I'm Marching on March 5th
On January 27, 2012 I got off work and drove like a maniac to Laney College where I ran my out-of-shape self from the parking lot all the way to the B building room 247. I tumbled into that classroom completely out of breath with beads of salty liquids dripping and shamelessly proud. I would be the newest member of this beautiful class. I could already blissfully taste the enlightenment. Not only did I want this class, I needed it, as a requirement to complete my freshman year.
I had been turned down from six classes before this. I was hanging on a thread of hope. But I soon became aware that the seats were full. He said he would only take 15 students from waitlist. I was thirty-one on the list.
The Administration office of Peralta Colleges decided that this semester they won’t allow students to enroll without paying all the dues they owed. This is a switch from the usual payment plan where we can pay off fees and simultaneously take classes. The school system needs money, but so do I.
I spoke to the financial advisor who suggested that I take a semester off to get the money. I thought, "Was he insane?" If I took a semester off there was a 50% chance that I would never come back. How many other students had no choice but to take his suggestion? How many would be less inclined to educate themselves with one more obstacle added to this supposedly easily accessible Community College? He seemed used to giving the news.
My education has become something I have to tirelessly fight to keep. But in truth, it's not just me. On January 27th there were about 25 people who left that room with me in disappointment.
Who was the cause of this? I spend half of my week working a job I hate because I need the money for a school that doesn’t even allow me to take the classes I need. They have cut 20% of courses due to lack of government funding. I am pissed. I want to find the culprit, the one who is fueling my and everyone else’s misery. I want to drop-kick them with a judo move. Then I would say “give us our money back foo!”
But I knew that would never happen. Instead, with a metaphorical judo kick I could educate myself and take action. I decided I would to change things, because I have the power to. I decided that I would become involved in this fight. I now am campaigning for the Millionaire’s Tax ballot initiative so that hopefully the least wealthy of our society will no longer have to bear the brunt of rebuilding the economy in California.
I will also be at Berkeley City College, at 10:15am on March 5th for the beautiful March Against Budget Cuts so that my voice and the voices of those 25 and more students who can no longer afford school, who cannot get the classes they are required can also be heard.
This is my story. I hope you will join me and get involved!
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May 29, 2013