The California Teacher’s Association (CTA) has declared a “state of emergency” for public education.
Rallies and sit-ins in five cities across California are to begin today, May 9. Demonstrators from all over California are mobilizing to the state capitol to kick off the week of action with a sit-in. The CTA is demanding that lawmakers pass tax extensions to stave off deeper cuts to public education.
Buses carrying students from UCSC are leaving for Sacramento at 7am this morning. City on a Hill Press is on board and will be providing updates from the state capitol throughout the day.
7:52 p.m. 5/9/2011
Police are arresting the remaining protestors. Around 20 including UCSC students have already been taken into custody and handcuffed with zip ties. The other 40 have created a circle and are singing the national anthem. Police continue to arrest protestors one by one.
6:54 p.m. 5/9/2011
At 5 P.M. around 200 activists came together and chanted around the lower rotunda of the capitol building. Their messages included the chants “Tax tax tax the rich we can stop the deficit,” and “bail out the schools not the banks.”
Most of the activists left the building at 6 P.M. when the CTA’s permit for the rotunda expired, but around 60 remained and took seats on the floor as cops armed with pepper spray looked on.
City on a Hill Press will be publishing a recap of the day’s events later this evening. -Laurel Fujii
3:41 p.m. 5/9/2011
Approximately 70 California Teachers Association members and students from across California are currently occupying the capitol building. Some told City on a Hill they believe a tax re-format would help balance the budget.
“We need to change our tax structure where corporations and the rich are justly taxed,” said kindergarten teacher Jessica Hobbs from San Francisco.
While students and teachers gathered in the rotunda inside the capitol building, police blocked off access to prevent more activists from entering. A few hundred more demonstrators remain outside.
Students also skipped class for this opportunity. “My teacher told me if I skipped class today I’d get a C in the class,” UCSC first year Adam Odsess-Rubin said.
Odsess-Rubin said he doesn’t believe this was the appropriate response.
“Students shouldn’t be punished for being politically active and fighting for their education,” Odess-Rubin said. -Laurel Fujii
2:15 p.m. 5/9/2011
UCSC students who showed up for the day of action were told to vacate the grass in front of the capitol building by California Highway Patrol, because another group had a permit for the lawn and steps. Student activist Leo Rtiz-Barr was upset that the foster care program did not act in solidarity with the protestors.
“It’s a little disheartening to see the foster kids organizer…not stand up for college students.” Ritz-Barr said.
UCSC students are now waiting on the sidewalk for more CTA members and demonstrators to arrive. Three buses from the bay area are expected.
As of this post, demonstrators had just entered the capitol building. CHP reporters will provide updates on the situation inside. -Laurel Fujii
12:08 p.m. 5/9/2011
Protesters dressed in the all pink uniforms of the anti-war group code pink line the street in front of the capitol building holding signs with messages like “tax the rich.” Activists hand out flyers promoting the occupation of the capitol as school children roam the steps. More groups are expected to arrive within the hour. -Laurel Fujii