Posts tagged “Kat Williams”

March 4: two campuses, two experiences

I received the following update and photo gallery from my cousin, Kat Williams, who is a doctoral candidate at UCLA:

We had fun yesterday [Ed. March 4]. I made the banners. Actions were fairly decentralized. My department lost the big march early on as we were carrying large drums. We had a nice slow-motion procession through Royce Quad carrying the banners in a line. Lots of people taking pictures, though I haven’t seen any yet. Then we met up with other protesters for the sit-in at the Chancellor’s office, bringing a dance party to that hot hallway. You can find video of it on Facebook. [Ed. I haven’t found this yet video at The Daily Bruin.] While there, we also did a couple of rounds of Guerilla Yoga Drill to bring some meditative mindfulness to the sit-in. Though asked not to leave, we took our dance party/march to south campus and the court of sciences. About 8 bike cops were following us until we did more Guerilla Yoga Drills, then they took off. We headed back to our recently-renovated million dollar lawn (Dickson Plaza) for a picnic. We spotted Peter McLaren on the way and brought him along for a sandwich. Good times in the fight for public education. We took this quote as our guide:

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be a part of your revolution.” -Emma GoldmanKat Williams
UCLA doctoral candidate, folklorist

Video: AggieTV

Excellent student journalism from UC Davis' AggieTV. Watch as UC Davis students peacefully march and protest in support of public education. Eventually, they encounter police in riot gear who beat the students with batons, shoot them with pepper balls and use TASERs on the students (only one TASER is visible in the video, though the sickening sound of the TASER is quite audible in the background). Uploaded to bring this video out from behind the walls of Facebook.

And then, there was UC Davis. Another case study in how a police force can commit acts of violence and terror against a student population, release a statement saying that “no one was injured”, get it reported by the mainstream media to the entire world and everyone can just switch back to watching The Bachelor. Take a look at the on-the-scene reporting from UC Davis’ AggieTV with reporters Ericka So and Nicki Sun. They did an excellent job of bringing the story to the world. Ms. So and Ms. Sun did a far better job than the pap I saw on CNN anchored by Ali Velshi on March 4 and continue to find on right now.

Really CNN? The lead point in the headline is that traffic is snarled? Not that police beat a female student unconscious (see video) with a baton at UC Davis? Oh yeah, you COMPLETELY LEFT THAT OUT OF YOUR REPORTING. Why CNN refuses to report on police brutality against American students continues to elude me. Honestly, if there is an explanation other than that they implicitly support a fascist police state, please leave it in the comments because I am all eyes and ears!

The key phrase to listen for in the video is “You guys ready to augment?” That is when the shit is about to hit the fan. I guess any of you potential protesters out there should memorize that phrase and know to cover your soft bits if you hear it.

When confronted with these two divergent experiences within the same University system, it is important to remember that March 4 wasn’t just about these two campuses. It was a nationwide Day of Action.

There have been clashes with police. Most notable was the takeover of a freeway in Oakland which ended, one officer estimated, in 150 arrests. One student was injured in that incident, though reports differ as to the severity of his injuries. Students were also arrested or detained in New York, in Michigan, and elsewhere, though rarely in large numbers…[but] today’s protesters rarely articulated immediate demands, and administrators rarely engaged with them. Today was more about activists talking to each other, working with each other, than it was about talking to or working with — or working to overthrow — university power structures. That part comes later. That part starts March 5.Angus Johnston
Historian, Blogger

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Tempus fugit!

Protect Your Education by Nick Bygon

Protect Your Education by Nick Bygon

I cannot believe this is my first post of 2010! Sorry for the prolonged absence, but my life has been undergoing some drastic changes. I accepted a full time position as an Assistant Professor of Interactive Media at Johnson County Community College just after the new year and have been rushing around trying to get ready for the start of the semester. That fateful day finally came and went last week and I’m happy to say that the students and I both found the new position suited us just fine.

I have a very crappy blog up right now at the school. Nothing to see there now, but note the address and I assure you it will improve as the semester progresses. I’m still hammering out some HR and IT bugs. It is still veeeeeery new.

That’s enough chit-chat: what the hell has happened in this country since I last wrote? Health care is falling out of vogue because democrats are too tired to keep working? Corporations had their imaginary inalienable rights reaffirmed by what can only be described as an activist decision from the Robert’s court? I’ll have more to say about that in a post to follow, but in the meantime, just go to your windows, open them and keep screaming mantra #2 at the top of your lungs. Repeat as necessary. Goldman Sachs is ONLY paying out $16 billion in bonuses, or a $498,000 average per employee. I doubt the janitor is getting 500 large. Finally, a nude model was elected to the United States Senate. I’ve got no problem with nude models in public service, but I am leery of our politics getting any closer to our friends in Italy. In short, its alot like 2009.

Yet, for some reason, I feel strangely hopeful. I don’t know if it is because I’m back in a classroom again, but I’ve got a feeling that we can get something done this year. Case in point: the poster that you see here from the talented Nick Bygon. It is a rally poster (released under a Creative Commons Attribution license) for the upcoming day of strike for the California tuition hikes on March 4, 2010. Stay tuned for more on that. It was passed on to me by my cousin and fellow educational activist Kat Williams. Thanks to Kat and Nick, this beauty now adorns the wall of my office and serves as a reminder to all of my students and co-workers of just why we are there. For 3+ weeks into the new year, that feels like an acceptable start. Now, about those goddamn, non-human corporations…

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Kat Williams opines on American Idol

My cousin Kat (yes, with a “K”! Way to fact-check, NPR!) is a doctoral student candidate at UCLA and, evidently, a folklorist! She was interviewed for a piece on American Idol by NPR’s Kim Masters. It aired yesterday morning and you can listen to the story here. Way to go, Kat! Keep up the excellent opining! Perhaps one day soon I can get you to start writing a column here?

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