Students Find Solidarity on Corsair Field
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The faculty of Santa Monica College held a gathering at the Corsair Football Field to support student solidarity. In the wake of protests throughout the campus and the United States the day after the presidential elections, many colleagues have been experiencing fear and distress of how Donald Trump’s first hundred days in office may be a threat to their rights as human beings, residents and citizens. To address student concerns, Interim Director of Academic Affairs Initiative Edna Chavarry brought both faculty and community organizers to share their voices.
Upholding the principles of identity, sense of belonging and security, Vice President of Academic Affairs Georgia Lorenz provided a preliminary speech with the foundation of John Gardner’s definitive values and ideals on community. “Nothing makes your professors more proud than your success and achievement…We need to all double-down and commit to each other and to this community where we can learn, thrive and achieve together. We need to invest in each other, we all belong here, and we need to promote that ideal in our day-to-day interactions with each other and our work here on campus,” said Gardner.
Reassuring and unifying the students on campus, Superintendent Kathryn E. Jeffery spoke next focusing on the mission and future for SMC emphasizing the principles of honesty, integrity, hope and peace. Praising the innovation, energy and intelligence of both students and faculty. She was met with resounding applause. “Instead of dwelling in the shadows of fear and doubt, I wholeheartedly urge you to focus on higher ground, to set your aspirations above the confusion and the uncertainty because that is where you will see the solutions that are meaningful,” said Jeffery.
The speeches that followed helped clear the fog of divisive rhetoric created by the presidential campaigns this past year. Drawing great strength and knowledge from students and a history of civil rights movements resisting governments worldwide in the fight for freedom, faculty professor and committee member Marisol Moreno offered comforting words for undocumented students that have been experiencing discriminatory comments due to immigration politics. Rallying the crowd advocating commitment to action, she said, “This is a story about human resiliency. This is a story about people that, under the worst conditions of oppression, violence and hate, somehow still manage to get themselves up in the morning, and still manage to make things happen, and damn it if they can do it, we can do it too!”
Following her speech, local immigration attorneys David Fullmer and Anna Parker of Ivener & Fullmer, LLP. offered their services to undocumented and international students seeking legal aid in these turbulent and uncertain times. Providing informative elaboration on their knowledge in a wide variety of forms of immigration, they reaffirmed their dedication to helping students and dreamers coming to the United States to work and seek a better future for themselves and their families.
LGBTQ student representatives with close to a dozen supporters carrying a rainbow banner and signs of “Love Trumps Hate” appeared to offer closing words. Affirming the struggle for the right to be free, to work and have a home in the United States without facing persecution. Students were reminded of the dreams they were fighting for and reminded to take action. Promoting dialogue students cheered and broke out into groups to share their stories. Faculty and students stand together and stand hopeful for a better future. It was proclaimed to be proud to be you, be proud to be part of your family, be proud to be part of the community and be proud to be SMC.