March in March
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 14:03
Chants echoed through the streets of Sacramento on Monday. March 5 during the March in March rally when thousands of students from throughout California stood together to fight for education and marched to the steps of the Capitol building demanding change.
Fourteen LBCC students attended the march and were proud to join fellow students. Students met at Southside Park before the march for pre-rally events were taking place. Posters with phrases such as “education should be free” and informational fliers were being passed out while students poured into the park.
The march began at 10 a.m. from the park to the Capitol steps. Students from UC, CSU and Community Colleges walked side-by-side, demanding lower fees, more classes, more full-time teachers, cheaper textbooks and caring counselors.
PCC Club Board Chair Caroline Joseph said, “The wheels of justice do grind slowly, but I think this march will leave the message that students will fight for education. This fight is also for future students and encourages future generations to fight for their Community Colleges’ futures.
“Each generation has a responsibility for providing a safe platform for education in the future especially for people who come from struggling economic backgrounds, people of color and women. Our job as student leaders is to provide continuity for future students regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation. ”
Alexa Castanon, ESL representative of the PCC, said, “I think the march will be helpful because it shows that we care about education. Everyone should have an education no matter where they come from. People like me, who are transgender, often think we don’t have a future, but I need an education, everyone does.”
Once reaching the Capitol steps, students and employees from California colleges spoke to students about what changes need to be made and demanded that the Capitol do something about the education budget crisis. The rally ended around noon when many chose to occupy the Capitol steps.
Students from LBCC then met with 54th District Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, ask questions and voice students’ concerns. Lowenthal was unaware of some of the issues raised such as the possibility of eliminating or reducing the Board of Governors fee waiver and the possibility of less textbooks availability.
When asked about the increasing unit fees and providing more full-time faculty Lowenthal said, “I found that of 26,000 students, 80 percent of dropouts are women. What we are trying to create here is a society with equality. As far as full-time faculty, there are teachers called freeway fliers who teach all over the place and I don’t understand that because it seems unfair that full-time are the first in line to get extra courses and overtime.”
Lowenthal also mentioned that she will be proposing a bill for people in CalWORKS to be in ESL classes when a student asked about the possibility of losing or reducing ESL classes at the Community College level.
Student Council Treasurer of PCC Ronald Williams said, “I think the march will help a little bit with lowering the cost of education. The problem is the price of textbooks and with more scholarships becoming available to students with lower incomes will help because we can succeed and reach our goals.
“I wasn’t surprised when Bonnie said that women have that drop-out rate because there are many single mothers and women who take the role of mothers who will always put their children first and cannot take care of their education.”
Although spirits were high and positive, Daniel Jauregui, ASB secretary, had a different thought He said, “I think it will hinder change. I think people don’t realize that if you want change, it needs to be from the inside.
“Don’t fight the power, be the power.”