Students in Sacramento rally against proposed cuts
Approximately 20,000 students and faculty from California's community colleges gathered in Sacramento on March 14, to protest against proposed budget cuts that will not only increase student fees but also cut classes and eliminate several student services. "Education is a fundamental right. That is why I am here and that is you are here."
"We cannot rely on private and out of state colleges to secure our education for tomorrow."
These were the words and common theme of Monday's speakers outside the state capitol.
Three buses loaded with 150 SMC students were the first to arrive Monday morning at the empty parking spaces where all participants were to meet before the march, When it became official that SMC would send representatives to Sacramento, SMC Associated Students encouraged anyone with interest and engagement to sign up for the bus ride until the maximum of 150 students was reached.
The march was initiated by the Student Senate for Community Colleges in California. According to FCC Vice Chair David Stavis, 20, engaging students who care about the higher education budget cut debate was not difficult since it is a change that will affect each and every student at Santa Monica College. Students who previously were not informed about Gov. Brown's proposition found it frustrating and upsetting when they realized what impact it would have if they would have to pay a $66 unit fee, according to Stavis.
"It is about activism and advocacy." SMC student Jessica Chuan, 18, explains as her main reasons for going on the trip. "We need to do these kinds of things, use the democracy, to be able to have a strong society."
After thousands of participating students and faculty from various California community, city, and state colleges had arrived; the crowd began the march towards the Capitol.
The rain poured down and smudged many of the messages that were written on signs, but the energy of the growing number of students was high with secure prepping and encouragement from the student leaders.
Upon arrival at the State Capital, the protesters were greeted by CSSA President Chaves. The speakers made an effort to inspire and promote the right to education and democracy, specifically directed to the legislators' choice on whether or not to allow for the tax cut to be on the ballot for special elections in June. "I want a chance to vote. Let me vote!" Said Nicole Andersson, one of the CSU Board of Directiors, in her speech."Let us vote!"
When the loud but peaceful rally was over the students who had protested together towards a common goal separated and went back to their buses to be taken home..
Jessica Chevez, 18, felt that it had been a good experience, not just to engage in a cause that affects her but "it is important also for future students that we do things like this."