On November 8th, 2011, GSPHE teamed up with our comrades in Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) to take on the Board of Regents and their racist policy 4.1.6. GSPHE held a rally and speak out in the courtyard of Georgia State University and proceeded to march to the Regents meeting to meet GUYA. Plans to hold a press conference were halted when the police denied our right to free speech and assembly under a false pretense that we were blocking the sidewalk (seen here).
A member of GSPHE at UGA, Juan, alongside Keish, a member of GUYA, spoke out against the ban (seen here and here respectively). They were the first outside voice to speak about the ban, ever. The ACLU’s request to speak on the issue last year was denied. But hey, the Board of Regents ‘represent’ us, right?
After the meeting concluded, GSPHE called a “mic check”, starting a People’s Assembly, the transcript of which is below.
The Regents quickly exited the meeting room as we continued our People’s Assembly. Some students sat in the Regents’ seats, others blocked the main door of the room with a banner saying “REFUSE THE BAN” to prevent the Regents members from leaving.
We then proceeded to follow the Board of Regents down the hall and we continued to chant and yell “WHEN EDUCATION IS UNDER ATTACK, WHAT DO WE DO? STAND UP FIGHT BACK!” The police then blocked us from walking further down the hallway.
At this time, the press arrived and pretended to act as if this is a neutral issue, with both sides being respectable. For the rest of us who actually understand race relations, we know there are two sides here – each on the respective side of history. One side chooses to scapegoat immigrants for a crisis they didn’t create and the other side stands in solidarity with them. The press asked Regents member Jennings “Do you have any thoughts on the presentation?” to which he responded, “not really.”
When we walked to the Capitol we held a short de-brief meeting to discuss what happened. Only 5 minutes after we all gathered and began our meeting, a Capitol Police Officer approached us and asked us to move from our meeting space even though we were on public property. Once again the Police denied our right to free speech and free assembly, showing no restraint in defending a racist system that we live in.
This fight is not over. With every strike they make against the people, we organize, grow and resist. Georgia Students, stand up!
MIC CHECK! Attention concerned peoples and community members of the University System of Georgia! We, the students, call for a PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY for an immediate discussion of the assault on higher education! USG policy 4.1.6 is a blatant attack on immigrant youth in Georgia – immigrant youth who have been denied any place in our society, and are denied any opportunity of a decent future! We demand an immediate lifting of the ban!
EDUCATION NOT DEPORTATION!
EDUCATION NOT DEPORTATION!
The Board of Regents continue to increase our fees and raise tuition – tuition has increased 49% and fees have increased 87% since 2007 – at the same time university presidents and the Chancellor continue to make six figure salaries on the backs of WORKING CLASS STUDENTS!!
The Board of Regents is composed of corporate CEOS, bankers, and politicians – hardly any of the board members have experience in education! We demand democratic decision-making power by the students. Faculty, and workers!