The UCSD students actually got organized, and in solidarity took to the streets. They blocked an intersection that connects the East from the West Side of the central area of San Diego. This Central Area is known to be the the place where Science and Business thrive. Just one off-ramp north of La Jolla Village Drive is Sorrento Valley. It is like a mini Silicon Valley, except that they generally work on biological research and computer science. So jobs in that area are the life support of most San Diegans.
A lot of Banker and Financial Centers are generally in La Jolla.
The ultra ritzy town in San Diego where people such as Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt enjoy luxury living next to the gorgeous beaches of Sunny San Diego.
UC San Diego students have generally been stereotyped as apathetic science majors, ready to sell themselves to the corporations ready to hire them after graduation. Research is more important than sharing information. Research helps local businesses help their businesses innovate, and the community looks down on UCSD even thinking about creating an atmosphere anything different from what it is up until today.
Today the students forgot about the finals they'll be taking in only two weeks, and took to the streets. They joined together and in unity showed tremendous solidarity for the poorly paid janitors at UCSD. The working class poor in San Diego live anywhere from the closest areas of the county closer to the Mexican border like San Ysidro to Chulavista, National City, Bonita.
Traffic to La Jolla from the Five freeway is always very hectic.
It is where the working class meets the corporate elite.
The persons with money live near La Jolla in either La Jolla, or west of the 5 freeway.
La Jolla Village Drive allows the traffic to flow from the 5 freeway West into La Jolla.
This area is very busy from 9am-5pm. There is always a constant hustlin' and bustlin'.
UCSD students only need to walk less than a long block to get out of the main campus area into this intersection where so many people cross each others path.
Its nothing like new york where people actually physically see each other when they do this. All you see is cars, their flickering signals and the ocasional blue collar worker or lost old veteran getting on and off a metropolitan bus to go to the VA hospital near that corner.
So today UCSD students came out and displayed, yelled and chanted their opinions in the middle of La Jolla Village Drive in what is known as University Town Center or UTC. UTC is this funny brand new little town area that has relatively tall skyscrapers (for California) and mostly Luxury Apartment living, where a one bedroom with arched ceilings costs about 1700-2000 dollars a month.
Some of my friends even got arrested. One of the San Diego Indymedia member and now official activist got arrested, her name is Melissa. She's a graduate student at UC San Diego. I wonder if that will affect her classes next week? She obviously felt that the plea of the janitors was something she was completely passionate about.
The group that organized the event is the firstname.lastname@example.org.
People that attended the La Jolla Village Drive Justice for Janitors protest informed me that there were these rabid like dogs inside the cars. They said that the dogs barked the whole time. These dogs were causing the protesters to fear for their flesh. They were really afraid that the cops would open the doors on their four door police cars, and let the dogs out on the UCSD students.
I couldn't imagine a sight. What has the world come to that normal middle class students who generally are going to participate in this capitalist system after graduation become the targets of police officers?
I think that if that had happened, this administration would remind me of the times when in 1968 University students were attacked by the Mexican government who ordered police to quiet the protestors.
This event was nothing like Tlatelolco in Mexico City, but its beginning to have that feel.
They better not have thrown the dogs on students, that would have totally been Tlatelolcoesque. I mean, students are historically people who still have hope to change the world. Students have the time and leisure that normal working people don't. People who participate day in and day out to the economic system of the US are given time restraints and with this comes some oppression. Comes Routine.
With routine you'll have apathy.
A girlfriend who works at Sorrento Vally heard that there was a car accident in UTC, and I informed her that today's incident was a protest that blocked traffic. She was like, why are they protesting? I told her because the workers are getting tired of providing services we vitally need for shitty pay. They want a union, and they want to collectively bargain. They are legally entitled to.
She said, ok, ok. I guess, that if they are legally entitled to collectively bargain, then its good.
But I looked at KUSI and other local English Channel TV stations to see if they had covered today's event. I'm sure that some of these people blocked by the protestors have the right to know what is going on. I turned to Univision, and they had great coverage. They were there from the beginning of the event. They gave the best coverage. They got all my friends protesting, and you can see how they blocked the street, how they were organizing.
They got nervous police officers just standing by reading the protestors prepared texts where they were reading them their "rights" to get off the street!
They were trying to prevent the students from blocking the street.
But they didn't show the dogs though.
They got the protestors being arrested. They've got good footage of melissa and the Mecha student Chicana getting arrested.
I got the whole thing on tape.
They also got Rafael Nava, student Activist from groundwork books. He's a History Major and part of the Zapatista Liberation Front of San Diego and many other pro-underdog groups.
Claudia Llausas is the Univision reporter that covered the last Justice for Janitors Event when Ozomatli was at school at the same time that the Janitors were picketing at the Library walk and among the crowd of students there to see the Janitors and Ozomatli.
KUSI didn't even cover the event, neither did the other channels. (for pictures of that event go to http://chumitas.tripod.com/UCSDProtest/
The video I taped off the TV could work well for a documentary to juxtapose with the footage that Melissa got. I saw her on TV videotaping the protest, so i know she has it.
Anyway, I'm learning how to report things, I'm just an undergraduate Communication Student at UCSD. So bare with me. But this is the report from San Diego to the interested world about the Justice for Janitors protest Friday June 1, 2001.
go to sandiego.indymedia.org for pictures of today's event.