Students from different CSU locations demanded changes and ideas on how to accomplish them
Hosted on Zoom Fri., Nov. 13 by Faith Garcia from California State University San Marcos, SQE held a statewide abolitionist meeting.
The meeting consisted of 65 students from different locations within the CSU system. The meeting began by going over the Key Principles of Freire to discuss popular education, including learning from social realities to make actual change, the importance of respect and dialogue and actually committing to change.
Adela Gutierrez-Diaz, a CSU student leader, expressed the need to be aware of an injustice and the call to action.
“Start with issues that carry fear, anger, sorrow, hope,” said Gutierrez-Diaz.
The discussion examined how to build a new future, to make a difference and accept that emotions will come into play. For this reason, dialogue is even more important and needs to stay open and available.
“Everyone can learn from each other,” Gutierrez-Diaz said. “Folks have different perspectives rather than more knowledge.”
Students should search for solutions considering both fact and emotion, as well as reflecting on what had occurred and what could be learned and made better.
“Use what you learn to change the world because we truly have no choice at this point,” Gutierrez-Diaz said.
The discussion began with things students had seen from police within their own lives, or through others, and why they hated them.
They shared instances of mistreatment of the LGBTQ+ community, watching family being unfairly treated or killed, or the way police profile and target communities differently.
“They treat people like they’re straight up above everyone,” said Andy Aleman-Alvarez from CSU Los Angeles.
This led to other issues, such as problems within their own communities. Many expressed homelessness as a main problem. Arcata and the HSU community also consistently struggle with homelessness.
Students mentioned getting School Resource Officer’s out of schools, the access to healthcare and its expenses, prison and unfair treatment, and student debt.
“I already have debt for my graduate degree,” said Silvia Angulo from CSU Los Angeles.
Students were not just speaking about issues but finding ways to address problems and plan to do something about it, talking specifically about the risks associated with being outspoken.
“You need to be willing to lose something,” said Louise Barros from CSU Stanislaus.
Reforming institutions founded on white supremacy was a heavily discussed topic. The goal moving forward is creating alternative systems and finding other ways for the people to do it themselves.
“Power can come from all of us supporting one another,” said Nia de Jesus from CSU Stanislaus.
Led again by Guterriez-Diaz, students engaged in group grounding exercises to calm down after the discussion. Instructed to put their feet on the ground, relax their jaw. loosen their shoulders and breathe in peace, breathe out justice.
“These conversations can make you very tense very fast,” Guterriez-Diaz said.
After the grounding exercise, three breakout rooms were created where students could reach out to the Campus Contact, CSU Board of Trustees or State and Local Governments. Contact information and scripts were provided to aid students, as well as access to graphics that could be posted on their social media.