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Oregon State University protests racist Arizona SB1070 law

By Kosta Harlan |
May 13, 2010
Protest at Oregon State University led by MEChA
Students across the country, many led by MEChA or Latino groups, are responding with protests to the racist anti-immigrant law in Arizona. (Fight Back! News/Kosta Harlan)
Oregon State University students, campus workers, march against SB 1070
Oregon State University students, campus workers, and professors march for immigrants' rights.

Corvallis, OR - Over 300 students, campus workers, professors and community members rallied at Oregon State University on May 12, to protest the racist SB 1070 law in Arizona. Chanting "The people of Arizona are under attack, what do we do, stand up fight back!" the demonstrators marched from the Centro Cultural César Chávez to the center of campus, with banners and brightly-colored signs denouncing SB 1070, as well as another racist bill, HB 2281, which bans schools in Arizona from teaching ethnic studies.

Rocío Acosta, one of the leaders of the demonstration and a member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), told Fight Back!, "SB 1070 is a ridiculous law. It is racial profiling." Acosta continued, "As an organization, we believe in equal rights. We've been fighting for our people, for equal rights and education for everyone. This law is unfair not just to Latinos but to everyone."

A broad coalition of student organizations worked together to organize the rally. The march was spirited and multi-national, uniting Chicano, African-American, Asian American, Native American, Filipinos, and whites--together in solidarity. It was a strong showing in the face of racist attacks against immigrants.

Speakers expressed outrage at the racist SB 1070 bill and the attacks on ethnic studies. This call resonated strongly among the protestors, as Oregon State University has an ethnic studies program and numerous cultural centers - Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez, Native American Longhouse, Black Cultural Center, Asian/Pacific Cultural Center, the Pride Center and the Women Center - that were won through decades of struggle, and which demonstrators promised to defend should attempts be made to attack ethnic studies in Oregon.

The Oregon State University demonstration is the latest in a wave of demonstrations sweeping across the United States in solidarity with immigrant families under attack in Arizona, and to oppose and overturn SB 1070 and now, HB 2281. More protests are being planned locally and nationally.