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Monday, April 11, 2011

Hands Across California: What Will Our Legacy Be?

In the late 1700's, men from thirteen relatively powerless colonies joined together and stood up for their rights as American citizens, breaking free from the British tyranny under which they lived. All of Great Britain was against them, as were many Americans who remained loyal to the Crown. Hundreds--thousands--of men laid down their lives for what they believed in, despite countless naysayers telling them their cause was hopeless; that it wouldn't change a thing. What would have happened to our country if those men hadn't stood fast and continued fighting for freedom in the face of what appeared at the time to be complete and utter defeat?

We wouldn't have the country we have today. We wouldn't be enjoying the freedoms we have today. We wouldn't be the country we are today.


In the late 1800's, women banded together as Suffragettes and fought for women's rights. They demanded equality among both sexes and held that women were just as competent as men to perform vital roles in society. Despite widespread social opposition--both from men and other women, insisting these Suffragettes were making spectacles of themselves and shaming their families--they held firm and eventually won us the rights we enjoy as women today. Some of these women sacrificed lives of luxury and wealth to join the fight; others were thrown in jail; some were cast out by their loved ones unless they agreed to give up that 'nonsense'. What would have happened if these women ran back to their kitchens with their tails tucked between their legs, accepting that nothing could change? That this would be their way of life now and forever?

Women wouldn't be able to help shape the world and society in which we live. We certainly wouldn't be able to vote, attend college, or speak on any issue in a public forum. Our country would have missed out on some of the greatest historical figures of our past and present.


In the 1950', one voice spoke out against racial segregation. He claimed that all men were created equal, regardless of the color of their skin. His voice sparked a Civil Rights movement that swept the nation and inspired thousands of African Americans to stand up for their rights as American citizens. Despite the hardships they faced--including the devastating assassination of their leader, that one solitary voice that first spoke out, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--these people did not back down and continued to fight for what was rightfully theirs. Would would have happen if the death of Dr. King brought the Civil Rights movement to a standstill?

Our country could possibly still be living in a racially segregated social state, where people are judged and treated according to the color of their skin. In some parts of our country, this does still happen. However thanks to these people who stood their ground more than fifty years ago, we have grown in leaps and bounds to be more accepting of people despite our differences.


What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Let our era be known for the Education movement. Let our children's children admire us for the stand we made against the budget cuts that threatened to destroy the rights we, as students, have to higher education regardless of our income. Let them know that if it weren't for us, California Community Colleges would have been relegated to history books as a brief blip on the historical radar; that they cut down one dollar at a time until these institutions were non-existent so politicians could dig the state out of the debt they'd created. There are hundreds of people who think our cause is lost and that we will accomplish nothing except make fools of ourselves and waste our time. Stand up despite this negativity and prove to our state that we're not weak or afraid to fight for our education.

If you believe that you deserve affordable education--and that future generations deserve it as well--then act on those words and those beliefs! Join us on April 17th in Hands Across California. Visit HAC's website to sign up and reserve your spot in line. Donate to FCCC's Scholarship Endowment to ensure that students will have access to the financial means to pursue their higher education.

The state may not take notice of our words by themselves, by it will note the actions we take to support our words.

Stand up for California Community Colleges.

Fight for our education. Fight for our future.

1 comment:

  1. good work you're doing mj - keep it up - affordable education seems to be a thing of the past here in the nyc area, it's incredible

    at our school (manhattan college), tuition is creeping in on $42,000 - ridiculous if you ask me. and the students see how much of that? they're mandated to pay a recreation fee whether or not they even recreate?!?

    it's bullshit, but keep fighting