Long Beach City College president Eloy Oakley
Nearly 200 students, community activists and labor union members marched from the Pacific Coast Campus of Long Beach City College all the way to City Hall Wednesday in an effort to inform the community about a student-led recall of four trustees in the wake of several vocational and trade programs being discontinued at the start of the year.
Before making the almost three-mile trek to Downtown, the mass of people gathered on the main quad outside the Student Union building where they received instruction of the march route, copies of an article recently published detailing the plight of the trade programs at the school and signs with slogans saying "Don’t tread on me or my education" and "students unite."
David Root, a representative of the LBCC trades being cut, barked the details over a megaphone and shared his own feelings over the cancellation of the 11 trade programs during a mini-rally before the march began.
“This college right here was built for the vets,” Root said. “It was built for vets returning home from World War II that needed training to go back into the work force. Them closing this down…and I’m a vet myself…basically what they’re doing is slapping me in the face. They’re disrespecting me and disrespecting my country when they shut down programs that were built for people like us.”
Four motorcycle patrol officers provided an escort to make sure the protesters crossed streets safely and remained out of harm’s way. On the ground, people chanted “save our trades” and handed out flyers to businesses along the protest route and to people stopped at lights to spread the word about the recall. And in the air, a banner-toting airplane--at a cost of $500 an hour--flew with a message that read “Save LBCC Trades-Recall Board of Trustees Now” in tow.
“I thought it would be poetic to have an airplane flying around when our aviation program is being cut,” said Student Trustee Jason Troia, who publicly called for the board member recall last week and also organized the protest march.