By Bethany Lee
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors (BOG) is backing members of the City College community who banded together in the heart of Civic Center to protest executive orders and policies encompassing healthcare, immigration, and fundamental rights.
Several City College students and faculty members joined over 100,000 people during the SF Women’s March on Jan. 21, waving signs and tromping from the center of Civic to Justin Herman Plaza.
City College Vice Chancellor Samuel Santos supported a key issue discussed by over 100,000 participants during the SF Women’s March, which prompted him to send an e-mail to all students in regards to President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders pertaining to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Within the e-mail the BOG declared, “that all 113 community colleges remain open, safe and welcoming to all students who meet the minimum requirements for admission, regardless of immigration status, and that financial aid remains available to certain undocumented students.”
Speaker for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Ruth McFarlane, presented a speech during the Women’s March insisting that, “when we march today we must hold at the center of our collective viewfinder those for whom the danger is clear and imminent.”
McFarlane described a long list of whom those dangers were present for, “Muslims, undocumented people, Black men and youth, low income people, especially those with disabilities and serious health concerns, transgender and gender nonconforming people, and those who live in places where they are especially prone to attack by their neighbors and their legislators.”
The BOG expressed that in awareness of this, the incoming administration will continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program grants reprieve from deportation to individuals brought to this country as children.
The BOG wrote, “California and the United States are stronger due to their contributions to our economy, to our communities and to our Armed Forces.”
Attesting to the very real threat of deportation for students was UC Berkeley senior, Angelica Vargas, who opened her speech at the march stating, “I stand today as an undocumented immigrant in this country that I call my home.”
Vargas, like several City College students, lives with the fear that she could come home to face deportation. A situation Vargas called ironic, since the U.S. “claims birthrights to a land that wasn’t even ours to begin with.”
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Katherine Ellison also spoke to the roaring crowd, which invaded the heart of the city despite torrential rainfall.
“We see clearly what is at stake,” Ellison said, “our health care, a livable wage, family leave, civility, ethics, and bold action on climate change after the third consecutive hottest summer.”
Between speakers, the crowd bobbed signs reading phrases like “I will not go back to the 1950’s quietly,” “no access, no choice,” and “hands off my uterus.”
Women, men, and children chanted in unison, “No more walls, we build bridges!”
The the lone hush to fall on the crowd was after McFarlane said, “in our lifetime there has never been a more profound challenge to this country’s ideals of justice, inclusion, and equality, than there is today.”