Walkouts, student strikes, and marches shook every level of California's embattled public education system yesterday. University of California students blocked access to campus entrances at Berkeley and Santa Cruz while college kids joined forces with K-12 students and teachers in Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. In Oakland and Sacramento, hundreds of marchers confronted police after taking their protests onto the freeways. Numerous concurrent rallies numbered in the thousands.
The call for action against crippling state budget cuts coupled with tuition hikes was echoed by students and teachers in 32 states coast to coast.
These videos, all shot yesterday, offer a sense of the stakes at hand and the passions in play.
Rally in Sacramento
UC- San Diego
Rally in Pershing Square, LA
Reports from coast to coast are still coming in, but it's clear that the March 4 Day of Action saw a major turnout of students opposing budget cuts and tuition hikes who just may represent a rising new movement mobilizing on behalf of its own threatened interests.
Dozens of campuses have reported rallies and actions, teach-ins, and other events. California is clearly leading the way, reports the studentactivist.net, as it has since this movement began to bubble up last semester.
The biggest, best-organized, and most dramatic actions reported so far are all happening in the Golden State. In part that's a reflection of the depth of the crisis facing California higher education, but it's also a reflection of the head start that California campuses have on the rest of the country. Almost every campus reporting huge demonstrations today has seen multiple rallies and protests over the last few months.
Johnson's blog is one of a number of excellent places to keep up with the protests and where the movement goes from here. Also see the March4 site for ways to help beyond today's protests. For anyone on Twitter you can find constant updates and links by searching for the hashtag #march4. And please check back in this space in the morning where I'll post an update on what happened today with select videos and links.