Never has the Price Center served such an honorable and worthy purpose, and never have I seen so many students overflow out onto Library Walk, too intrigued to walk on. If you weren’t in the Price Center at noon last Tuesday, then you truly missed a show. Not only was Ozomatli amazing, but the purpose behind the gathering, to protest the low wages of janitors, was even more compelling.
The student activism behind the event was incredible, and is hopefully a step that will lead to more events of such nature. The fliers passed out by the activists informed the crowd of what was being protested and the need to “”resist apathy by building our consciousness through social and political education.””
The event brought to light many truths that we as students take for granted, such as the people who keep the campus clean and comfortable for students who don’t give a second thought to how it got that way. It was refreshing to see such displays of protest carried out in a constructive yet festive manner.
The incorporation of a band such as Ozomatli was awesome and ingenious. Music is an art form that brings people together; they drop their guards and sing in unison, forgetting their differences and prejudices.
I once asked a group of international students what their definition of a “”World Culture”” is, and a Japanese student answered with the single word: music. There is an unexplainable element of music that can create unity among people. And the artists themselves have the ability to use the microphones to do more than just sing their songs and play their instruments — they can speak out to an audience that will listen. Though not everyone may agree with what is said, they will still listen.
And to have the attention of such a captive audience will help to ensure that the message will be heard, and that people will act upon what they hear. Since the march with janitors was planned to be after the Ozomatli concert, there were more people willing to join in — they heard what it was all about. It was good to see such a successful protest carried out on a campus usually void of any collective student action.
It is also necessary to realize that the group that organized the event was the Latino student community, a minority on this campus. Its efforts are more than admirable, and highly commended. If a relatively small group can create such a gathering of students and faculty, imagine what would happen if the majority of the student population put its efforts into something more than events for self-gratification.
Last Tuesday showed me the part of the college experience that many people are missing. Just because this campus is designed to deter large student gatherings and protests, it doesn’t mean that they are wrong or impossible. The events of last Tuesday dispelled that myth, and with that barrier broken down, it will hopefully open the floodgates of events.
There is so much more to education than books and exams. There are events around the world and right in our face that crave attention, and activism waiting to be embraced by those students who can easily shed the apathy for something more.