Former presidential candidate Jill Stein visited RCC to address students on current political issues
By Rethitha Nalla
A mass of students from Riverside City College and members the Riverside community gathered March 15 on the steps of the Martin Luther King Jr. building to hear Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate for 2012 and 2016, speak.
“Free Your Mind, Think Jill Stein” and “No Human is Illegal” were just a few of the slogans written on signs held up by the audience.
The crowd cheered as she made her appearance.
“This is what democracy looks like,” she said. “You are what democracy looks like!”
“What I don’t want to hear are platitudes of problems we already have,” John Wilder, a Riverside resident said when asked what he was expecting to hear.
“I want to hear solutions,” he said.
Charlene Mejia, an RCC student said, “I think it’s time that we shift to a third party instead of having to choose between the two dominant parties that are constantly shoved at us.”
Stein directed her attention to students by stating now is the time to “bail out the younger generation.”
“There is no excuse not to make public education free,” she added.
Her speech at RCC was a construction of the Green Party’s platform of policies as well as a delivery on her attitudes toward certain politicians and the political system.
She voiced her opinion on the President Donald Trump and the travel ban.
“If you want to make the American public secure, we’ve got news for you Donald Trump,” she said. “It’s not by spending half our discretionary dollars on fighting this war on terrorism, it’s by fighting a war against poverty, against poor education, against poor health care! That’s what we need to secure.”
After a series of Q&A, Stein responded to people’s opinions that a vote for a third party presidential candidate in the 2016 election was essentially siphoning support that could have gone to Hillary Clinton.
“The facts don’t agree with that,” Stein said. “That’s basically a smear campaign and a character assassination campaign. The system is very frightened that we are developing steam … but let’s get the facts out there, Greens for the most part vote for Green. They don’t vote for Democrats, so having a Green candidate would not have translated to more votes for Clinton.
“Those who are accusing me of being a spoiler are doing the same thing that the Totalitarians are doing in saying that they can only have one or two legitimate state parties,” she said.
Stein ended her speech by saying that the solution for real democracy is to not to silence the opposition.
“Political opposition is where democracy lives, she said. “We need more voices and more choices. That’s the solution … we need politics for us.”
Matthew Snyder, a staff member of UC Riverside’s writing program, said the younger generations have the tools to make a change.
“Americans are trapped by labels, and we have to break away from that. The young generation, the millennials are the golden key. They have the choice and they need to make it. ”
“It went even better than we expected especially because we had such a short time to advertise. It was a great turnout,” said Isabelle Zamora, the president of Young Greens Coalition Riverside City College.
Zamora collaborated with the local Green Party chapter, Green Party for Riverside, and played a crucial role in making the event happen.