Social Justice event shows students’ mixed feelings on election

On the first Wednesday of the month, artists used their work to discuss injustice, U.S government and society as a whole at “Social Justice in My Life” in The Depot. Local artists sold political artwork, MCs and rappers performed spoken-word and breakdancers showed off their footwork to approximately 50 audience members.

Although election day was near, there were some who were certain they would not participate. Ceramics major, Arthur Savangsy, was one of those people. Originally attending the event as an audience member, Savangsy was swayed by the energy of the crowd and decided to hit the stage with an impromptu performance.

SF State student Sarah Rollins (right) and Jake Leminger (left) laugh while looking over Rollin’s photographs during the Social Justice in My Life event held at The Depot on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

[/media-credit] SF State student Sarah Rollins (right) and Jake Leminger (left) laugh while looking over Rollin’s photographs during the Social Justice in My Life event held at The Depot on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

While on stage, Savangsy expressed his discontent with this year’s election by announcing “we have no good candidates” in this year’s election, and encouraged audience members to take part in local activism.

“I don’t think we have good candidates,” Savangsy said. “I think a lot of freshman in this school’s political science department can do way better than them.”

Though unsatisfied with the presidential candidates, Savangsy believes that no matter the nominees, social change won’t come from those in government roles.

“It’s really an issue that we rely on a third party who doesn’t really know who we are,” Savangsy said. “It’s never going to work out this way.”

Like Savangsy, Averill Labrador, an MC from San Diego, conveyed discontent with the national election as a whole. Though Labrador would not be voting this year due to registration issues, he said he does not support either of the nominees and doubts positive change will come from the national election.

“I’m not for Trump and I wouldn’t be for Hillary either, but the thing is, no matter who gets elected, it’s still going to be the same system that we’re put under,” Labrador said. “Most of the change is going to be from the people that are in closed institutions, like local government or student government.”

Though most event participants said they strive for social change through community organizing and activism, there were some students that encouraged participating in this year’s election.

Eunice Kim, the event’s coordinator, put the event together in hopes of encouraging students to vote.

“I’m pretty much trying to get students registered and informed about different propositions that directly impact our school and our communities,” Kim said. “I decided to throw this event because I thought it would be fun and it will create some conversation before the election. Hopefully get people a little riled up to go out and vote.”

Kim also encouraged student voters to vote yes on Proposition 55 as well as Proposition W.

According to California’s voter guide, voting yes on Prop 55 would maintain the current income tax rate on couples earning over $500,000 a year and only affects the wealthiest Californians.

Averill Labrador performs during the Social Justice in My Life event held at The Depot on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

[/media-credit] Averill Labrador performs during the Social Justice in My Life event held at The Depot on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

 

“That money goes right back into the public education system and so it directly impacts us,” Kim said. “Especially as CSUs we can lose up to $250 million if we don’t vote yes on prop 55, so it’s really important for students to vote on that.”

In addition to Proposition 55, Kim advocated for Proposition W, which she said would make community college free in San Francisco.

“Less privileged people don’t have the money for private institutions or even CSUs so making it accessible is gonna be a really great change,” Kim said. “It will cause more equity in our community so it’s really important.”

Although a general consensus was never reached, each artist and audience member brought a different perspective to social change, which is ultimately what Kim hoped for when she put the event together.

“It’s really awesome that we’re all coming together, even if it’s all different sorts of art, and interests, it all connects and intertwines,” Kim said. “I think that we are all like-minded in a way that we want positive change for our society, so I would really push people and students to be inspired and be open to come to these things. Be open to having great conversations with people, and be inspired for your own life to make positive change.”

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