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In a stunning show of solidarity and strength, more than 1,000 students, faculty and allies overtook the North side of the State Capitol during CFA’s #FreeTheCSU day of action April 4, calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to increase funding for the California State University.

CFA leaders, members of Students for Quality Education (SQE), alongside top legislators, CTA and CCA members, CSU Chancellor Tim White and Trustees, and CSU staff rallied for hours, with energetic chants of “Whose university? Our university!” and “When education is under attack, what do we do? Show up fight back!” filling the Capitol and surrounding area.

The day of activism began at dawn, with about 100 students silently protesting in front of the Governor’s Mansion in midtown Sacramento. As daylight peaked through trees and the 7 am city noise restriction lifted, students began their wake-up call to Brown.

“Show me what the Cal State looks like! This is what the Cal State looks like!”

The animated crowd of students, many of whom had traveled from southern California and stayed the night at a Sacramento church, then marched toward the Capitol where just a few hours later, they were joined by hundreds more of their peers and faculty from northern California CSU campuses.

The event was held on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, and honored Dr. King’s lasting legacy on civil rights and education. In her remarks to the crowd, Cal State LA student Antoinette Saddler helped foster the connection between Dr. King’s work and the efforts to protect the CSU and public higher education.

Gov. Brown has proposed increasing CSU funding by just $92.1 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year. CFA is advocating that the budget augmentation for the CSU be increased by $422.6 million, which could increase access to the CSU to thousands more qualified students and help thwart yet another potential tuition increase.

In addition to the rally, the #FreeTheCSU event featured booths where students and faculty could write messages to the Governor, make screen-printed artwork, and interact with one-of-a-kind Augmented Reality art installations. Augmented Reality features can still be used for some of the artwork, such as the “Save My Education” poster by Xico González of Sol Collective. Click here for instructions on how to download and use the HP Reveal app.

CFA partnered with Sol Collective, a community-based nonprofit in Sacramento, for the Augmented Reality art, which featured everything from videos of students to celebrations of civil rights leaders, activists, and scholars.