Feb. 2017 Advocate: Students walk out
Students walk out & organize in response to Presidential election
by Alfredo Olguín Jr, SMCCCD Rise Up activist
On November 21, 2016 at 10:30am, Skyline College, College of San Mateo, and Cañada College synchronously walked out in solidarity with the marginalized communities who had been directly targeted throughout the 2016 presidential election. Living in the diverse microcosm known as the Bay Area, the disturbing rhetoric and policy from the GOP candidate, which invoked fear in the lives of many, simultaneously sparked a fervent desire to mobilize in the hearts of students within the San Mateo County Community College District. In the span of roughly two weeks, students on all three campuses united and immediately planned the walk-out.
Noting the unavoidable fundamental issue of white supremacy that is sustained through deep-rooted systemic and institutional social, political, economic, psychological, and spiritual oppression, our tactics centered the struggles of our distinctly diverse community. In order to combat those difficulties of everyday life, we strategically organized. During the day of the walk-out, a list of 12 demands were presented on each campus, outlining a multitude of inclusive needs we as students viewed necessary in order to sustain and advance the education and well being for members of marginalized communities, on our campuses and throughout the community. Conscious of what has come before, what is happening now, and what is yet to come, this was not a desolate protest of an individual placed in power but a crucial component from the continuous fight for liberation. The passion that unified the three campuses additionally birthed the student led community group, SMCCCD Rise Up.
The SMCCCD Rise Up community is a faceless group that is not a recognized club on any campus. We consist of students from a large range of backgrounds and identities, with individuals possessing the strength of mothers and fathers, and the perseverance of formerly incarcerated youth. Together we are students who deemed the current social and political climate as hostile towards oppressed people in the United States and the World. Connecting the struggles throughout our communities in the United States to the international fight for liberation, our goals are set to create more equitable campuses, communities, and thus an entire World. In a society where this is a challenging task and understanding the laborious duty that this entails, we understand the role of professors as indisputably intrinsic if success is a feasible goal. With that being said, this call for solidarity extends beyond allies on our campuses; anyone who views our agenda as imperative for the prosperity of students and our community as a whole is welcome.
We currently attend all Board of Trustees meetings for the District and have regular group meetings that are still being adapted into a definite schedule. Certain goals of our group have already become reality. For example, our district has passed a resolution that declares our campuses “Safe Havens” and our administrations have implemented, or are implementing, DREAM/DREAMer Centers on each campus; this necessity was not available on campus prior to the demand. Moving forward, we envision our group to grow and directly include our allies on each campus, including you—the professors. We believe that without students there is no need for academic institutions, but without professors our hunger for learning becomes an uninhabitable thought. Thank you.
SMCCCD Student Demands
1. Sanctuary Campuses & Dream Centers
2. Transparency on fund allocation & equal resources on all campuses. Enhancing counseling services for LGBT students and other marginalized students. Spiritual rooms
3. Promote open and safe campuses for all. 24/7 access for student use by using student ID.
4. Workshops centered around cultural sensitivity/ally awareness for all SMCCCD employees & student-serving positions (Student Senate).
a. Microaggressions workshops, cultural fluency workshops.
5. Ensure the protection and expansion of Diversity Studies, including without limitation: LGBTQ+ Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Women and Gender Studies.
6. Engage in efforts for housing assistance programs and homeless resources on each campus, especially for high-risk students.
a. legal assistance and exposure to available outside organizations
7. Extend and expand cultural community gatherings on our campuses for all races and ethnicities.
8. Expansion of psychological services, specifically pertaining to counseling for hate crimes, LGBTQ+ issues, sexual assault, comprehensive training for mental health services.
9. Public Safety must be community oriented vs. police. No introduction of PD on campus. Yearly evaluation with a public forum. Direct filing system for complaints. Possibly taking away predatory ticket giving. NO FURTHER ARMING.
10. Senate for hate crimes created by students.
11. Environmental Sustainability.
12. FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
An in-depth description of the demands can be provided if requested; contact via Facebook, ‘SMCCD Rise Up’.