March for California’s Future Will Test State’s Commitment to Fairness & Equality
A diverse group of Californians acted on the courage of their convictions on Friday, March 5, 2010, by embarking on a 260-mile March for California’s Future in order to highlight the need for quality public services and education in the Golden State.
The marchers hail from both Northern and Southern California and include a Los Angeles probation officer, a San Diego community college professor, a teacher and community organizer from Watsonville, a retired Berkeley adult educator, and two L.A. teachers.
“California has always been seen as a place where anything was possible, if you worked hard enough. Unfortunately, equality of opportunity in the Golden State has diminished,” said probation officer Irene Gonzalez, “and if the budget cuts being contemplated at the state level are allowed to happen, the California dream will vanish for generations of Californians. That’s why I’m marching.”
The march, sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and a coalition of labor, education, and civil society groups including the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), began with a rally at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in L.A., after which marchers traveled to Bakersfield to begin their walk.
Following in Cesar Chavez’s footsteps, hundreds of firefighters, nurses, in-home care workers, students, and police officers will join the marchers for parts of their 260-mile trek from Bakersfield to Sacramento.
“At a time of record home foreclosures and record unemployment across the nation and California, we need to invest in our public services and institutions to protect us from the economic storms that Wall Street has unleashed,” said Gonzalez. “This is the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and we need to restore quality public education and public services, rebuild a government that serves all Californians, and create a fair tax system to fund our state’s future.”
Polls routinely show that a majority of California voters support public services and want to see programs like education, environmental protections, child care, health care, job training, mental health services, etc. adequately funded. The existence of these programs speaks to our desire as citizens to promote fairness and equality in our state by codifying these values in public policy. Each one of us will have ample opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to these ideals in the coming weeks. The march is expected to last 48 days, culminating on April 21 and 22 at the state capitol.