San Diego City College students walkout alongside faculty from the Chicano Studies department in support of the people of Palestine to Curran Plaza, Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Photo by Susana Serrano/City Times Media
San Diego City College students walkout alongside faculty from the Chicano Studies department in support of the people of Palestine to Curran Plaza, Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Photo by Susana Serrano/City Times Media

City College students, faculty among ‘peaceful’ protesters at campus walkout (with video and gallery)

Approximately 100 protestors marched in solidarity with the people of Palestine

Approximately 100 protesters, including San Diego City College students, faculty and staff, walked out in solidarity with the people of Palestine in what was described by police as a peaceful protest May 7.

“’The elimination of the Palestinian people is not inevitable,’” said Chicano/a Studies professor América Martinez, quoting Palestinian poet Rasha Abdulhadi, while speaking to protestors at the San Diego City College Student Walkout. “’We can refuse with our very breath.’”

Protesters followed a circuitous route through City College, beginning at Curran Plaza, moving to the MS building quad before stopping at the offices of President Ricky Shabazz and Student Affairs.

The goal was to deliver a petition signed by dozens of students asking City College to stop serving Starbucks products.  

“We’re just trying to bring awareness to what’s going on and we definitely want to bring it to the president’s attention,” said Chicano/a/x Studies student Georgina Ramirez to Itza Vilaboy, administrative assistant to Dean of Student Affairs. “But we also wanna go to (the Office of Student Affairs) as well.”

Follow the walkout as the story developed. Scroll down to read live updates by the staff of City Times Media.

Sargeant L.W. Porter, who was one of the San Diego Community College District police officers present throughout the protest, said he followed protestors to ensure there were no counter-protesters, no property damage and no crimes committed.

“We just want to make sure it’s a nice, peaceful protest, which it was,” Porter said.

The walkout came as students at colleges across the U.S. hold walkouts, protests and encampments, urging administrators to divest from companies that support Israel.

The protest, organized by City College students involved with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, reached out to other clubs on campus, including Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan and Muslim Student Association, as well as faculty members to support.

The organizers also appealed to the City College community to treat the unhoused community with respect and acknowledge their rightful place in the neighborhood. Organizers also urged attendees to wear masks as a way to protect “the most vulnerable in our community.”

Update write-thru, May 7, 7 p.m.: This story has been updated with details from the walkout, as well as interviews with SDCCD police and a photo gallery.

Update, May 7, 1:15 p.m.: Video news story added

Correction: An earlier version of this story has been corrected to attribute América Martinez’s quote to Palestinian poet Rahsa Abdulhadi. City Times regrets the error.


2:10 p.m., by Nadia Lavin and Keila Menjivar Zamora 

In efforts to give administration their signed petitions, students make their way from Shabazz’ office to the student affairs building.

Administrative Assistant Itza Vilaboy, came out to speak with two event organizers about the petition they were trying to get delivered to administration.

The event organizers informed Vilaboy they would deliver copies of the petition to administrators.

Organizers urged protesters to boycott U.S. products for the rest of the day to protest U.S. tax dollars being sent to Israel.

The crowd dispersed at 2:17 p.m.

1:58 p.m., by Nadia Lavin

The march moved up to City College President Shabazz’ office in the 3rd floor of the A building.

Campus police, who arrived at both ends of the office hallway entrances, advised students that Shabazz was not in his office.

1:28 p.m., by Marco Guajardo, Keila Menjivar Zamora, Nadia Lavin and Bailey Kohnen

Click on image to see a gallery of this update

Organizers announced to protesters of the march moving to the A building terrace where they thought a transfer fair was being held with the district chancellor attending.

The protest instead arrived at the campus Health and Wellness Fair with no chancellor present.

Speakers made a last-call for the Starbucks-ban petition to be signed to be delivered to City College President Ricky Shabazz’ office.

1:14 p.m., by Nadia Lavin, Bailey Kohnen, Susana Serrano, Keila Menjivar Zamora

Click on image to see a gallery of this update

SDPD cars lined up in the center of 16th street by the MS-building to patrol the protest.

Protesters responded by directing chants at the police observing in the vicinity.

SDCCD followed the march on foot, arriving from every direction to stand behind the protester.

The crowd continued chanting pro-Palestine slogans.

1:06 p.m., by Keila Menjivar

An hour after the walkout started, the protest left Curran Plaza and marched through the southeast side of campus to the MS building quad.

The MS building contains the campus cafe-convenience store that sells Starbucks products on campus, which organizers are attempting to ban from City College.

1:00 p.m., by Bailey Kohnen, Keila Menjivar Zamora, Marco Guajardo

Click on image to see a gallery of this update

In addition to chanting and giving speeches as a way of being heard, students wrote messages of solidarity and protest on the Curran Plaza walkway in chalk as another dimension of the protest action.

12:49 p.m., by Marco Guajardo 

History student Kelly Ports signs a petition circulating the solidarity walkout at San Diego City College. The petition aimes to get Starbucks products off campus and introduce a new coffee shop on campus in support of the people in Gaza, Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Photo by Marco Guajardo/City Times Media

As announced in the event flier, speakers called on San Diego City College to halt Starbucks products on campus. 

“No money for apartheid,” the flyer said.

An event speaker announced a petition to be circulated around the crowd for the boycott, which attendees signed and passed around.

12:35 p.m., by Vince Outlaw and Keila Menjivar

Click on image to see a gallery of this update

An agitator who claimed to be a Jewish American began shouting against the points a speaker was making, saying, “That’s not true.”

Two SDCCD police officers approached him and the three walked away from the crowd.

Police officers were surrounding the vicinity of the event keeping watch.

Earlier in the day officers confirmed to City Times they were aware of the walkout and made sure to be present.

12:25 p.m., by Marco Guajardo

Student protesters at the San Diego City College Walkout hang a free Gaza sign while police campus police tell them to get down and be safe, Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Photo by Marco Guajardo/City Times Media

Walkout organizers and attendees talked among themselves during event speeches, about an upcoming banner-drop over the Curran Plaza bridge.

When four protesters jumped on the bridge, SDCCD police attempted to get the protesters off the bridge, citing their safety.

As two of the protesters finished hanging the black banner that read “FREE GAZA,” the police officers retreated and the protesters climbed off the bridge.

12:21 p.m., by Nadia Lavin and Marco Guajardo

Student Sofia Hill, bottom center, writes ‘END THE APARTHEID’ in chalk on the pavement, while Chicano/a Studies Professor América Martinez, top center, speaks to the Palestine Solidarity Walkout crowd through a microphone at San Diego City College’s Curran Plaza, Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Photo by Nadia Lavin/City Times Media

Students and faculty continue to address the crowd, chanting against Israeli actions in Gaza and speaking about the history of occupation in Palestine.

Attendees at the walkout, which include faculty, various student clubs and passersby, are saying the event was promoted through word of mouth through various digital channels.

Approximately 70 people attended the rally at this point.

12:19 p.m., by Marco Guajardo

Star Olmos speaks at the San Diego City College Student Walkout, Tuesday, May 7, 2024. The walkout called for justice in Gaza, solidarity with university student encampments and divestment from Israel. Photo by Marco Guajardo/City Times Media

Star Olmos, a walkout organizer, talks to the crowd about the shutdown of the UCSD divestment encampment and calls for solidarity with UCSD students and for them to be released.

The crackdown coincided with the start of Israel’s military incursion into Rafah in Gaza and Holocaust Remembrance Day, according to the speaker.


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