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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism
Photos and Update from Day 4 of the Fast 4 Education
The fasters entered their 4th day today and were expecting further harrassment by City of Oakland officials, but were pleasantly surprised by their silence. Most of this probably has to do with community pressure exerted on city officials about harrassing the fasters for being at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Fasters spent most of the day trying to develop routines of drinking fluids and going to the bathroom. They also spoke to many different media people, relaxed, read, and one faster even attended her Ethnic Studies class on the grass in Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Dolores Huerta came by around 1:30 and spent some time encouraging the fasters and sharing her much needed animo to keep their spirits up and remind them that they can win their demands if they stick strong. Dolores also led a decent sized crowd of Fast 4 Education organizers and supporters in chanting "vivas"; and reminded everyone of the history of access to education in the United States and why it is so important to try to fix the funding priorities of the state of California.
The day ended with the fasters sharing words with a crowd of supporters at 8pm at the nightly candlelight vigil, and the crowd ended the vigil clapping in unison and chanting "Si se puede!!". Reminding the fasters and each other that together we can save our schools and fix the problems facing our state's youth as equal educational opportunities are continuely devalued by politicians like
For more information on how to get involved and how to help the fasters go to - http://www.indybay.org/news/2004/05/1680664.php
Every night there will be a candlelight vigil at 8pm at Frank Ogawa Plaza, until the fasters win their demands, or decide to move to Sacramento or another location.
Saturday May 15th from 12pm til 8pm their will be a Rally for Education. With music and inspiration provided by many different local artists and groups, and plenty of dancing.
For more info visit the March 4 Education website -
Laura Perez, a professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, decided to bring her class out to Frank Ogawa Plaza today, so Karina(one of the fasters)could attend. Laura is one of many amazing professors in the department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, and was really supportive of the hunger strike that students held to save the department from politically motivated budget cuts in 1999.
Cesar Cruz is one of the organizers of the March 4 Education, and is currently one of the people fasting in the Fast 4 Education. for more background on Cesar go to:
Dolores spent some time talking to the media about the history of access to education in the United States, and why it is so important to support the struggle of the fasters for better educational funding and an equal education.
In the background are 4 of the fasters, from left to right they are: Thomas Prather, a 4th grade teacher in the West Contra Costa School District; Wendy González, a 3rd grade bilingual teacher in the West Contra Costa School District; Jessica Vasquez, a 3rd year student at UC Berkeley; and Fred Jackson, an African-American elder and community organizer that led sit-in protests in the 60s.
After continuing to harrass the fasters for the last 3 days City of Oakland Officials, the City Manager and one of the Mayor's aides, listened attentively to Dolores Huerta today. It is almost certain that the City of Oakland will stop harrassing the fasters as much, as Dolores and Jerry Brown are old friends, and her visit created some space for the organizers of the Fast 4 Education to begin to have a better relationship with City of Oakland officials.
After hearing a little bit from the City of Oakland officials, Dolores Huerta proposed that the City of Oakland could somehow support the fasters in moving the Fast 4 Education to Sacramento soon.
The vigil was attended by many people who were not able to make it out to join the fasters before tonight, and was a chance for the fasters and organizers to share words and requests for more help with the crowd. The crowd also chanted "Si se puede!!" at times and finished with a solidarity clap.
A candlelight vigil will be held everynight at 8pm at Frank Ogawa Plaza, until the fasters achieve their demands, or move to Sacramento.
Just an odd banner hanging from a building in Frank Ogawa Plaza that causes you to stop and wonder how the city is able to both celebrate community action, and also harrass people are engaged in. Hopefully they have now finished trying to harrass the fasters and will now find some way to support them in their struggle.