Tens of thousands of Californians will join protests all around the country on Thursday, March 4th to protest budget cuts in education and social services.
Six regional protests in California are scheduled, including events in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, San Francisco, the East Bay, Sacramento and San Diego. Additional actions include walkouts, teach-ins, picketing and rallies at dozens of campuses around the State.
Following rallies at UCSD, SDSU, and City College, area protesters will gather at the east side of Balboa Park (near Central Cultural) at 3 pm for a short rally (yours truly has been asked to speak), followed by a march through downtown to the local offices of the Governor. The protests are expected to last into the evening.
Demands that will be voiced for San Diego’s Day of Action on March 4th include:
** A halt to layoffs and pay cuts and restoration of full funding to education with a guarantee of free access to all citizens and non-citizens, k-12 up to graduate level.
**Stop the privatization of education and increase public participation in decision-making processes through the democratic election of teachers, parents, and students to run institutions in the interests of society as a whole.
**Progressive taxation on corporations and the wealthy to fully fund social services that sustain community, including the right to health care and living wages for California’s workers.
**Tax payer money for education, not for prisons, wars, and corporate bailouts.
The March 4th actions are just the beginning of what promises to be the biggest spring of protest since the early 1970’s.
On March 5th, the California Federation of Teachers is sponsoring a 400-mile “March for California’s Future”, starting in Bakersfield and proceeding through the Central Valley to the state’s capital.
Invoking the images and the teachings of Cesar Chavez to galvanize support, the five week long trek is calling on state lawmakers to reinvest in public education and other social services by doing away with the two-thirds vote needed to pass new taxes and a state budget. The marchers, including City College professor Jim Miller, say securing a quality education has become a civil rights issue.
There are numerous buses (already booked, unfortunately) that will be leaving San Diego early on the morning of March 5th to carry local activists to the kick-off rally in Bakersfield. (I will be among those riding the bus northward and promise to report on what I see.)
On March 9th, the San Diego Unified School District Trustees will meet to pass next year’s first attempt at a budget, which incorporates another $89 million in cuts mandated by the Governor’s budget. The budget won’t be finalized until later this spring, when Sacramento legislators meet to put a final proposal together. These cuts come on the heels of $200 million in cuts over the past two years. And another $120 million chop is projected for the 2011/2012 school year.
An alliance of parents, students, administrators and teachers called Educate For The Future will be holding a press conference outside the Board of Education building on March 9th, calling for a regional campaign designed to make the State’s elected officials aware of citizen outrage over the continuing and projected cuts in funding.
The campaign, focusing on K-12 schools throughout San Diego County, will include campus rallies at area high schools, parent-led town halls, a “Blue Ribbon” awareness campaign, and a “Super-Petition” that will be sent to every area law maker and other key elected officials in Sacramento. These events will culminate in a massive public rally at Balboa Park on Saturday, May 8th at 10am.
For more information on these events, visit: