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Activism necessary

Future of education requires student voice

By The Advocate editorial board
On March 6, 2014

  • Uplifting spirit — Gospel rapper Aaron Swuth performs during a concert to raise money to buy new robes for the Contra Costa College Gospel Choir Friday at the Hilltop Community Church. The show attracted a diverse audience. Michael Sue / The Advocate

Even with the passage of Proposition 30, we still need to keep pushing for education.
Community colleges are only guaranteed to receive funding for education for the first year of the law. After that, the money will go into the state's general fund.
As part of a statewide rally for education, hundreds of students from all three state systems of higher education marched to the steps of the state Capitol Monday.
In preparation for the March in March demonstration, the Associated Students Union at Contra Costa College hosted two workshops to get students ready for the protest.
On Monday morning only two students from CCC drove to Sacramento.
The lack of student activism is a disappointment for the college. It is up to us, the students, to make certain that we do not lose our voices, or the necessary tools to craft our future.
Though the annual rally may have come and gone, we cannot afford to wait until next year to start advocating for equal and affordable access to public education.
Before we begin to expand our ideas outside of the community, we must recognize that there are a few things we can do to fight for education.
First, students can take the initiative to write letters to their legislators. We can express complaints or push new initiatives on the ballot.
Among the rights protected by the First Amendment is the right to assemble. By organizing and attending campus-wide and local demonstrations, we can shed our fears of self-expression and openly voice our opinions, worries and ideas for change alongside others.
Ideas such as the budget proposal made by Gov. Jerry Brown, which is aimed at increasing the funding available to California community colleges, provide a perfect opportunity for students to write to legislators to urge them to pass the budget in its entirety.
In May, the Legislature will review the proposal and, after making revisions, it will be voted on by July 1. That provides plenty of time for students and the community to speak out and push for the proposed budget.
We can also turn to fundraising to support and use programs on campus. For example, the proceeds that will come from the annual All You Can Eat Crab Feed, hosted by the CCC athletic department, will benefit sports programs at the college.
If the government is unwilling to provide more money, we must be self-sufficient.
If we fail to speak out and make our voices heard, nothing will change. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. 

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