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An Update from the UCLA Labor Center Steering Committee

The following statement was emailed to the UCLA Labor Center community on May 2, 2024. Image credit: Karla Cardenas-Felipe/Daily Bruin.

Dear UCLA Labor Center community,

Yesterday, we marched for May Day to exercise one of the most powerful tools to enact change — the right to peacefully protest. Over the last week, we have witnessed UCLA students exercise this right, practicing a deep commitment to nonviolence.

Our students have engaged in peaceful actions in a long tradition of anti-war, civil rights, and anti-Apartheid efforts. They also faced the unfortunate tradition of our institutions failing to protect them. Even in the face of violence and abuse from outside agitators, they remained steadfast in their commitment to de-escalation tactics, mutual aid, and teach-ins.

This morning, students were met with hundreds of police officers from the LAPD, CHP, and LA Sheriff’s Department. Donned in riot gear, they shut down the student encampment and arrested an estimated 130 students and supporters. Disturbing videos are circulating of police firing rubber bullets into crowds.

Our Labor Studies program has affirmed its commitment to free expression guided in the spirit of nonviolence. We are in alliance with the faculty who stood with students last night risking arrest, the labor unions speaking out against the use of force, and the community members who provided mutual aid and served as trained legal observers. We commend the Daily Bruin staff for their courageous live reporting from the frontlines that kept us informed, even after their reporters experienced a violent attack.

The right of our UCLA students to express themselves needs to be protected. They are our conscience and our guides. To support their well-being in the aftermath of this traumatic event, we are adjusting classes and event schedules and individually checking in with our impacted students. We will also continue to collaborate with labor and community partners who are committed to speaking out on behalf of students’ right to safe, peaceful demonstration and collective action.

In solidarity,

UCLA Labor Center Steering Committee: Saba Waheed (Director), Ana Luz Gonzalez-Vasquez, Ju Hong, Tia Koonse, Victor Narro, Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Andrea Slater, Déjà Thomas, Emily Jo Wharry

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