1,000 Berkeley High Students Walk Out

December 11, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us



From readers:

Wednesday, December 10—At least a thousand students poured out of Berkeley High School today in a “Black Lives Matter” walkout. They were joined by students from a couple of other nearby high schools, and some teachers who had helped spread the word in their classrooms.

All photos: special to revcom.us

There was an almost uncontainable energy and excitement in the air! The students went right up to city hall and did a short rally, led by the Berkeley High Black Student Union (BHS BSU). A couple students spoke passionately about what it's like to be Black in Amerikkka. One student talked about how his cousin was killed in his own backyard and the cop who did it wasn't indicted, and then he led the students in the chant “Black Lives Matter,” which the crowd took up enthusiastically and loudly! Another student talked about the importance of this generation taking a stand—making the point that some people try to say high school students don't know anything and need to read more books, but that they know enough to know that what is happening is wrong.

The students, led by the BHS BSU, then took off in a very fast and joyous march up to UC Berkeley. They chanted “hands up, don't shoot” and “I can't breathe” and sometimes “peaceful protest.” At the UC campus, they stopped at Sproul Plaza where one student talked about the Free Speech Movement back in the day at Berkeley and then began the chant, “You're the ones who taught us how, @UCBerkeley join us now!” A number of UC Berkeley students did join, including a group from the Cal BSU, that helped to lead the march through campus to the Campanile (a big clock tower and a famous symbol of the Berkeley campus) where students did a die-in.

The night before, December 9, hundreds of people—Cal Berkeley students and others—hit the streets for at least the third night in a row, protesting the pig murder of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. With chants of "Black Life Matters" and "Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Shut It Down Shut It Down," they left the campus and headed through the dorm area ringing the campus calling on students—Out of the Dorms and Into the Streets! The march eventually headed toward the freeway, Highway 24, running onto an overpass above the streets of Berkeley.

The outrage over the murders have drawn in many students who were demonstrating for the first time in their lives, and the protests have been characterized by a fierce determination not just to make a statement but truly to shut down the machine. In the previous nights, students had shut down different freeways in the area sometimes multiple times in the same night. This time, they marched past phalanxes of cops guarding various on-ramps, but then dozens of the protestors surprised the cops by ripping down a fence and charging up onto the on-ramp. Cops fired bean bags and smoke projectiles, and both BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) traffic and all traffic on the highway came to a stop. One student said that it was finals—but she had to be there to take a stand.


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