Low attendance at Day of Action rally leaves demonstrators worried

Day of Action

A Group of SF State students walk toward the State building to join the rally on Mar. 1, 2012. Photo by Hang Cheng.

About a hundred protesters, including students, teachers and members of Occupy SF, gathered at the California State building before 3 p.m. in support of the Day of Action for Education.

Participants wanted to bring awareness to the lack of funding for education, but were disappointed more people did not participate.

Protesters held different signs with messages against cuts to education and chanted “we are the 99 percent,” as they waited for others to join their cause.

SF State student Daniel Adel, who is studying Environmental Studies, said the lack of students was underwhelming.

“I was expecting a bigger turnout but I’m impressed with the people who actually came out,” Adel said.

Adel said he desired more awareness regarding the struggle for funding for public education, noting that more attention could be gained at the campus level.

American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, Service Employees International Union Local 87 and United Educators of San Francisco were some of the other organizations that also came to show support.

Ana Chavez Fisher, professor of Early Childhood Development at the City College of San Francisco, arrived at the California State building with the AFT Local 2121 after the walkout and rally at CCSF where she said nearly 200 students participated.

“What we plan to achieve is to get full funding for education,” Chavez Fisher said. “We have a lot of support from the students and from the community.”

Laborers from the SEIU Local 87 said they were there as part of the 99 percent. They wanted to show support for education as well as raise awareness of issues surrounding unemployment.

“Hopefully they can listen to us,” said Juan Avila who was there with SEIU Local 87. “We deserve better than what we have right now.”

As over 50 supporters began to enter the California State building for the teach-in, nearly 40 stayed outside and continued to rally.

Students from SF State and CCSF expressed concerned about the low turnout at the rallies at school and the teach-in.

“There needs to be more people here because it’s for everybody,” said Joel Zabanal, a student at CCSF. “It’s not just for education, it’s for the future–the kids in the future.”

Meanwhile, the teach-in began inside of the California State building where over 50 people sat and listened to students, teachers, and other supporters. People spoke about their individual struggles with the cuts on education and spoke on what they expect from today.

Kathe Burick, a dance teacher at CCSF, spoke before she danced and sang “Time to Tax the Rich” to the tune of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Irving Berlin.

“I feel like it’s personally empowering for the people who show up and hopefully the more visible we make ourselves the more we’ll be listened to,” said Burick. “It’s like occupying our own future.”

After the the teach-in, some supporters walked over to City Hall where a rally was taking place for the Day of Action.

March 1

Members of the local Service Employee International Union join the rally outside of the State building, Mar, 1. 2012. Photo by Hang Cheng

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