By Nishe Butler / Asst. News Editor
By Nishe Butler / Asst. News Editor
Riverside City College students gathered together in front of the Martin Luther King building on Thursday, March 4 to bring awareness of the current budget cuts affecting our education.
UC Riverside, San Bernardino Valley College, as well as community members, workers and teachers. Students exercised their freedom of speech and the student band Broken Arrow performed.
Lauren Snyder, an RCC student and Interior architecture major said, “I am marching because I want to go to school for a reasonable price, we all deserve an education.”
John Coco, a returning student had been laid off and he was marching because all though he is an administration of justice major he was not able to get into classes this semester.
“This is horrible, I am not working so I try to go back to school to further my education and can’t get in,” Coco said.
As California remains financially strapped, the students voiced their concern for public education for all.
California is currently ranked 49 out of 50 states to invest in education gradually rising from eight years ago. California also ranks next to last in states where the adult population is at least high school level, according to a recent report by California Faculty Association at Cal State Los Angeles.
First to speak in front of the MLK building was RCC student Francisco Lopez, a member of the Inland Valley Coalition.
Carrera Peterson was a leader in the fight for education as well. She and Lopez spoke energetically about the issues at hand.
When Peterson took the microphone she spoke of workforce training, higher wages, global markets, civil duty, the greater rolls in government.
The 108 percent increase taking current unit price over 20 dollars to over 50 dollars a unit in the fall. Spending money on war verses education was one of the issues brought up along with the fear of flipping burgers as a career. “We are California,” Peterson said. What will happen if classes are continually cut?
As students prepared for the symbolic march against California budget cuts they proposed their solutions as investing in undocumented students and immigration reform for America, students stated they wanted accessibility not affordability.
Bill Hedrick from Corona/Norco Board of Education encouraged the students as they embarked on another student protest.
He stated that people could not afford to give up free education otherwise we were headed for “foreclosure of the future.” He said that 50 percent of people are not registered to vote and for people under 30 was even higher. “In order to have social mobility we must educate,” Hedrick said.
The pre-rally lasted about an hour and 40 minutes. As the students marched, cars honked and power fists were thrusted out of the car windows. Community support was evident as the students marched and chanted.
Some of the chants included; “Who’s future? Our future!” “The student’s united will never be divided!” “They say cut back we say fight back!” Signs read: “Educate don’t incarcerate.” “I want my classes back Arnold! They marched from Market Street and University continuing to Main Street to meet up with other local students.
First to take the microphone was an instructor from San Bernardino Valley College Ed Gomez. “I am a Cal State Alumni, Los Angeles City College alumni, and currently a UCR graduate student,” he said.
Gomez who was on stage with his son and two nephews asked the question, “What will I tell my son and nephews when they ask me why they have to attend dirty, overcrowded schools? Shame on those who are educated and turn their backs on education,” he said. Gomez went on to say that position and power equal money and money equals owning a home all which stem from education.
Next up was Francisco who reiterated his position as he fights for his education and following him was Cindy Bui a UCR student and sociology major who informed the crowd that their the location on Main Street was outside Senator Bob Dutton and Bruce Varner’s office. “We want them to know we are serious about our education,” Bui said.
She went on to introduce Paul Beehler, a member of the lecturers union, as well as an instructor at UC Riverside. He mentioned the 700 classes cut at UCLA, and how the previously 35 English classes are now down to five. “Education makes things prosperous,” he said.
Ruben Balcito was among the many other students who spoke that were present. He is a student at San Bernardino Valley College, he spoke of his concerns for his education such as summer school being cut in half and students unite to ignite as one voice. “We have to build our community up,” said Balcito.