The CUNY Protest
By Jayvon Shabazz
One of our signs
The preparation for the protest started on the closed entrance of City Tech on Jay Street and Tillary. Students, teachers, and, of course, I myself showed up. We all shook hands and got to know each other a little, and then we put on two stickers related to the protest. We also put on signs, some small, others huge, which read “No Cuts to CUNY” or “Invest in CUNY/Invest in NEW YORK.” We then walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, which was a very exciting experience because this was my first time walking across any city bridge. The view of the city and the weather were nice, and we got people’s attention while walking across the bridge.
We arrived at the City Council Building where the decisions about the CUNY budget cuts are going to take place. We then formed two circles and shouted out many phrases on the cuts, Bloomberg, and democracy. The more people that came, the louder it got, and we had people recording this on their cameras and phones. After a little over twenty minutes, we then listened to five different speakers, starting with Robinson Jackson and a Spanish speaker (forgot his name) who works in the City Council Building. Secondly we had an intelligent student speaker from Hunter College who gave an excellent speech, and the last two speakers who played a big role in help forming/leading the protest to BMCC.
Hunter College Student Christina Marie Chaise speaks at our City Hall news conference.
After the last speaker spoke, we soon joined the hundreds of other protesters. We had drummers in the back of the rally, blocked-off roads and camera guys snapping at us. We let everyone know we were coming and so everyone in Manhattan noticed. Working people in suits, construction workers, and people sitting in diners raised up out of their seats, amazed at the crowd. The more attention we attracted, the louder we got. The fact of the matter is we had to be noticed and we had to make a point whether they like it or not.
After marching a few blocks, we arrived at BMCC where we got free water and snacks and joined together with students from BMCC. We gathered around and protested until speakers came up to share their wisdom, and the first speaker was actually a teacher from City Tech. Students inside BMCC looked down upon us through the windows of the second floor and up. The day of the protest was a very great day and very windy as well. Good times!