San Diego summit for March 4

February 1, 2010

SAN DIEGO--More than 80 people representing various student, parent and faculty organizations and unions from all public education sectors met at the United Labor Center building January 23 to plan a collective action for March 4 in San Diego.

Present were representatives from San Diego Sate University, University of California (UC)-San Diego, California State University (CSU) San Marcos, San Diego City College and Grossmont College.

The summit was called by the Education For All Coalition after 800 students, workers and teachers from across the state converged at the October 24 Conference to Save Public Education at UC-Berkeley.

The attendees voted overwhelmingly for a statewide strike and day of action on March 4, with each campus, local union and organization to decide on what type of action to organize. Since then, the call has been taken up at a national level.

The summit began with UC-San Diego Professor Jorge Mariscal outlining the attack. He pointed out that the recent Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts on elections should be seen as a symbol of what this movement is up against.

Elizabeth Rodriguez, a San Diego City College student and member of the Education For All Coalition, gave an excellent speech leading into a discussion on demands, suggesting that they should be kept as broad as possible in order to engage a large section of society. After a long and tumultuous discussion, the people in attendance voted in favor of the following demands:

1. Restore funding to education, health care and social services. No more budget cuts;
2. No layoffs, furloughs, or pay cuts. Living wage for all workers;
3. Progressive taxation;
4. Free, fully funded education for all;
5. End wars, bailouts and mass incarcerations. Expand social services;
6. Democratize educational governance. For an elected board of parents, teachers, workers and students to run education.

The mood in the room grew more hopeful, and repeated calls were made for individuals to put aside their political differences and work together towards building a large demonstration on March 4 and beyond.

It was then announced that the San Diego Labor Council had passed a resolution to endorse the March 4 day of action and has planned a march to Sacramento starting on March 5.

One proposal from the summit--organizing a march that will start at the Centro Cultural de la Raza and end at the Governor's office in downtown San Diego--received the overwhelmingly majority vote. People felt that it was important to have this unified event in the late afternoon to allow for those that are planning events in their own local campuses.

While there were many seasoned activists present at the summit, a majority of the attendees were enthusiastic and relatively new activists. According to San Diego City College professor Justin Akers Chacón, "I've never been in a meeting of this type with such a high level of collective consciousness."

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