In one of the largest campus-based demonstrations in recent memory, UCR students, faculty, and staff joined together to protest tuition hikes and the budget cuts that are prompting furloughs and bad-faith bargaining with UC workers' unions.
The event was scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM, but students and others were already out on the picket line, spreading their message to passersby well before then.
Unions such as the Coalition of University Employees (CUE) and the University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) had a strong presence, and other labor formations such as AFSCME, LiUNA, UAW, and the Warehouse Workers United backed them up in the spirit of solidarity.
Members of student groups gave their testimonials about how the tuition hikes were going to affect them and their families. They also expressed concerns about the growing trend of privatization of public education, which places quality higher education out of the reach of working class people and people of color.
Even the chancellor spoke, expressing his disapproval of the divestment in education. He emphasized the hard work of his colleagues, particularly the workers in the financial aid office whose job is becoming all the more difficult.
A local community activist and member of the coordinating committee for this Saturday's rally against hate, planned in response to an attack by the Nazi National Socialist Movement on the county's Jews and immigrants, invited all those present to the event.
Cold water, a welcome respite from the day's heat, was given away and snacks were shared. Participants listened to speeches, milled around, signed petitions, and passed out flyers for upcoming events.
By three o'clock the rally had essentially finished, but the resolve of those present to continue fighting for public education and workers' rights lives on in our daily struggles for social justice and equality.
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