I am a freshman at California State University, Fresno. On March 4, 2010, I joined hundreds of other people in a march to advocate for better higher education and stop the budget cuts in our state. None of my friends went, but still, I went with the crowd and I got on the bus that took us to the march location. Immediately, I was asked to help make signs, which made me feel empowered, as if I were part of this important movement.
Not knowing what was going to happen, I knew that the people I marched with were not going to let anything get in our way. This made me feel safe as we marched from the corner of Blackstone and Shaw Avenues to our campus. We walked for about forty-five minutes, under the sun and clouds while enduring the breeze that came our way. Some drivers honked at us along the way while others stared in amazement. While most of the marchers were students, it also included university staff and even parents who joined in the cause.
Being part of this impacts my life since without higher education I would not know where to turn. My mother is a Hmong refugee and she has high hopes for me. There are times when I see her so upset and stressed that she wants to leave this world behind to be with my father, who passed away a few years ago. I feel like my siblings and I have disappointed her because none of her sons can make her satisfied up to the point where she can tell the world that she has a son who is done with college and has obtained a degree.
But no matter the consequences, I know this fight to stop the budget cuts on education is not going to be an easy road. Regardless of what may come, there are people who are willing to support me.
This was my first time being part of a large demonstration. It made me feel motivated and involved with my campus community. Just seeing all the faces and feeling the positive energy got me all pumped up. The time has come for us as the students, the staff, and the faculty members to take a stand and strive for our rights.
We came together along with other university campuses throughout California to mark this day as a day of action, and to declare that students and staff united will never be divided.