Thursday night at Mrak I was surrounded by hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and community members who grabbed the chance to find their voice and politicize their presence here at the UC. Those of you who were there, or who have taken part in this kind of organizing before, know that the feeling of standing in solidarity with friends and strangers alike for a cause that transcends so many of the differences that too often divide us is the most rare and the most nourishing of experiences. Never have I felt that kind of pride in our university before. As in, whose university, OUR UNIVERSITY!
What started with around 50 students at 10 am yesterday morning ended with hundreds cheering on those who were able to put themselves on the line and accept unjust arrest for doing exactly what the University of California should be teaching us to do, make an unconditional commitment to preserving access to education for all students!
Thursday 52 people sacrificed a night in jail and entanglement in a corrupt legal system to send a message to President Yudof, the UC Regents, and the California government, WE WILL NOT STOP FIGHTING! These students cemented our commitment to fighting for educational equity and it is now our responsibility to carry on that commitment.
If 52 people can hold a building for over two hours, what can 100 people do? What can 300 people? What can an entire campus of mobilized students, faculty, and staff do? And the question now is, what can we do TODAY, RIGHT NOW? Close down Russell and stop UNITRASNS for the day? Shut down the MU? Occupy a building?
We’ve got a strong crowd, many with new fresh voices. I have so much pride in and admiration for each of you and I know you all have different reasons for being here today. WE NEED TO HEAR THEM! KATEHI NEEDS TO HEAR THEM! YUDOF AND THE REGENTS NEED TO HEAR THEM!
Our strength starts with our individual voices, and it is made undeniable in our solidarity with each other! I ask that each of you take time to ask yourselves, what can I give? What can I put on the line to ensure that a quality college education stays affordable in this state for our generation, for our siblings, and eventually for our children!