March to Sacramento begins

BJ Grieve

With sleep still in their eyes, marchers slowly started filtering on campus at 6:00 a.m. It didn’t take very much time for them to get fired up and start the cheering and the chants.

March 5 kicked off the beginning of the 48 day, 400 mile “March for California’s Future.” Three J4500 passenger buses sat idly by on Russ Boulevard, waiting for the roughly 200 protesters to begin their sojourn to Sacramento.

The buses took students, faculty and community members up to Los Angeles, where a day of rallying began. The group continued to Bakersfield to a estimated 1,000 person rally and a barbeque in Martin Luther King Park.

Jim Miller, English and Labor Studies Professor at City College, was a key member who will complete the entire journey. Miller’s wife Kelly Mayhew, and five year old son, Walt, will be joining him for a portion of the trip.

Prayers and cheers were offered in support of Miller and his family, and SDCCD Board of Trustees Member Peter Zschiesche sent Miller off with plenty of backing.

“We salute what you do,” Zschiesche said. “Marching is part of American history and protesting is part of American history and this is what makes justice a part of American history.”

“You are going to be the front line today in LA,” Zschiesche said. “This is the beginning day of a long journey.”

The core group will be joined by Zschiesche and Board of Trustees member Rich Grosch in Bakersfield on their trip up through Central Valley. Along the way, Miller anticipates being joined by members of different unions and schools, and hopes the group will number 10,000 by the time they reach their destination.

Miller said he is confident about his journey. “They’re accustomed to rallies, but nobody had done a march like this in California for 30 years,” Miller explained. “We’re hoping this is a spark.”

City College counselor Edwin Heil shares Miller’s passion, joining in on the seven week trek. Heil said he is concerned the long term effects of the budget cuts are not being considered.

“I sit with a lot of students who dare to dream, who aspire to be,” Heil said. “To put it all on the shoulders of youth today and future generations is just not right.”

“There’s gotta be a more equitable distribution of the sacrifices that are made,” Heil added.

Jeffrey Karahamuheto agrees with Heil, and he is infuriated. A student at City for the last three years, Karamuheto has slowly felt the dramatic effects of the budget cuts over the last several semesters.

“Arnold needs this,” Karamuheto said. “I had to fight against other students to get (a class). It’s just not a proper learning environment.”

“This is a shot in the arm, but it’s not enough,” addedKarahamuheto.

Miller said he has these concerns in the back of his head as well, but he added that his reserve cannot be shaken.

“We’re not naive enough to think that one march is gonna do it,””Miller said. “What we’re hoping is. this will be a sustained way to change the narrative about funding and education.”