Over fifty students, chanting and holding signs, marched from the Gavin Herbert Plaza Fountain to Tommy Trojan to address social causes as part of the Black Student Assembly’s March on Trousdale this past Tuesday. The march commemorated the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington in which Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.
Numerous people took to “the stage,” standing on the steps beneath Tommy Trojan and speaking on social issues. Kaya Masler, executive director of the Women’s Student Assembly, spoke out against misogyny and gendered violence. Juan Espinoza, the executive director of Program Board, took to the stage to speak out against the fences installed at the campus’s borders, stating that they send the message to people in the surrounding community that they are dangerous and unwanted. Two members of the Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation (SCALE), Julia Mangione and Francisco Rios, spoke on the behalf of the rights of dining hall and custodial workers on campus and the factory workers all over the world who make USC apparel in sweatshop conditions – all of whom are part of the Trojan Family. Some students informed those gathered around on racial tokenism at USC and queer and trans rights while others got up to call everyone to combat the isolating force of individualism, particularly within activism, claiming we need to support each others’ causes and campaigns.
After everyone had the chance to speak, King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech was played in full and though many people have heard clips, very few have heard it entirely. The speech drew in people passing by who stopped to listen all the way to end.
The overall experience was positive, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and student organizations. Speakers encouraged everyone to fight for their respective causes even when they are standing alone and said that just by the act of speaking up publicly about their beliefs, they were making a difference. Though it may come as a surprise to many, there is clearly an activist community and presence among the USC student body.