High school and college students speak out
One of the distinctive features of the March 20 mobilizations was the large participation from high school students, college students and other young people, including those in the armed forces. The mobilization brought a new generation of activists into political life. These students worked hard to do outreach and fundraising so they could attend the demonstrations, and contributions from many individuals helped to provide those who needed with scholarships.
Here is what some of the high school and college students who mobilized for the National March on Washington, as well as for the joint demonstrations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, have to say:
It was my first time marching so it was really really awesome. I felt that I had a lot of energy and I felt that if I have the power to make a difference, I will do it and I will make my voice heard. And I hope that people listen to our message and that they bring our troops home.
– Cindy Roman
The march was fun. It was my first time in Washington, I was with my friends. My favorite thing about it was that there was so many people. I think the most memorable thing about it was the chants: “1, we are the people, 2, a little bit louder, 3 we want justice 4 our people!”
– Quianna Mathis
I thought the march was very awesome and fun. I didn’t expect to see so many people there. I was thinking a few hundred people, but there were thousands! It was really exciting for me because I had never protested before. I've never seen people so determined and so passionate about something, about ending the war.
– Latika Price
I think the march was really fun! I look forward to having more experiences like these. I hope that what we did actually makes a change and that more young people get involved because the resources that should be used on our schools and education are being used to kill people instead.
It felt really good [to give a speech for so many people]. I feel proud of myself for being able to express my feelings and for being able to represent my school. It was exciting to have people chant with me and it was exciting to see that people like what I said.
– Stephanie Diaz
On March 20 we managed to unite a plethora of problems to come together as one. Never in my life had I seen such diversity in a protest. For me to call March 20th an experience would definitely be lying, for it was more than a simple protest/march. March 20th paved a path to better understanding, increasing awareness, and enlightment. Extremely powerful messages were shared with the Bay that day. There were people from all over the Bay that traveled far to come together and preach peace and solidarity in a way that left all who were innocently walking on the streets speechless. Chanting in three different languages was enough to show the greatness of diversity and unity. I will never forget March 20th, as for me it never ended but lives on in my head as the beginning to greater and more powerful marches.
– Fatima Mekkaoui
I had been to a few anti-war demonstrations and even though I walked away liberated, there was always a sense of unsatisfaction because nothing seemed "fixed." March 20th, 2010, was the first time that I got more involved and saw what it took to organize a demonstration. It is the interaction with the organizers and what they stand for that put in perspective how or why the movement isn't about a quick fix, but rather the ongoing resistance to the ongoing tyranny. The spirits of everyone who shares the belief in change have assured me that there is hope for justice as long as there's unity to fight for what is right. Our voices and actions play a very crucial role in determining the courses of our future and that is one of the most important things I learned from March 20th.
– Krissana Limlamai
The demonstrations of March 20th that took place in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., gives hope to the people of Palestine that they are not alone in their struggle and that the world hasn’t forgotten about them. When I told my friend who resides in Gaza about the demonstrations, she said it brought tears to her eyes knowing that there are still people in the United States who are fighting for their existence and for the liberation of Palestine.
One of the biggest accomplishments of March 20th was the realization that the wars and America’s budget crisis are connected. We have the funds to end the budget crises, yet we continue to wastefully dispose of the money into the terrorization of other nations. My hopes are that the events of March 20th will inspire people to take a stand, demanding funding for our basic rights such as housing, education, and health care. No more funding war crimes! No one is free, until we are all free.
– Leila Allahham
From the moment I stepped through the doors of the ANSWER Coalition's office, I was shocked and inspired to see so many people devoting their time and energy to the anti-war movement, and to be the social change that we need. From painting flags and banners to doing public outreach, we were organizing to let the world know that we will not sit idly by while so many suffer from the atrocities of war. I was happy to become part of this struggle and organize for March 20.
I will never forget the feeling of marching with thousands through the streets of Hollywood. As an Iraq war veteran, it was particularly powerful for me. To witness democracy coming to life in a social movement, seeing all types of people standing together in solidarity to demand an end to these illegal wars and to demand freedom for the countless families victimized by a war where only corporations profit--I was filled with real hope. I will never forget the voices of thousands shouting in unity, 'The people of Iraq and Afghanistan will be free!'
– Richard Robertson
It was so incredible helping ANSWER to organize the March 20 protest in Los Angeles, especially because I got to meet and work with people from all walks of life dedicated to building the anti-war movement. As a Palestinian American, the protest itself empowered me. It was great to be with thousands of people on the streets to stand with the people of Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.
– Sara Nasrallah
When I look back at my experience with working with ANSWER for the last couple of weeks, I am reminded of what Howard Zinn once wrote about political activism -- that, in the end, it's not completely about whether we win or lose. What matters most is that we came together and were involved with other, like-minded, good people 'in something worthwhile.' I now believe that the struggle against war and racism, in and of itself, imbues people with a sense of hope, of fulfillment. It has done this for me.
March 20 was my first ever protest. Before it, I didn't know what to expect. Several people told me that my first protest could be a life-changing, inspirational experience. For me, it most certainly was.
– Adina Farrukh