Student rally draws attention to social injustices

Associated Students, Inc.’s Project Connect organized a SPEAK OUT rally Tuesday at noon in front of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

The rally was organized to allow student organizations to speak out about various social issues, according to Project Connect intern Lashawnda Rainey, 21.

“This event was inspiring for students, because it gives them an outlet to touch on certain issues,” Rainey said. “It gives students the opportunity to voice their concerns about social injustice.”

De Mareon Gipson, 23, africana and business studies major shares a poem from his book "Looking Forward" at the 'Speak Out' student rally in the Cesar Chavez Quad Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (Angelica Ekeke / Xpress)

De Mareon Gipson, 23, africana and business studies major shares a poem from his book “Looking Forward” at the ‘Speak Out’ student rally in the Cesar Chavez Quad Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (Angelica Ekeke / Xpress)

Student organizations – including the League of Filipino Students, Pacific Islanders Club, the Black Student Union and the Environmentally Concerned Organization of Students – gathered in the middle of the Cesar Chavez Student Center and rallied against police brutality, gentrification, immigration and environmental issues.

LFS Chairman Jordan Ilagan, 22, said the rally was important to bring attention to past issues that still affect people of color today.

“Filipino people are constantly getting pushed off their land because of corporate greed and imperialism,” Ilagan said. “We as students must unite, mobilize and organize against these issues.”

When a student began shouting the phrase “Love, live, international solidarity,” the crowd joined in, chanting the phrase louder and louder.

BSU member DeMareon Gipson, 23, read a poem from his book “Looking Forward” during the spoken word segment of the rally. He said his poem was written to draw attention to the importance of education and self-empowerment.

PIC student outreach coordinator Spencer Pulu, 23, performed his interpretive dance “Black vs. Blue,” to end the SPEAK OUT rally. His dance emphasized the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” slogan in support of action against police brutality.

“Project Connect put this rally on, because we thought it would give students a chance to speak out on problems affecting not only our campus community, but also the communities we are a part of,” Project Connect Intern Gabriela Ochoa, 19, said. “This event allows the students to educate others on the social issues and different movements we are trying to spread awareness about in order to make sure action is done.”

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