Fresh from an intense morning, which consisted of marching, cameras, and riot gear galore - I took a quick trip to UCLA to visit their Occupation. Within the University, the homeless population ranges from 300-400 students who must choose between school and housing. With the events as of lately with the education system and education becoming a privilege it's important college students unite to influence positive progress.
I met with the organizers, out of 40 organizers, 20-25 were homeless. It’s a sad reality we must face. Changes are influenced upon a desire for improvement; anger comes from a place of knowledge. Currently student loans debts are sold to investors, and some board members who decide the tuition costs are investment bankers who work for said investors. School loans are considered a low-risk investment because you cannot default on them, your education is nothing but a new vacation home to someone who isn't afraid to get sick in fear of the skyrocketing costs of health care; someone who watches us and thinks we're 'whining.' Your hardship, and dedication are discarded - you are a dollar sign, a number. A student loan debt can only be forgiven under extreme situations such as newly acquired disability, death or the closure of educational institution in which the student attended classes.
The students from UCLA are smart, driven and inspiring. In a campus with thousands of students, about 200 came together to discuss how they should proceed, what actions should be executed in regards to the issues they're facing. Socially-conscious, we shared information about the ‘peoples mic’ with the students. All colors, beliefs and DNAs... all proud to live in California, they are raising awareness before it's too late.
With the assistance of co-workers I spoke to them a little about media related matters and procedures, which will hopefully ease them into raw democracy and a variety of opinions and characters. Tonight they face an already schedule 'raid' by the cops at 12 AM. They are calm, confident and I wish them the best. I call to all present in the area adjacent to the grounds to come out and support them. They are located in front of the Kaufman Hall.
Author: Gia Trimble
Photography: Alexander Jarlson
(Side Note) Women were abundant!