Earlier this week students rallied for diversity and against harmful Propositions to this cause.
On October 15th and 16th, 2013, students from across campus gathered on the hill in their own “Days of Defiance II.”
On the 15th, students rallied against Michigan’s anti-affirmative action ballot proposal – Proposal 2.
On the 16th, students protested the commemoration of a new UCLA facility, Carnesale Commons. Students are severely angered by the fact that this facility is being named after the former Chancellor Albert Carnesale due to the fact that he was a strong supporter of proposition 209.
Students held signs that read things such as, “We demand true diversity,” and “The more variety the better society.” The crowd chanted, “I’M FIRED UP, CAN’T TAKE IT NO MORE!” And as any spokesperson that wanted to take the stage made their speeches about diversity, you could feel the passion in the air.
One of the largest issues addressed at “Days of Defiance II” 2013 was the need for the admittance of more Queer students.
“Being queer, and being African American I represent two minorities. A lot of people think of affirmative action programs primarily affecting race and ethnicity but not a lot of people think about it affecting gender, and even less think about it affecting sexuality. It is important to have more people that look like me and connect to my own community,” said Devin Murphy, a 3rd year political science major.
4th year Afro- American studies and Political Science student Maryssa Hall expressed the infuriation many of the students at the protest felt about the building being named after Carnesale.
“I really feel like it’s a slap in the face. It is infuriating for the university to name one of its new buildings after a man who was so instrumental in fighting against access at this university for minority communities. It really makes you think about how much emphasis is put on culture, and how much is put on capital,” she said.
“Diversity is an issue on our campus that continues to impact who gets access to higher education…Even though there may seem to be people from many different backgrounds on our campus, our student body isn’t reflective of our state or surrounding community. It isn’t fair to have a system where we don’t have the opportunity to have our identities and struggles truly considered,” John Joanino said.
He continues on to share a bit of his own story, “I think the implications of being a queer student of color are really unique. The intersection of my identity as being Filipino, and a gay male, and the struggles I had to go through coming from a Catholic family, not being able to be out, facing bullying; these are all things that really impacted my ability to succeed in school… these were all integral things to my experience and that should be taken into account when students pursue higher education.”
15 years have passed, and students at UCLA are still battling the same issues, the fight for true diversity. The originators of “The Day of Defiance,” said that every single day would be a day of defiance after that first demonstration, Joanino reiterated this idea at the end of the rally by saying, “The day of defiance does not end today. It is every single day until we have equitable, just, access to higher education.”
The students closed in a solidified chant, “WHOSE UNIVERSITY?” “OUR UNIVERSITY.” And with that, the hope that one-day the university would truly belong to the diverse group of students that deserved to be there rang strong.