Nineteen-year-old Natalie Sarai Monzon and 21-year-old Dian Sukarso are fairly new to the Long Beach area but were quickly able to feel a sense of belonging when they joined the Cal State Rollers club on campus.
The two CSULB students had never imagined themselves at a skatepark and had no idea what was in store for them when they bought their first pair of roller skates. They were intrigued by the community that is full of bruises, sweat, but most importantly, sisterhood.
Skating serves as their personal outlet and source of connection to the Long Beach community.
Monzon, a first-year student from South Central LA majoring in Graphic Design, picked up skating in February of 2020. It was a period of loneliness and self-doubt, but roller skating had brought new excitement to her life. It was a newly found passion that brought Monzon a feeling of self-fulfillment, community, and confidence.
“I’ve always been the type of person to give up easily, but this was something new that really pushed me outside my comfort zone,” Monzon said. “Skating makes me feel like I can do anything, as if anything and everything is possible.”
Sukarso is a third-year chemistry major and began skating during her first year of college in the fall of 2019. Originally from Daly City, CA, adjusting to a new environment all on her own was very difficult at first.
Skating allowed Sukarso to feel not only more confident in herself, but also made Long Beach feel like home with the help of creating close friends within the skate community.
“Skating has helped me connect better with Long Beach,” Suksaro said. “Coming into this skate community has allowed me to connect to the culture and its people here.”