March for change

Students heading to the Capitol

If you want something done right, you should do it yourself.

In recent years, Congress has shown a trend of stagnation as result of political party gridlock and unfavorable agendas. It’s official: the 113th Congress in 2014 has been dubbed the least productive in modern history, and community college students are fed up.

On Monday, March 2, students from all 112 of California’s community colleges will rally on the steps of the Sacramento Capital building as they network with other hopeful social-justice pioneers and learn how to lobby with California legislatures. Known as “March in March,” the traditional parade to the capital is taking on a new strategy this year.

For several years, “March in March” has been generalized as a day where over-zealous college students scream catchy chants as they unite as a single entity and march to the capital to protest their grievances over misrepresentation from their state legislatures. Each year, the momentum arises from various themes: from 90 unit cap restraints to reducing budgets for educational programs, community college students use “March in March” as a symbolic gesture to show the State that students’ potential shouldn’t be limited by the regulations brought forth.

In recent years, legislatures have avoided being in their offices during “March in March” and would retreat from their offices to avoid confrontation from thousands of students parading on their steps. As a result, the year 2015 marks the year of new strategy. To bridge the gap from community college students and legislatures, the improved “March in March” will be a weekend of lobbying and effective communication.

During the weekend before March 2, students have the option to pay a $60 registration fee and attend conferences and luncheons where legislatures will be open to hear their grievances.  On the day of, rather than a collective energy forming upon the steps of the state capital, students will collaborate by setting up various booths around the Capital square as chosen student speakers use motivational rhetoric to speak on social justice topics, ranging from LGBT and minority rights to student liberties. Student leaders from the Student Senate for Community Colleges (SSCCC) will also provide information about proper lobbying etiquette and strategy.

The rally, free to all students, has inspired schools across the state to provide busses for their constituents. Diablo Valley College Associated Students has offered to share their bus with LMC students and will pick up students at Los Medanos College early Monday morning. The only cost? A signed code-of-conduct form and an open mind.