Yesterday marked the end of a long journey for hundreds of devoted teachers, union members and community activists marching for a better future for California. The March for California’s Future began in Bakersfield on March 5, highlighting the need for quality public education and services, an effective and efficient state government and the return of fair and equitable taxes to California.
Organized by the California Federation of Teachers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and other labor unions and community allies, this 48-day march made headlines and drew attention to damaging budget cuts and the lack of good jobs available to Californians.
During the march, participants registered voters, collected signatures for a ballot measure to change the 2/3 budget vote requirement in the state legislature, held teach-ins and town hall meetings, and met with local elected officials, all the while recording the action with live video feeds.
Yesterday afternoon, supporters joined the dedicated marchers during the final mile of the march in Sacramento and at the rally outside the state Capitol. As the six marchers gathered at the Capitol they exuded energy and determination despite having spent over one month marching 365 miles.
Jenn Laskin, a teacher from Watsonville, told a crowd of thousands at the closing rally in front of the State Capitol that their efforts helped re-energize the movement for change in California.
We’ve used this march as an apparatus for change in California and we need your help to keep this movement going. We need to see you in the boardrooms and on the streets.When I talk to the suits under the dome tomorrow, I will be sure to tell them that the past 48 days were just practice!
Gavin Riley and Jim Miller, both teachers from Southern California, demonstrated solidarity with fellow teachers and a commitment to the future of education in California.
I am marching for the 26,000 teachers who are receiving pink slips this year…We need to prevent a future of despair for our children and fight for a future of hope and prosperity.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten joined the march for the last mile to the Capitol and addressed the crowd with a passionate speech. Recalling growing up in the state of New York, she said California used to the place everyone wanted to be; however, “corporate loop holes and continual cuts to education in the budget” have changed this drastically. Weingarten said the marchers will have a lasting impact on the state.
They didn’t march for themselves, they marched for our communities, our children and our future. They marched for every single one of us.