTQ issues.
This program strives to increase awareness and support for the queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming community in Kern County, fostering healthy bodies, minds, and spaces by centering love in all dimensions.
Co-founded by unapologetic scholar-activists and organizers Samantha DeLaCruz (she/her, they/them) and Delila Solis (they/them), they work to achieve queer liberation and justice by incorporating both grassroots activism and scholarship into their community organizing efforts through the creation of events, projects, and mentorship of queer youth. Prior to “The Kern County Love Project”, the two have organized annual projects such the Sexual Ethics Education Fair, Transgender Awareness Week, and the opening of “Jai’s Library” at California State University, Bakersfield—a collection of affirming books and an inclusive space that transgender and queer people of color can utilize at no cost.