Marching for education: Rio rallies in NorCal

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Rio Hondo students chanting “No cuts, no fees, education should be free” during the annual March in March protest at the Capitol Building in Sacramento, Calif.

The Associated Students of Rio Hondo College (ASRHC) and the Student Life & Leadership Department participated in “March in March” on Monday, March 3 in Sacramento to rally and march to the state capital to discuss important issues impacting college access to all students.

The event was free to Rio Hondo students, and the ASRHC and Student Life & Leadership Department sponsored up to 45 students who departed on a Charter Bus to attend the informative rally.

The ASRHC also selected three students who met with legislators to advocate for student issues on access and college success: ASRHC President Valeria Guerrero, ASRHC Vice President Christopher Santana, and ASRHC Senator for Legislative Affairs Cesar Flores.

Both students and staff met in parking lot two at 11 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, and headed up north on a bus to discuss important issues impacting college access and success.

The student Senate of California Community Colleges (SSCCC) has been organizing this event for many years, and the ASRHC has a delegate in Region VIII of SSCCC.

Students were advised to wear comfortable clothes and closed toe shoes and to bring spending money for their food.

Snacks and water were provided for the trip and most students slept while the charter bus drove through the night, arriving at around 6:30 a.m. and stopping at a local Denny’s for breakfast.

At around 8 a.m., the charter bus arrived at the Raley Field parking lot where community college students gathered and attended mini workshops prepared for students to discussed legislative issues.

Students from all over the state came with a mass amount of protest picket signs and posters.

Several booths were set up with information and motivational speakers shared their insights on what was to coe during the march.

Once students were informed on what issues had to be brought to the Capitol, the march began at 10 a.m. and thousands of students crossed the Tower Bridge with megaphones and flyers in hand. “No cuts, no fees, education should be free,” was one of the many chants that echoed in the streets of Sacramento.

Photographers ran with the marching students to capture a historical event that implemented the voice of community college students. The streets were closed down and police officers lined up along the roads to enforce security during the protest.

Once the students and advisors arrived at the Capitol, speakers from different community colleges spoke and shared their experiences.

(ASRHC) and the Student Life & Leadership Department walked their way to the front to show their support and represent the voices unable to attend the event. By noon, the march and protest ended and students as well as faculty had to regroup following a quick lunch, to arrive at Rio Hondo College at 11 p.m.

According to Rio Hondo College Superintendent and President Teresa Dreyfuss, “The College supports these students’ efforts 100 percent.”

According to Rio Hondo officials, “The ‘March in March,’ began in 2007 and is organized by the Student Senate for California Community Colleges,” (It) is designed to support student leaders by engaging in legislative visits to advocate for or against bills that affect community college students statewide while empowering them with the tools they need to effectively let their voices be heard by their representatives in the State Senate and Assembly.

They continued by saying, “While Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a state budget that will restore funds to the community college system, advocating for students’ rights should be at the forefront of any college.”