In the end, 6 students were arrested and one 72 yr old professor was pushed by police, and fell on her arm, breaking it.
We had a month build up on campus for this day. Chicana/o Studies had a teach in on Feb. 3 and began telling our students that today, March 4th the whole State was going to protest.
I couldn’t have paid anyone to make this happen. During my 11 am class I just finished showing them the 10 minute version of “Storm At Valley State” the 1985 documentary that looks at student activism on our campus 41 years ago. I was explaining how many in that generation protested because they demanded more from their country. They expected more for offering their lives and bodies in wars. They expect America to live up to its promise.s And they loved themselves. They felt they deserved more and asked for it. They loved themselves and were moved by love for a better future, like true revolutionaries always are. Moved to act out of love. I asked my students how many loved themselves? How many of you feel you deserve better than what they are offering and cutting away? I asked them if they were ready to start demanding satisfaction.
And like it was a sign from the Goddess, protesting students kicked open the doors out in the hallway and were yelling “Walkout!!!
I looked back at my students and said “They are calling you. Are you going to act? Or be like a good slave and not piss off the master, not rock the boat?”
“WALK OUT” you could hear the students coming closer to our door.
“They are calling you, what u going to do?”
One of my students put his fist in the air and yelled “Walkout” and boom they all jumped up and out the door.
Like I said, I couldn’t have paid for that to be more perfectly timed.
The wait for the big meet up in the quad had various groups walking campus asking other students to ‘walkout.’
One scene that was an ‘only at CSUN’ moment was when a small group of marchers came upon one of the CSUN choir’s impromtu performances they hold in the breezeway of Jerome Richfield. I walked over to see if the choir was really doing their singing thing today, a day of protest. I was hoping they would be doing protest songs.
When the marchers came up on them I half expected the marchers were going to get up in the face of the choir and ask them to join the march and stop the singing. It was the “american idol” generation facing its burgeoning activist other half, would they clash? No.
The choir said “We are singing this one for you.”
The marchers stopped their chanting and listened for a few minutes then, while the choir kept singing, the marchers just turned around and continued on recruiting other students to join them with another chant and marched away.
When 2pm finally came around there were about a core of 300-400 students throughout the quad in front of our library. Speeches were made, people inspired. We lined up on Matador Way and it looked like the 3-400 swelled a little more. Teachers and students from local schools came to join the march. By the time the march hit Prairie we had at least 2,000 people.
At Prairie and Reseda we went south to Nordhoff. Cars were stopped and honking in support. People got out of their cars and were taking pictures and video. There were no negative Nellies to be seen or heard.
As we went East on Nordhoff the long line of protesters was split in half by CFA ‘march leaders.’ These were the adults in charge. As faculty we tend to hang back and support our students, but not take any leadership or guiding roles. We advise before hand and if anything gets crazy, but its the students who are doing this, its theirs. CFA did play a major role in organizing this day of protest on a State level and they obviously did a great job of getting people out. At one point they cut the protest in half by letting half the column proceed down Nordhoff to Zelzah and turning the other half back in to campus at Lindley. I stayed with the front half knowing this was going to be a long walk.
We kept going down Zelzah and stopped briefly at Plummer. Some students tried to sit -down there, but the mass wanted to keep moving. At this point I got my homey Nelson’s djembe from him. He said he was tired and I love drums. I carried and banged that sucker all the way around campus back to Reseda and Prairie where we had Thee Sit Down, you see in the news.
(post script: I tried to upload video here but it says the file is too big. I put it up on my blog
pachucoville if you want to see it.)